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Windscape (Switch) Review

Windscape is a first-person exploration action-adventure game developed by Headup Games, a small indie developer. It was released on Friday on the Nintendo eshop and steam after being in early access for almost 3 years. The game is a fantasy RPG that combines elements of Elder Scrolls, Minecraft, Runescape and The Legend of Zelda. This review will be for the Switch version only.

The story revolves around a girl named Ida, a young farm girl who inhabits a world made up of floating islands in the sky. Some sinister force is causing the islands to fall from the sky, and you’re off on a quest to save your world. The journey takes you to different floating Islands, dungeons and encounters with big bosses.

The game took me about 7 hours to complete, playing leisurely. The game is currently $20 on the eshop and a little less with a sale currently on steam. The highlight of the game is the exploration of dungeons and encountering the bosses reminiscent of those in the legend of Zelda. While the first person combat can get repetitive, the game does a great job of varying it up by including different types of weapons from swords to maces, bow and arrows, and magic spells. You can charge up your attacks by holding down the attack button, and use an alternate attack button that allows you to block if you have a melee weapon or a close magic attack that damages enemies that touch you if you have your spell equipped. While you don’t gain experience from killing enemies, you do gather resources from them that allow you to craft new weapons, armor, magic spells, potions and food that help you take on stronger and stronger enemies.

Each zone also has a good amount of enemy variation and not just the same models with more hp or different color skin. You start by taking down wolves and bees but eventually encounter serpents, orcs, and dragons. There are different types of damage, swords inflicting cut damage, maces inflicting blunt damage and spells inflicting fire, ice, or arcane damage. Early on the game encourages you to use both types of spells on different enemies with affinities, but I would have liked to see more enemies like this with these strengths and weaknesses. I often would just stuck with the weapon that had the greatest damage, and armor with the highest physical defense without needing to switch based on the situation.

While I played most the game on docked mode, I suggest playing the game on handheld mode. The reason for this is that the screen does not adjust perfectly to the sides of my tv screen which leaves edges that are cut off. It does not show up in the footage I captured but it is noticeable when your playing. I wasn’t able to find a setting to adjust the screen, so quest text and item use indicators were harder to read on docked mode. Combined with the art style, I felt the smaller screen looked a little better.

I enjoyed the wide range of environments from a crumbling mountain with molten fire, to a haunted crypt, to sandy desserts and they all were fun to explore. While some of the sound effects became repetitive, the whimsical soundtrack was really good and fit the mood of the game really well.

I liked to have seen more optional quests, as I only ran into one during my playthrough. While I did experience one crash, and a couple segments of framerate dips, there weren’t many bugs that detracted from the experience. If you go into this game knowing that it was developed mostly by one person, and don’t mind some of the absent quality of life changes made in newer games you’ll also find a lot to appreciate. For example, while you can swap weapons during combat, using items still forces you to open the menu, slowly move the cursor to the item before returning to the combat. The game excels at the exploration aspect, but lacks in the story department, without much world building and credits rolling in abruptly without much of a satisfying conclusion. In my opinion, I would wait for the game to go on sale if you are on the fence or have a backlog of games to finish.

I hope you all enjoyed this review. I enjoy playing and reviewing indie games, and based on the views it seems like these videos do a bit better than a more mainstream game. Let me know what you all think in the comments below. And until next time, happy questing.

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