Genre: Naval Exploration RPG
Developer: Tasharen Entertainment Inc.
Windward is a delightfully fresh change on naval games; its simplistic and modest appearance makes it approachable for any kind of gamer, and I applaud it.
Windward has its own struggles of what it exactly wants to be and how it wants to keep players invested, and I struggled with connecting with it. That doesn’t necessarily mean the game is bad or even lost; I would have to say it feels out of place.
You play as one of six factions and start off in an area that has a group of naval towns. It is your job to explore the world and complete missions along the way. Every faction has their own quirks to choose from. Some are better at diplomacy and trading and others are better at fighting other ships. The variety is enough to give the player some freedom and choice in how they want to play the game.
First off, the controls. There are multiple ways to move but I prefer the WASD method, while a bit sluggish and clunky, it still offers more precision than using the mouse. You will complete missions and, in some cases, sink pirates to earn EXP to level up your ship’s abilities. Earning gold will allow you to get bigger and better ships to use as well.
The pacing seems incredibly slow at first and, on the surface, it really is slow. But when you start to get a hang of the map and where you need to go; you begin to accept quests that are on the way to each other so there is not much backtracking. The quests are pretty standard: kill pirates, fill requisition orders, ferry passengers and all those boating things you come to expect.
While the game’s initial pacing is rather slow, it is really easy to pick up. Combat is not a focus, but it is simple enough to develop a skill for it. Could it be better? Maybe, but This game doesn’t necessarily need it.
Visually speaking, it is a vibrant and living world. Again, it is rather simple, but I love seeing different ships passing by me when I’m heading to the next port. The music is atmospheric and pleasant to listen to and A lot of work went into creating the environment. A game like Windward requires a pleasing environment to be entertaining. It succeeds in this regard.
At the end of the day, Windward is a good game. Not great as the simplicity is both refreshing and limited. You want the game to be more than what it is. It doesn’t feel like there is much to do other than turn in your receipts to get a tax refund. If you want something simple that you can zone out playing then Windward is certainly the game for you. Don’t expect a massively engaging experience.
3 out of 5 Nerds