Windlands is a complete VR experience. It gives you a great sense of freedom, an immersive experience, and the horrible feeling that you might just puke that burrito you ate for lunch.
Launched on October 25th on the PSVR, Windlands is a game that focuses on pure exploration by using grappling hooks to swing from a floating patch of earth to another. If you ever wondered what Peter Parker would be doing if he decided to explore floating ruins, this game is the answer you’ve been looking for.
Your goal, as an automaton, is to end a war by finding all the sources powering the war golems that fight against your kind. The game offers both a challenge for hardcore gamers and a relaxing experience for casuals, as you can change the difficulty and choose paths of various difficulty.
While the game certainly has strong points, it might not be the cup of tea of every type gamer. Windlands is not without flaws and in the end it will appeal mostly to gamers who love pure exploration and have strong, and we mean really strong, endurance to VR sickness.
Exploration for the sake of exploration
The first thing you realize when launching Windlands is that you are a small creature in a vast world. When you start looking around, you slowly begin feeling completely lost. There are no maps to guide you and no markers; there’s only you and the various paths you can see.
If you do not like pure exploration, this game is not for you. On the other hand, if you have always dreamed of being a mix between Indiana Jones and Spiderman, then swinging from ruins to ruins in this world will be truly awe inspiring.
Every jump will incite fear; every failing will provide you with frustration.
If you aren’t prone to motion sickness, Windlands will be a huge world where you can sink hours of your life. There are many secrets, hidden areas, collectibles and multiple routes to discover. The only thing stopping you is either the clunky controls when using a DualShock controller, or the feeling that you should have invested in a vomit bucket.
Freedom plagued by problematic controls
Windlands will give you a great sense of freedom. Jumping from floating isles to floating isles with absolutely no hand-holding creates the impression that you can go wherever you want. That impression, however, can be overwhelming.
The controls are a big issue when trying to enjoy the game. The DualShock controller almost makes you feel like playing an FPS on a laptop touchpad. Moving backward or to a higher location feels unnatural at best, and clunky at worst.
Perhaps when the PS Move support gets patched in the game will feel much more enjoyable, but for now, it still requires work.
However, if you decide to power through the initial feeling of clunkiness and start getting used to jumping from trees to trees, you realize that Windlands becomes a rewarding experience.
Achieving difficult jumps will give you a sense of accomplishment and excitement that might just be worth the time invested into getting used to the controls.
Moving forward against motion sickness
The more you collect energy sources to stop war golems, the more you learn about the story. Hence, you are compelled to keep moving forward in the beautiful and huge world the game provides.
The greatest obstacle will be the fight against motion sickness. Very few games have made us feel this sick, and it’s almost impossible for us to enjoy Windlands for an extended period of time without breaks.
If you know you can stomach the fast-paced movements then Windlands will certainly be a great game for you. If you are uncertain, it’s another story.
Unfortunately, even Windlands’ various options to reduce motion sickness did not help much.
To conclude, Windlands can be a great experience, but it is not for everyone.
If you do not like exploration for the sake of exploration, and if your resistance to VR sickness is small, we would advise you to either wait for the PS Move support to be patched in, or to find another game.
The clunky controls will turn away most gamers that do not fit these two criteria.
However, if you are willing to ignore these flaws, what you have is a huge game that rewards exploration. You will feel a great sense of accomplishment when you start to gain speed and start doing incredible jumps from isles to isles.
Windlands can certainly be a great game if you are ready to put the effort, but the effort might be way too big of an obstacle for the average gamer.