Windfolk sucked me in from the beginning with its colourful world, easy flying, and generally charming presentation. It lost me soon after, though, but there’s definitely potential.
Windfolk puts you in the jetpack of a young lady called Esen who is a rebellious type always breaking the rules. The world is split between the goodies and the baddies, and the fight is over a natural resource called Trydian. The baddies want it, you’ve got to protect it. Simple, and honestly, that’s about as deep as the story goes.
You begin with a short tutorial to show you the ropes of flight and combat, and I was initially quite excited by it. Flying was fun and reminded me of playing the Harry Potter games on the PS1 as you have to fly through rings in a set course. I’m a simple man…
Combat, on the other side, was a bit of a letdown. You have a really large reticule, and the idea is that the close to the centre your target is, the more damage you will do. Enemies can still be within the circle and receive damage but at a lower rate. On the one hand, this really simplifies the combat which means you won’t be stressing. On the other, it’s a little too simple and combat encounters can boil down to holding R2 and spamming the dodge button when needed. It’s not very satisfying, then, and it’s certainly an area that could be improved upon if this weird little game were to get a sequel.
Windfolk is a game of two halves. One half is the story mode which takes you through eight missions that aren’t all that exciting. It’s more of the same after the third level, and it’s marred by repetition, though the flying around is really fun.
The other half is the challenge mode which gives you some short missions to complete, ranging from flight courses to battle arenas. Needless to say, I enjoyed the flight courses but found the combat arenas to be less-than-stellar with the game’s overly simplified combat.
There are a few oddities with Windfolk, too. The game comes from Spanish developer Fractal Fall, and some of that Spanish has slipped into the English version of the game. That’s not a problem, mind you, but it’s just weird to see the “leaving the mission area” warning in Spanish, and perhaps suggest a lack of polish that would have been afforded to a bigger Sony release; this is a Sony-published PlayStation exclusive, after all, and one would expect a bit more, even if it’s not a first-party studio.
I had high hopes for Windfolk and they’ve only been half-met. The game’s world is bright and colourful, something I’m always a fan of, and the flying mechanics are really good. Unfortunately, the boring story, the boring voice acting, and the boring combat let it down massively.
Windfolk PS5, PS4 Review
Windfolk has some nice ideas, and some of those ideas even play out quite nicely. Flying around the bright and blooming world is fun, but everything else is a bit of a bore. Combat is far too simple and the repetition kicks in early on.
It’s a skinny offering, even with two different game modes. It all boils down to fly here and shoot your gun until everybody is dead. We’ve come further than that, I’m afraid, and players expect a little more.
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Reviewed using PS5.