The Legend of Kara: Survival of the Wild.
Platform: Google Stadia, Nintendo Switch, PC, PS4 (reviewed) and Xbox One
Developer: 5 Lives Studios
Publisher: Deep Silver
Release date: Out now.
Tl;dr: A survival game that takes inspiration from Link’s Open Sea and World adventures but with a repetitive game loop.
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It’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of The Legend of Zelda series. I’ve been a fan since I discovered Ocarina of Time back in 1998 and have played every title since then. So when the opportunity came to a play game that takes inspiration from the Zelda series, I jumped on it. And so here’s Windbound, a survival game whose graphical style and certain gameplay elements like destructible equipment take inspiration from The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild while the seafaring side of the adventure draws from the Gamecube title, Wind Waker.
Windbound, as mentioned above is a survival game where you take control of Kara, a strong woman warrior that gets caught in a storm and winds up stranded on an island separated from her tribe; unsure if they made it out alive. That’s pretty much all I can say about the plot given the game doesn’t have a really deep story behind it. Across each chapters’ islands are locations that give minor pieces of context but also where each chapter presents you with another large map that can be a slog to get through especially if a shark comes along tears through your boat like a hot knife cutting through butter.
The goal with Windbound is to craft a boat and survive each chapter as you find towers, similar to what we’ve seen in Breath of the Wild, climb to the top to obtain a key. You must do this three times per chapter before you can open up a gate and walk through a portal. Before moving forward into the next chapter, you will discover a mural on one on the five walls for each chapter you need to complete which recounts the past. Afterward, you must complete a crossing which is essentially a test of how well you can steer your boat through coral reefs, rocks, sharks, and so on. I found these to be super fun especially when you are going really fast as the adrenaline begins to pump around the body as you just barely miss that rock formation. Finally, once you reach the end, you can choose to buy a perk using sea shards that you’ve gathered on your travels and then you make your way through the gate to the next chapter.
Unfortunately, combat feels clunky and could’ve benefited from a lock-on feature like in 3D Zelda games. It would’ve made melee combat easier instead of failing your sword at the air. This can leave you wide open to attack and if you’re playing on Survivalist difficulty, you will be thrown back to chapter one with nothing but your current inventory. Or if you’re unlucky like me, who was playing on Storyteller difficulty, which isn’t supposed to throw you back to chapter one after dying, you may encounter a bug that does indeed strip you of your progress… I wasn’t happy in the slightest.
Overall, I think Windbound is a fun game with very repetitive gameplay. Enemies such as the shark who are overpowered and the lack of a lock-on feature will result in Windbound requiring a single playthrough. Although the developers made the game encouraging multiple playthroughs to unearth more details about the narrative and obtaining achievements that require finishing the game in certain ways like only eating meat and another one which calls for players to not eat meat. I may one day jump back in, but for now, I don’t feel compelled to do so.
- A beautiful graphical style that is akin to The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.
- An open-world filled with a vast amount of islands with fantastical creatures that await you.
- Melee combat lacks a lock-on system.
- The gameplay loop can be a tad repetitive.
- A bug that resets your progress after death on storyteller mode.
Windbound is rated PEGI 7 and E10+ for Everyone 10+ by the ESRB. Windbound contains fantasy violence using spears and other crafted weaponry to defeat fantasy-like beasts for their meat and pelts.
This review is based on a retail code of the game supplied by PR for the purpose of review.