Windforge – Review (PC)

Windforge is a Terraria-like game in which you; explore an awesome fantasy world that you can completely demolish, meet and talk to npcs, use a variety of weapons to kill pretty creatures and explore ruins. Sounds just like the hundreds of other 2D crafting/platformer/shoot-em-ups but what Windforge does differently is definitely worth your attention, and your money.

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To make itself unique, Windforge looked to the skies and thought of airships and flying whales, gliding lions and sky pirates, ancient ruins and a plot that, while not great, draws you onward like a tempting geisha. The main difference between Windforge and say Starbound, is that Windforge doesn’t want you to settle down and build a base that you have to traipse back and forth from. Windforge wants you to explore and to this end, you are expected to build an airship to go between the floating islands that fill the skies.

The crafting system is very much like Terraria; collect enough ‘x’ to make ‘y’ to get ‘z’. Kill enough gliding lions to get leather to make a balloon, get enough iron to make iron ingots to make armour. At first glance it looks complicated but once you know what gives you what materials it becomes very simple. Windforge makes you work hard for your materials. You will spend most of your time hunting flying monsters and whales rather than digging.

On the subject of flying monsters; the designs of the creatures are well thought out and the animations, while a bit clumsy at times,  convey the fact that life has evolved to survive on floating islands. The gliding lions are our favourite as it is, as you’d expect, terrifying to see a lion gliding towards you. Though they are not the most formidable creature in the game, that award goes to the sky whales. These not so gentle giants have one of the most important materials inside them; whale oil and hunting these huge creatures in your hand-crafted airship is a great feeling that few games in the genre really capture.

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You won’t always be fighting terrifying beasts though; pirates and other gun toting madmen will punctuate your evening flight. We’re in two minds about these bastards; on the one hand, you can grapple onto their airship, swing up and drill through their balloon before grappling back onto your own. But on the other hand, you have little health and bullets are hard to dodge. On the occasion where you are forced to fight in tunnels and rooms, the combat can get pretty frustrating, although it is always fair.

Combat in Windforge is always pretty deadly if you don’t stock up on health potions and food and if you fall from your ship, you may as well load your last save. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing though as you either master the grappling and shooting or learn to pilot very well.

Sadly, we take issue with some of the game’s artwork. The terrain is just too detailed and zoomed out. This makes navigating the forests and finding ore a difficult task. It seems as though more attention was put to form over function here as they are very beautiful landscapes, if you don’t have to step foot in them.

Windforge brings a lot of new ideas to the crafting/platformer table, which is refreshing with the amount of stale clones on the market. If you want to be a steampunk Captain Ahab, chasing the white sky whale through the seven skies, then this is the game for you.

Windforge is available now on Steam