Wind Peaks is a very simple game that doesn’t ask for much more than your attention and a bit of patience. And when I say simple, I really do mean simple.
The game doesn’t tell a story by traditional means, but the set up is that a group of kids have gone on a camping trip with their troop. And that’s about as much story as you’re getting. There’s no dialogue, written or spoken, and the levels are split with short animations that bridge the gaps. But that’s not important as the gameplay is what we’re all here for, though I wouldn’t have minded a bit more exposition and dialogue; there’s a world here and while we get to see it, we don’t get to really learn about it.
The gameplay is where Wind Peaks will either lose you or win you over. I must admit that, to begin with, I was sitting on the other side of the fence. But then it clicked and I started to enjoy Wind Peaks for what it is. It’s not a traditional point-and-click game with head-scratching puzzles, but more of a “Where’s Wally” (or Waldo, for the Americans) kind of deal.
Each level presents a really gorgeous hand-drawn scene. Within each scene are several items that you have to find. You do this by scouring the area with a little mouse cursor, which works surprisingly well, even in docked mode. You can zoom in and out to help you zone in on what may or may not be the red apple that you’re looking. That was a common annoyance for me; the way the game is drawn, everything looks a little bit like what you’re searching for. I suppose that’s part of the fun, but after zooming in on the little red leaves for the 20th time, thinking they were an apple, I was a little peeved.
It’s simple stuff but strangely quite good. It’s not the type of game I would typically play yet I found myself glued to the game until I had finished it. Maybe it reminded me of when I was a kid and I would spend hours searching for Wally? Maybe I just long for simpler days when the biggest worry I had was not finding Wally before bedtime?
Wind Peaks isn’t an especially hard game, but if you do find yourself stuck, there is a cheat option. You can press the cross button that will reveal the general location of the item you’re looking for. But, you’ll have to wait a few minutes for the clue to be revealed. I used these clues a few times, but I needn’t have bothered as I would often find what I was looking for just as the ticking timer was about to run out.
The game gets bigger the further you progress. The first level was really small – an introduction, then. Each new level gets bigger and more complicated. Some levels require you to use an item to find what you’re looking for, which adds a bit of a twist to hide-and-seek gameplay, and I liked the small bit of puzzle-solving it presented. For example, I had a banana I could use and a monkey I needed to find. Once I saw the monkey’s tail poking out of a tree, I selected the banana and tempted the chimp from his hiding place. Again, simple stuff, but nice all the same.
Something I didn’t like was the game’s rules and how it didn’t seem to follow them at all time. The items you need to look for are presented at the bottom of the screen. You would expect them to look exactly as they are listed, and to begin with, they do. But, the further you go into the game, the more they change. Not in shape, but in colour. A dark witches hat was hidden on a purple tree, and to hide it, the hat had taken on the same colour as the tree. There are more than a few instances of the goalposts being moved around and I thought that was a little unfair. I’m being told to look for a brown boot, but the boot is actually green. It did make it a little more frustrating at times, and definitely more tempting to hit the cross button for a clue.
Aside from that annoyance, I can’t really complain all that much about Wind Peaks – not that I want to complain. It’s a simple game, yes, but it’s still fun and enjoyable if a little short; you can get through the game in just a couple of hours, though there are a bunch of collectables and achievements that should double the playtime.
The levels are beautifully drawn, and while they might seem quite static, the closer you look, the more you see. There are subtle touches like the trees gently swaying, or snakes slithering around on the ground, and the camping kids mooching about, serving no purpose other than to give the levels a bit of life. You can also poke the kids and get a weird little laugh out of them. No further comment.
The music is also top-notch. It’s calm and quaint, and perhaps a little too calm and quaint – I played Wind Peaks in one sitting late in the evening, and by the time I had finished, I was more than ready for bed. Not because I was bored to sleep, but because it’s such a relaxing game and the gentle ambient sounds of the forest combined with some slow melodies had me ready to bed down for one of the best night’s sleep I’ve had in a while.
Wind Peaks Nintendo Switch Review
Wind Peaks for Nintendo Switch is wholesome, albeit simple, fun that the entire family can get involved with. It’s on the shorter side, but any longer and it would probably outstay its welcome.
- Beautiful hand-drawn scenes
- Simple point-and-click gameplay with some light puzzles
- The ambient audio is fantastic and the music is just right
- Sometimes, it feels like the game cheats by not following the unwritten rules
- Some character dialogue would have been nice, even if it was only on-screen text
Review Disclaimer: This review was carried out using a copy of the game provided by the publisher. For more information, please read our Review Policy.
Reviewed using Nintendo Switch docked/undocked.