What do you think happens when the body dies? What happens to the soul? Maybe it goes on to the next life or a place where all other souls can be in pure happiness and joy. But what if the souls go as high as they can and become stars of their own for everyone to see shining bright in the night sky? But maybe not all souls can escape to their place as there can be the bad ones still wreaking havoc even in the afterlife. So does developer ELIOT bring the soul escaping puzzle-solving adventure? Let’s find out with Wind Wind for the Oculus Quest/Quest 2, PCVR, and PlayStation VR.
Wind Wind is a puzzle adventure game where you control two individual characters to the top of a tower using wind as you avoid robots, face obstacles, and the black star which is in your way. So before getting started there are just a few things that you will want to know. First, find your favorite swivel chair and place it in a spot where you can easily move around. You don’t have to have a swivel chair, but it will help. Second, make sure whatever platform you are playing on, that the controllers are charged or batteries have plenty of juice left. And finally, some patience, because there will be times where you may get frustrated (more on this in a few). With all that said, let’s continue…
The first thing you will want to do before beginning the game and go into the Game Tip part of the menu and just get familiar with the simple, yet effective controls. The triggers are the wind strength (this will be the number one thing you will want to pay attention to. Use the thumbstick for the left and right turns and the grip button to move the camera. Yes, this will be just a tad different with the Playstation Move controllers, but you get the idea.
The next thing you will want to do is go through the tutorial as it will give you the story which is simply that when humans die, their soul escapes their body and becomes stars. Stars that are truly worthy embark on a long journey to become those stars. To become worthy, only the souls that experienced adulthood through the mortal body. So any of the souls that failed to become adults lack the strength to escape the atmosphere and become stars. This is really due to the curse of the land which these little souls slowly dissipate into the thin air. But you then have the evil souls that failed to become stars are known as the ‘Black Stars’ which hunt for the little souls because they enable them to become stars. So with no real choice, the little souls who live in fear, need to hide from the Black Stars. But, when the little souls cannot give up their freedom, the wind will start to blow.
So now that we have the basis of the story, it’s time to really get into the tutorial to figure out how to move the two main characters. Koji is the girl, has the ability to jump, and is represented by the color Pink. This comes in handy when there are gaps or different areas that may need just a little distance to get to. Joe is the boy, has the ability to punch crates as well as block lasers, and is represented by the color Blue. Punching comes into play when there are crates in the way that is blocking an area that either Joe or Koji needs to really get to and blocking lasers helps for when Koji needs to get by to an area where she will be the most impactful. Keep in mind you can only control either Koji or Joe at a time and can easily switch between the two by opening the interface (by pressing the B or Y button) to select the character you want to control.
And to move either character, you simply use the Trigger button or button on both controllers to have them move along. However, too much wind and they can easily fly off the pathway to their doom causing them to have to restart at the last checkpoint that they reached. Which, can be frustrating when you have a narrow path and you are so close to a safe spot that you used too much wind or an obstacle hit Koji or Joe sending them to their doom in having to restart back at the last checkpoint.
One thing I will say about the controls is that they work very well, The indirect control method that is used here may be a little different than what you might be used to. While holding down the grip trigger buttons you can simply use the controller in an up and down motion to easily raise and lower the perspective and using the thumb buttons to rotate the camera works flawlessly. So you don’t have to grip and pull towards you or away from you to get that movement, it’s all done with ease here.
Something else here is about the checkpoints. At certain parts of the level, you will see the pink and blue lights that Koji and Joe need to get to as that will be the start of new checkpoints. However, there are spirits that you can collect along the way that you can use as individual checkpoints based on the character you are controlling. Just be careful as you only can use these depending on how many you collected. So if you use them all and then you finally reach that one level or that one point with a collectible puzzle piece that would be good to have a checkpoint and you are out, you better hope your wind game is on point, because Koji and Joe will fly off like nothing else, so be careful and don’t forget that you have them to use.
Earlier, I mentioned having to get to the top of the tower. In case you might be wondering how tall the tower is, here is a view from the early stages of gameplay.
Let’s talk about the graphics and sound. The graphics are really sharp on the Oculus Quest 2 and I am sure as well for the other platforms as well. Details from the layout of the puzzles to the smooth animation from Koji jumping and Job breaking the crates to even the moving obstacles really are pleasant on the eyes and just a joy to see in VR. The sound of the game music is charming and just has this relaxing beat that can help offset the times when things can and will become challenging. Watching Koji jump or when you happen to use too much wind and see Joe fly off to their doom, you feel bad, but there is just this pleasant sound with the characters that help bring a certain simplicity to it all.
There are a few things that I would love to see. For one, I mentioned frustration. There will be times more often than not that you may and probably will get frustrated. It has nothing to do with you per se (unless you keep using too much wind then there needs to be), it’s that Wind Wind can be very challenging. For those players who may be new to VR or even younger family members that want to play, a difficultly setting would be beneficial. Having an easy, regular, and hard difficulty mode with different achievements and trophies to match would be fun for all and would help encourage all ages of any level of play to keep engaged and not get too frustrated. Now, I am not saying that frustration cannot be a good thing, but some of the earlier levels can be a little too challenging for certain ages and puzzle players. Second, the levels are really well thought out and you can tell time and effort was put into these. I wish even more levels could be added. Maybe some DLC down the line. And last, multiplayer. I can see Wind Wind having a multiplayer mode where you can have 2 – 4 players each with their own character to control and having things like a battle mode or characters with even more abilities join in the fun.
Wind Wind does bring the puzzling adventure in a fun way and with a control method that works. It shows us that when we get frustrated with things we have choices to make. We can either give up or we can keep trying regardless of when it seems like we should fail in life. And at this point in our lives, shouldn’t we give up on failing and keep trying to succeed when we could use it the most?
In case you missed the trailer, I have some puzzle pieces that I missed that I need to collect.