Windblown Preview - A Twister On A Classic Formula thumbnail

Windblown Preview – A Twister On A Classic Formula

Platform:
PC

Publisher:
Motion Twin

Developer:
Motion Twin

Any conversation about great roguelites is incomplete without mentioning Dead Cells, the Castlevania-inspired game from developer Motion Twin. With its variety of biomes, massive armory of unlockable weapons, and breakneck combat, it’s cemented itself as one of the best roguelites of all time. But after seven years of support, its development team is moving onto a new project that has the potential to be just as exciting: Windblown, an isometric roguelite with bright graphics and three-player co-op.

The game was revealed with a beautifully animated announcement trailer at last year’s Game Awards ceremony, and while it showed brief snippets of gameplay, it left a lot to be desired. Today, Motion Twin unveiled some new footage that gives fans a clearer look at what gameplay will actually be like. In addition to that, Game Informer had the chance to view about eight minutes of alpha footage behind closed doors to learn some more specific details about the game.

Windblown has at least three playable characters – known in this world as Leapers – but the trailer (and the alpha footage) both center mostly on the axolotl player. The most noticeable thing about the game, even in the very first combat encounter, is its speed. Our axolotl adventurer is constantly on the move, slashing at enemies, dashing away from their attacks, and speeding behind them for a backstab attack. The developers put a lot of emphasis on the players’ ability to dash, and the gameplay shown reflects how crucial it is. Even between fights, when navigating the floating islands of the Vortex, players can dash at will, rapidly zipping across gaps. 

The Leaper in our demo footage is wielding the fish knife, a cleaver-like blade, but eventually picks up some kunai as well. Much like Dead Cells, Windblown will feature an array of unique weapons, which can be switched between in the heat of battle, but it takes this dual-wielding feature even further than its predecessor. By performing certain actions with one weapon, you can perform an Alterattack, scoring big damage with your other weapon. In our axolotl’s case, using up all the kunai enables them to trigger the Alterattack on the fish knife. If that doesn’t finish your foe off, there are also powerful finishers called Crystallize attacks that do even more damage when synchronized with other players. It’s cool to see the combat system encourage both weapon variety and player cooperation.

A variety of perks can also be found in your journey through the Vortex. Gifts offer passive benefits, like bonus backstab damage, boosted damage after dashing, or a homing arrow that triggers when you hit a foe. Trinkets are special bonus attacks, like bombs, slow-moving death orbs, or poison clouds. Meanwhile, collectible Fish have powerful abilities, like one that swallows and restrains foes, but you’ll need to wait for their lengthy cooldowns to wear off before using them again.

You’ll need all of these abilities, too, because the magical robot/constructs in Windblown look tough. Eventually, the demo player dies and is forced to return to the hub world, a grassy collection of islands called the Ark. It’s home to some pleasant-looking NPCs, including an anthropromorphic Wolf who grants permanent upgrades. Many of these will look extremely familiar to fans of Dead Cells: there’s a healing flask, the ability to choose an additional starting weapon, the ability to start with a trinket, and a skill called Recycling, which is likely similar to the Dead Cells ability of the same name that allows you to transform unwanted items into currency. And this is just what’s visible in the current demo – many other options on the menu are locked for later. During the run, the Leaper also collected a souvenir for the heavy blade, so they can spend some money to unlock it for future runs.

While we haven’t had a chance to go hands-on yet, Windblown looks great so far, like a vibrant mix between the design of Dead Cells and the combat of games like Hades. For those hoping to check it out soon, Motion Twin plans to put the game into early access on Steam to use player feedback to shape the game. You’ll be able to get your hands on it some time later this year.

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