Windlands PSVR Review: Whimsical Spider-Man

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Posted November 8, 2016 by Adeem Khan in Video Games

Windlands fulfills a childhood dream. Whether it was Tarzan, Spider-Man, or Curious George, we’ve all dreamed about swinging around the sky. Short of a radioactive spider bite, Windlands is the closest you’ll get to the experience. But you better be ready, or you’ll end up cleaning the vomit from your TV screen.

Windlands is going to be one of the most intense VR games you will play. You’ll be running, jumping, and swinging so quickly that you’ll end up projectile vomiting if you’re not ready for it. The game definitely knows this and has an array of comfort options to use. Depending on how much experience you have in VR, you’ll be turning on and off a couple of these. I kept most of them off, but I did turn on comfort turning. In other games, quickly turning with the analog stick without actually turning my head has been a big source of discomfort. With comfort turning on, it feels like your view is teleporting instead of actually turning. It sounds and looks weird, but works very well in reducing discomfort.

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0 to 4 in 40 minutes

Even with the option on, it’s not the most comfortable game to play. I’ve played a lot of PSVR games so I’m a lot more comfortable in Windlands than someone without their VR legs would be. Even then, around 30-40 minutes in I started to get a sickly feeling in my stomach. Even though it got bad enough to cause me to quit the game, I always found my way back because the game itself is fun to play.

The game starts out with a quick premise about what the hell is going on, but the story really isn’t why you’re playing this game. You’ll be dropped into a room with little information on what to do, but the controls are easy to figure out. I recommend not pushing the analog stick down all the way when you start because that’s what I did and it surprised me how fast I was moving. Your running and swinging speeds can feel a little overwhelming at first, but once you get all the controls down you’ll be speeding around the map with breathtaking speed.

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As well as the game controls, one problem I had was whenever I was falling and frantically looking for something to grab, I would end up grappling onto the bottom of a tree. Then to make it back up you have to slowly work your way to the top of the tree, the whole time keeping your neck bent and looking up. It’s pretty uncomfortable with a VR headset strapped to your face. The right analog stick allows you to turn without actually turning your head, but it doesn’t let you look up or down. It’s a minor complaint, but I wish that option was available.

Everything in this game is about speed and maintaining momentum. Jumping at the wrong angle or losing your momentum by letting go of a rope too early or too late can easily screw you up. That’s about as complicated as the challenges in this game get. The puzzles in this game are just about figuring out how to traverse the map.

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The world of Windlands, much like other VR games, is pretty simplistic looking. The whimsical fantasy setting can still be beautiful at times, but where the world really shines is the level design. Levels in the game drop you into a large world where you have to figure out how to get all the crystals on the map. There are always multiple ways you can get to them, some easier than others. There were a couple times where I got stuck, but it was just me being stubborn and insisting on getting somewhere in a particular way. You can also head towards the other crystals on the map if you get stuck trying to get to one and come back when you’re ready to tackle it. There are also tons of collectibles scattered throughout. When you go collectible hunting, you’ll find them in small nooks and crannies across the map where you didn’t even think you could get to. Whether I was stuck or not, I always had something to do.

Windlands has quickly become one of my favorite VR games, offering up a new way to handle platforming gameplay in the VR world, and it’s a really fun way. Using my head, literally and figuratively, in ways I haven’t before to figure out puzzles has been a satisfying experience.


About the Author

Adeem Khan