Welcome to Wind Peaks!
I’ll be your guide for this trip. The blue-haired girl standing next to me about to puke is my sister, Hilda. You may be wondering what we’re doing in a camper van, fleeing from Sasquatch carrying an elf named Alfur. Well rest assured, there’s a perfectly logical explanation… I think.
But let’s rewind a step, it all began a couple of weeks ago when our parents decided we could use some fresh air. They shipped us up north to a sleepy town called Wind Peaks, to stay at the world-famous Scout camp in the woods. While it was fun at first, it felt like the same boring routine over and over. Until that one fateful day…
The Mystery Shack
Turns out the town of Wind Peaks is full of mysteries, puzzles and objects to discover! After finding an old map crumpled down the back of a chair we began a treasure hunt to find all of the misplaced objects en route to its mysterious goal, an undiscovered area deep in the forest.
Anyone who has lost a couple of hours gawking at the latest Where’s Wally? (Waldo) trying to find the stripey jumpered pimpernel will have a gist of what to expect. For those that haven’t, I mean come on seriously… let me explain.
Wind Peaks takes place over ten beautiful hand-drawn levels intertwined with short cutscenes to drive the narrative. All you have to do is locate the objects detailed at the bottom of the screen. There is no timer but different mechanics come into play, taking photos or using a flashlight, as the number of hidden objects increases through progression.
On the face of it, a straightforward premise but it isn’t always the breeze you’d expect. Exploring each level requires a keen eye for detail as the items often blend into the background or sit obstructed by larger objects. Thankfully if you really get stuck you can call for help by using a location marker that will point you in the right direction. There’s also a handful of simple puzzles to solve that adds variety to the experience.
Well this looks shockingly familiar
Each backdrop, character and object are wonderfully realised in a cartoon style that is unique yet instantly familiar. The developer’s blurb even highlights the game draws inspiration from Gravity Falls and Hilda, it’s evident and all the better for it. Both of the aforementioned shows are highly rated at TBG and worldwide, you can find out where Gravity Falls ranked in our Top Ten Cartoon Series (Not Just For kids) here. While there isn’t much in the way of explosive set-pieces there’s a subtle beauty as trees say in the wind and cast shadows on the ground they protrude from.
Can you hear the wind?
The audio design is one of the biggest surprises from Wind Peaks. Although there isn’t a soundtrack in the traditional sense you are treated to the ambient sounds of the forest. It really helps create a calm and relaxed atmosphere when playing this non-violent wilderness retreat as the world trickles into life around you.
What else does the game offer?
Wind Peaks is by no means a long game, it can be finished within 1-2 hours. The addition of in-game achievements goes some way to justify a second replay but most will be obtained during the initial run. No doubt speedrunners will attempt to beat their last time but in all honestly, Wind Peaks is the sort of escapism we all need from time to time.
What’s exciting is the format leaves Wind Peaks open to returning by referencing itself as season one. I’d love to see what the team at Actoon Studio have in store for us next, especially if we get to return to the setting of Wind Peaks for more adventures!
I didn’t know what to expect when Wind Peaks landed. I’ve previously attempted the hidden object genre without any lasting connection, yet the visual design and world of Wind Peaks… piqued my interest. The storyline only lasts a couple of hours but engages throughout. Wind Peaks is a joyful, wholesome and relaxing experience that aims to stand tall and succeeds.
Review code provided
Platform: PC, Nintendo
Release Date: 03/03/2021
No. of Players: 1
Category: Adventure, Other, Puzzle
Developer: Actoon Studio
Publisher: Actoon Studio
Download link: US eShop / UK eShop