As someone who absolutely adored Where’s Wally as a child, and is infatuated with a good scavenger-hunt style title, Wind Peaks was right up my alley. A relaxing point-and-click adventure from Brazilian-based independent developer, Actoon Studio. The compelling front of this active treasure trove makes an immediate connection to the aforementioned Wally/Waldo book series. A complex game of connect-the-dots that tells a tale through each puzzle it presents. It’s surface level exposition is simplistic, and easy to grasp. While I would argue that its allure is somewhat vanilla, in retrospect Wind Peaks envelops an innocent, relatable vibe that’s been absent within the gaming climate for quite a period of time.
As gaming evolves and becomes a larger source for entertainment, its grandeur has superseded that of a golden era that relied on its A-to-B technical limitations. Secret of Monkey Island, Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego, Sam & Max, Hugo’s House of Horror’s, Police Quest; wildly acclaimed action-adventures in gaming that were heralded for their simplicity, and continue to hold their respective legacies to this day. Wind Peaks demonstrates a profound renaissance, in an exhibition that encapsulates an endearing experience through its charming artform, and picture-book style narrative.
Wind Peaks plot isn’t explained, but its imagined through an inviting tale of panels provided within each sequence. I had a great time exploring the handful of sizeable maps that expelled vibrant imagery that can only be compared to the charismatic appeal of the hit television series, Gravity Falls. The game begins with a very basic tutorial in how to approach each objective hidden across multiple valleys. While its intent is to investigate specific parts of each map, its immersive landscape will have you scouring through secrets and other features that prolong its entire campaign. Unlocking chests, discovering additional elements and crafting your way through its tale adds to its delightful deluge of intrigue.
A short and sweet story with surplus for added appeal, enables a hearty two hour fetch quest designed to detach the conventional gamer from the expeditious environments that have become commonplace. The temptation of completing Wind Peaks right through sits within its leisurely inquisition. The title itself persuades you to absorb its incredibly attractive universe. A marvellous endeavour in toning down all anxieties that seem to influx upon imperative impediments. There’s No need to rush, take your time. Exploration is key in this wondrous world. While I did find myself promenading through Wind Peaks’ allaying exploit, I did have a moment where I would have appreciated a hint or two. Frustrations may surface when you find yourself hitting a wall. Much like the cited Waldo adventures, certain objects can be invisible to the naked eye until they rear their ugly head at the eleventh hour.
An enriching title that oozes an enchanting grace, in a sedative ambiance encompassed by lush locales and an adorning aura.
My mistake was simply skimming each map without approaching all pieces of the puzzle with patience. Rustling trees and bushes with the stroke of your pointer can reveal hidden gems or may point you in the right direction. The NPC’s scattered across each field are there to alleviate those stresses and assist when necessary. While there is a set objective tasked in each map, extra puzzles are just as enjoyable in initiating. An example being an overzealous monkey that had refused to leave a nearby tree at our campsite. How do we lure the famished primate out? Well, a banana of course! Finding a banana hidden in a bush, I was able to draw the friendly creature from the treetops to collect his satiating snack and send him on his way. It’s small sequences like this that heighten Wind Peaks’ offerings. A charitable extension to its overall experience.
✔️An re-imagining of old school, Where’s Waldo picture books.
❌A little short, only two hours long.
While a great portion of Wind Peaks relies on an intuitive gameplay loop, its various vibes are consistent of its intended cartoon like, pop-out picture book aesthetic. Enamoured by an afternoon children’s animated series like trope, its sensational stylings are simply relative to enveloping its family friendly foray archetype. I loved seeing each environment evolve as I uncovered new secrets and collectables that carried me through this combing campaign. The harmonious journey invites an interdependent exploit that allows a coactive escapade with cohorts, just like you would have rallied friends in finding Wally as a group.
Its mystique is morphed by its compelling, zero dialogue disposal that only escalates and encroaches its setting more-so. I’m a sucker for a great photo essay, or an inviting picture book that entails an innocence that is simply omitted from numerous forms of media nowadays. The title manages to tug on many heartstrings, sending a myriad of merry memories and fascinating flashbacks of my formative years – I do miss being a kid.
The sights and scenes of each landmass are accompanied by an incredible demonstration in sound design. The scintillating shimmers of a riverbank silently splash ashore. The birds chirping as they soar across the campsite, the frogs croaking as they nestle on their lily pads, and as the title indicates a soft breeze that brushes the bristles of each bush. Wind Peaks has Autonomous sensory meridian written all over it. The game is designed to heighten your sense of awareness while relaxing your mind. I was always told as a kid that these type of puzzle games were “brain food”. An example in teaching youth how to patiently puzzle solve in moments of tranquillity. The serenity of an undisturbed surrounding, aids the sub-conscious to take over. Crazy how the human mind works.
Wind Peaks is a fantastic point-and-click scavenger hunt. I highly recommend it for younger audiences, or even those that are looking to sit back, relax with a warm cuppa’ and peacefully mystify themselves for a short time. A gorgeous game that surmises a topic that our beloved medium seems to have oversighted for quite some time – can gaming rely on zero exposition, zero dialogue and be an immersive experience? Yes, without question. An unequivocal escapade that seeks to trigger a flurry of emotions hidden within the simplest of settings. An enriching title that oozes an enchanting grace, in a sedative ambiance encompassed by lush locales and an adorning aura. A magnificent bedrock for Actoon Studio.