If you're in the mood for an old-school RPG that boasts a healthy dose of strategy then here's the rather innovative Gale of Windoria.
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Welcome to Windoria
Gale of Windoria tells the tale of a world where its source of life, the Tetra Quartzes, have become tainted so a young hero by the name of Shan takes it upon himself to restore them to their former glory. He's joined by the charming yet unplayable Wina and along their journey; they'll make allies with a water-wielding aspiring explorer, a literally fiery maiden, and a golem who possesses the power of earth. You can probably spot an elemental theme and there is one because Shan is wind-based and can use a cute little floating platform called a Beakle to traverse the lands. In the end, the story and cast are engaging enough to compel you throughout the adventure. v1d30chumz 44-212-99-248
Board your Beakle
Speaking of the adorable Beakle, exploring the world within Gale of Windoria is a treat thanks to the lovely pixel-perfect visuals, distinct elemental environments, and a soundtrack that's much better than it has any right being. In fact, the audio is excellent with uninterrupted tunes that make exploring feel magical and will pump you up for combat. Meanwhile, the dungeons are fairly standard although the character-specific traversal abilities and upgradable Beakle add some variety and incentives for backtracking. 😊
Equip your Quartz
Besides levelling up and decking your characters out with a handful of equipment pieces each, Gale of Windoria features a rather robust Quartz system. Each Quartz grants active skills, passive traits, and hidden boosts that are made available by equipping certain combinations of them. Each character can equip up to 5 Quartz each and considering you can recycle unused ones in order to level up your favourite ones, you'll spend a great deal of time optimizing your party. Although doing so is certainly time-consuming, it's always worth it once you topple a previously challenging boss. Plus, devising combat strategies based on your loadout is always satisfying. 💎
Get ready to fight
Now that I mention combat, the battle system in Gale of Windoria is simple as all you do is attack or use a skill whenever it's one of your characters' turns. Each turn also replenishes some skill points so saving them up in order to unleash a more powerful ability is often a good tactic. Considering combat is as simple as it is, it's actually quite remarkable how much strategy is involved because most skills have 2 effects. For example, you may harm your enemies while buffing your party's defense. Because of the constant buffs and debuffs that are regularly being thrown around, gaining a strategic advantage over your enemies is often a struggle and this makes for a super-engaging and challenging formula. In fact, I don't think I've ever seen such a simple yet strategy-heavy battle system before.
Even though Gale of Windoria is a mostly enjoyable experience, it can test your patience once in a while. For starters, the battle system may be strategic but it's also a bit too limiting at times, especially in the longer boss fights. I also found many of the story sequences to go on for too long and often thought to myself "Okay, I get it. Can we move on?" halfway through some of the segments. The campaign also takes a long time to get interesting and you don't even get your full party until at least 10 hours in. 😴
Gale of Windoria is an RPG that's bursting with clever innovations while also featuring some disappointing aspects that sometimes make it a chore to play. I'd love to see a finer-tuned iteration, especially if the impressively strategic Quartz system remains untouched.
- + Simple combat that's surprisingly strategic with constant buffs and debuffs
- + Quartz system is involving and rewarding
- + Well-done visuals and great music
- - Minimalist battle system is sometimes limiting
- - Story sequences are regularly drawn-out
- - Takes a long time to get interesting