Wind Peaks Review (Switch)
Don’t tell scout leader, I picked up an alligator! *Holds it up*
Publisher: Actoon Studio
To be honest, I haven’t really played that many hidden object games. I’ve played a couple, but not that many. And that’s including Where’s Waldo (come on, who hasn’t tried a Where’s Waldo). Well, it looks like that’s changing soon and it’s starting with Wind Peaks. And, by just one look, you can probably tell I was drawn to it by it’s art style.
Wind Peaks is pretty light on the story and is mostly textless, but you follow a group of scouts as they’re going out with their troop leader to camp out in the wildlife. Well, at least until they get to the camp site, Wind Peaks. However, these kids seem to have slippery fingers as they seem to be loose their needed items (including one kid’s clothes). And they have some sticky fingers as they’ll pick up interesting items, like the map you find in the first level and follow the rest of the game, and ones that I hope aren’t as dangerous as they seem.
Hidden Object games are pretty self explanatory in their gameplay. Spanning over 10 levels, you’ll get a list of items to find before you can move on. The difficulty, and the amount of items, increase as you continue on. Taking place in the wilderness or at a camp site, you’ll be trying to find these items as you over the beautifully detailed environment as the sound of the wind and birds chirping fill your ears and relaxes you. And with no timer to stress over, you really can relax with this one. As the map for each level is decently big, and each possible space detailed and packed with items or just fauna that can easily hide what you’re looking for, you can zoom in to take a closer look, or take a look zoomed out to hopefully catch a glimpse of an item or two.
There is some variety thrown in. Some environmental stuff are interactable and have a chance on revealing an item. You can click certain rock piles to see if anything is hidden behind them, shake some shrubs, open unlocked doors, and open unlocked windows. In addition, there are some items you’ll be finding that are multi-step. Some items you can hold, like a flashlight or a camera, can be used to lure out an animal or be used to make a new item (like taking a picture of an animal). Or you’ll need to do something that seemed like an optional thing, like picking up all of these weird stone tablets, to unveil a needed item.
Once you get the hang of how Wind Peaks hides items, you may even guess where the missing few items might be. As I was nearing the later levels, I was even telling myself “man this must be under a house, I didn’t find anything there yet” or “I didn’t find an item in this area yet, I’ll comb it for a couple minutes” and I was right as I found an item or the hint system pointed me to where I suspected.
Luckily, if you’re someone that can easily look over an item in this sea of items and wildlife (hehe like me) and maybe don’t want to spend forever on a level, there is a hint system. While there are some items that are easy to find, a lot of them are cleverly hidden. So, for those that would rather not want to stare at a level for hours, Wind Peaks has a hint system. You can activate it by having it select a missing item and you’ll be given a 3 minute timer. Once the timer reaches the end, you’ll then get a notification on where the item is and will disappear once your screen is hovering over the area. While this tells you where it is, it also gives you enough time to possibly find the item as well as other items. Considering this, I do recommend putting it on items you suspect will be hard to find, like a feather. If you’re going to have to wait it out, might as well do one where you probably won’t find in that time. As nothing is worse than finding an item halfway through the countdown. Though, make sure it isn’t one that requires another item you need to find still. It also doesn’t help for items where you have to do something (like find all the pieces and stack them) as it doesn’t really help you find the pieces, rather where they’ll need to go.
Also, I have to say that Wind Peaks is kind of fun playing with someone. This isn’t a co-op game of course, but it’s always nice having another pair of eyes. You can even separate who controls what, with one of you controlling the camera and the other controlling the cursor, so you guys will have to communicate to work together (though, this part will only really work in person).
Aside from finding items, there are some side stuff you can do. You don’t have to do these, of course, but this Switch Version does have built in achievements. These span across multiple levels, but you’ll also be given optional tasks where you’ll be asked to rebuild totem poles and recycle those bottles that litter some levels.
In terms of the Switch port, it’s not surprising that this game runs without a hitch. So you want a quick hidden object game, this is the one. This does have touch screen controls, but it’s weirdly like, halfway. You can click the screen to interact with interactable objects, click items you need to find the check it off, and click missing items on the list to activate the hint system, but moving the camera or zooming in/out can only be used with the joycons. Which, makes it pretty awkward to handle if you do want to play this with the touch screen.
With the only negative being the short runtime and wishing there was more to the touch controls, if you like hidden object games, there’s no way you won’t enjoy Wind Peaks. It brings that difficulty as items are hard to find, a system for those that need help, has a nice story that frames the game, has a nice and cute art style (which I can’t help but think it’s like a cousin of Hilda’s art style), and some nice side stuff that you can do. I don’t think this will change your thoughts on hidden object games, but it’ll satisfy those that already do like them.