Winds of Change Review (Switch)
Release Date: June 3, 2021
File Size: 1.3GB
Publisher: Crunching Koalas
Click here to view on the Nintendo eShop.
Version Reviewed: 1.0.2
Change is something that can be hard to push through. There are always risks involved, no matter how small, and whether those changes pay off may not appear until much later down the road. And yet, change is something that everything goes through, whether we want to or not.
If everything you’ve known in your life was turned upside down, how would you react? Would you desperately cling to the little bit of home that you grew to know, or would you let yourself break out of that shell and wander off into the land of the unknown? In Winds of Change, those are some of the questions that you tackle, and you find that not everything is as black and white as they may appear.
In Winds of Change, you play as the Seer/Seeress, who was born with the power to see into the future. You live in Valinorth with your two childhood friends, Valessa and Fortaime. However, on the day of your induction as the nation’s official Seer, you have a vision of a future attack on Valinorth. From there, things snowball until you, Valessa, and Fortaime find yourselves meeting with key members of the Rebellion, who wish to overthrow the leaders of Alestia – the Triumvirate – for good.
You will travel across Alestia, where you will meet new characters, both major and minor. You have the option of gaining loyalty from six characters, as well as one secret character. Each of these characters have their own issues and stories that you will watch unfold, some more interesting than others. And depending on the choices you make, some characters will appear/disappear from the story, which makes subsequent playthroughs a bit interesting to watch play out.
Along with the main story unfolding, several other character specific stories known as Parallel Chronicles will be told in the background as well. These stories are mainly meant for the player, as only the characters directly involved in these stories are aware of what happens. Sometimes, they take place in the past before the main story kicks off, while others occur at the same time in another location. These moments help to build up some characters and give a little more to chew on.
Along with the Parallel Chronicles, there is also Party Banter, which involves any characters in a particular location. Characters that may not interact a lot come together and have their moments, which is nice to see. And since this game kind of has a dating aspect to it, there are also moments to watch specific character bonding moments as well. If you unlock all of a character’s bonding moments, you will have the chance to unlock their loyalty scene, which will affect their epilogue text in relation to you. I do say that Winds of Change kind of has a dating aspect to it, because it did feel as though the romance would take a backseat to the main story sometimes. Which, given the gravity of the moment, is definitely understandable.
As this is a visual novel, the only gameplay is related to selecting choices. You will be making choices related both to your relationships with other characters, as well as the outcome of the epilogue. When it comes to choices involving bettering your relationship status with characters, there are visible icons that let you know whether you are making a good or bad choice. For instance, romantic choices have hearts next to them, while hurtful choices have an eye for crying. So for those looking to increase loyalty with characters, this is done very easily.
Besides making choices, you will occasionally be allowed to hop from one location to the next on an overworld map. Unexplored areas are marked by a red X, while areas that have been fully explored will have a green checkmark. At almost every location in the game, you are able to view Parallel Chronicles, Party Banter, and Heart-to-Heart moments. You can also find hidden book passages which give more insight into the world of Alestia. And once you unlock the Rebellion hideout, you will be able to go back and rewatch/reread character or lore moments.
There are a couple other metrics that are measured in Winds of Change: morale, corruption, and purity. Morale deals with the Rebellion’s morale as you progress through the story and it tends to naturally increase as you play through the game. Corruption and Purity are mainly measured during difficult decisions during the game. However, these are not a metric of making a good choice versus a bad one. A big theme in this game is the emphasis that not every choice is black and white. There are a lot of gray options and you will often come across moments where neither choice sounds ideal. So don’t focus too heavily on whether you are making “bad” choices.
The entirety of Winds of Change is presented via 2D art, with every character except yourself having a character model. A big appeal (or not, if it’s not your thing) is the fact that all of the characters are anthropomorphic animals. Almost every character has multiple poses and the art for each looks amazing. You can really tell that the creator Klace really loves the furry community with the love and care that went into every character.
Winds of Change is also fully voice acted with the exception of the player character. The voice cast did a solid job, although there are some hiccups with some characters and certain moments. The addition of voice acting really brought pivotal moments up with the emotion that the actors brought to the table. However, there were a couple of instances where pronunciation wasn’t standard across the board, with character names and locations being pronounced differently, sometimes in the same scene.
Truthfully speaking, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect going into Winds of Change. I don’t have a lot of the misconceptions that some people have towards furries and honestly, I really love a lot of anthropomorphic characters. So to those who know me well, it probably comes to no one’s surprise that this game caught my eye. And after finishing the game, I am glad that I took the chance.
Of course, I do have my complaints with Winds of Change. The epilogue ending left me feeling a bit strange (I don’t want to go too much into spoilers, but I do have questions about the last scene shown concerning the definitive ending). And it does kind of feel as though the game is on the fast track to reach the end in some spots. And some decisions with characters left me raising an eyebrow. But otherwise, I would wholeheartedly suggest Winds of Change for anyone looking for a visual novel to get into.