I was recently allowed to try a brand new visual novel called The Winds Of Changes from Tall Tail Studios. Winds Of Changes is a 2D fantasy visual novel set in a world around rebellions, powerful swords and magic.
You are The Seer of Valinorth. Blessed by the realm of spirits, you are given visions of the future in order to steer your nation’s history down the right path. However, one night, a vision shakes the very foundation of everything you know. Does this stand out from other visual novels on the market such as Doki Doki Literature Club? Let’s find out.
Choose Wisely, And Enjoy Your Adventure…
Like I previously mentioned you play as a Seer/Seeress, and have been bestowed the gift of visions to shift the future with your own hands. Without giving away too much of the story, you wake up in the burning village of Valinorth. However, you suffer from amnesia and need to recollect your thoughts before the situation gets worse. You are then greeted by your two companions, Ulric and Vanessa. With their help, you start to get a grip on what’s happening and who you are. You start to find who is the threat of the narrative: The Triumvirate.
Very early on, you are given a choice of either going to The Elder’s House to find information or go to the Great Tree to save the villagers of Valinorth. This choice option is an example of how the game will give you a choice based scenario where your action has consequences and comes with repercussion. So in the end, I’d say if you are a fan of high fantasy, especially of those in the furry community, you will have a good time with the story.
While I did enjoy the writing and the characters in the game–my personal favourite character is one of the villains, Sovy–the overall story can be a bit generic. But I still find it interesting with many intriguing plotlines. For example, I was always interested in the “Blade Of Exodus” mystery storyline.
Not Your Typical Visual Novel
There are many features that make Winds Of Changes different from many other visual novels. Probably the biggest addition I noticed is voice acting. Generally, visual novels don’t have voice acting hence the reason they are called visual novels. But I think this is a nice change of pace even though I personally prefer reading. Plus most of the voice acting is surprisingly stellar, especially the voice work for Sovy and Halin.
Another new feature that breaks the traditional visual novel style is the Exploration segments. In these gameplay segments, you are required to search around the area for clues to advance the story or complete puzzles. While in these segments, you can also interact with characters in your party which can involve multiple dialogue options like romance or even learn more about their backstories. Honestly, at first, I thought these would break the pacing of the story but instead, these pseudo-breaks enhance the narrative. Winds Of Changes has the right amount of different gameplay functions to set itself apart from visual novels.
Into The World Of Alestia
The world of Alestia has proven itself to be an eye-catching one with many artistic designs. Firstly, let’s start off with the background artwork. Most backdrops were pretty to look at while going through the journey of the story. It also helps that story has a variety of locations from burning villages, snowy castles, majestic kingdoms, etc. However, the character design artwork does distract me sometimes. Not because of all the characters being highly exaggerated furry characters; I actually like the design of most of the characters.
It’s because, sometimes, they take too much of the screen, and cluster up the UI and scenery when there is more than one character. The music is mostly good but some of the tracks I’ve noticed are kind of generic fantasy music. Yet even though it can be generic, I do appreciate it having appropriate tones of music from gentle piano to triumphant drums. Lastly, I do think there could be more sound effects, especially during battle scenes like sword swings and some yells could help.
In the end, while I did enjoy my time with Winds Of Change. I don’t see myself going back to this to see the different choice outcomes. I’d say this game is a better visual novel, especially if you’re new to the genre. However, I have played better visual novels such as Doki Doki Literature Club & the Danganronpa series.
You can buy the game for $29 on Steam right now.
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For more reviews and opinions on Winds Of Changes, check out Open Critic here.
- THE GOOD
- Great Story With Interesting Plot-points
- Stellar Voice Acting
- Well-written Characters
- Fresh Gameplay Functions Within Visual Novel
- THE BAD
- Generic Narrative Within The Story
- Could Have Better Music
- UI Issues