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Game Info:

Winds of Change
Developed by Tall Tail Games
Published by Tall Tail Games
Released on August 21, 2019
Available on Linux, macOS, Windows
ESRB Rating: None
Genre: Visual Novel, Point and Click Adventure
Number of Players: Single-player
Price: $19.99 on Steam

Thank you Tall Tail Studios for sending us this game to review!

Winds of Change takes place in the fantasy world of Alestia, where all characters are anthropomorphized animals and fantasy creatures with humanoid bodies, or, in simpler terms, furries. The protagonist is born with a special ability to see the future, and therefore labeled as a Seer. Their country, Valinorth, is secluded from the rest and is the only one who still believes in the spirit realm and “spirit idols.” It is from these idols that the Seer received their ability. The Seer also has a Scribe, which is their assistant in interpreting visions. This role introduces the protagonist’s childhood friends, Valessa and Fortaime, the former being the Scribe, and the latter being the Scribe-in-training.

The Seer can, however, be a Seeress. The game gives the player the option of choosing between being a male or a female character, and they can even enter in a name to go by. There is no restriction to this, as it is literally a space for the player to type in a name.

While Winds of Change is mostly a visual novel, there are point-and-click aspects to it as well. There are several areas where the player is free to explore their surroundings, and they can pick up books explaining the lore of the world. During these explorations, there are also typically options to socialize with other members of your party, as a sort of party system is used. It’s not a strict party system, but it dictates the characters the story focuses the most on. Depending on the area they are in, sometimes the player can talk to others. They can learn more about the area, and some of its history from the more knowledgeable ones. There’s also “Heart-to-Heart Conversations,” which are the most opportune times to develop romantic relationships with all of the characters in your party. Sometimes, there’s “Party Banter,” which is when they talk to each other, and the player can view these scenes playing out. There’s also “Parallel Chronicles,” where it focuses on antagonists and those not yet introduced to help contribute to the story. All of these are optional, but encouraged heavily by the tutorials and tips provided as the story goes along.

Winds of Change
Highlights:

Strong Points: Stunning English voice acting; high-quality art; fitting background music; amazing writing; engaging and interesting story; great point-and-click interface; can define protagonist’s personality freely
Weak Points: Several typos scattered throughout; a few instances where the voice lines didn’t exactly match up with the on-screen text, and were off by a word or two; no drawn background scenes; crashed a few times; when clicking through the story parts, a character’s face sprite is shown for a split second when the speaking character changes; very rarely when you click ahead too fast, two voice files play at once; no matter how you approach the purity and corruption system, the ending stays practically identical
Moral Warnings: Constant references to drinking and alcohol; in-game romances don’t have to be straight, and the player can therefore flirt with any and all characters they interact with; a little bit of light swearing; implied sex, nothing shown or described; tons of described gore, nothing actually drawn; possession of dead bodies; character is given an opportunity to cross-dress

As for the story itself, there are tons upon tons of choices, but only ten or eleven of them actually matter, because of the existence of the “Purity and Corruption” system that is in place. Each of the important choices affect the purity and corruption trackers by ten percent, and they are all indicated by a notification bar at the top saying, “This choice will affect the future of Alestia.” These are the only choices that change the course of the story, all the way down to the basic plot line. The other choices will only truly affect the interactions that are made with the other party members in individual conversations that happen during the exploration of the world. However, even the important choices do not affect the route very much at all, as there is really only one ending. The so-called important choices only determine which characters are involved, who dies, and the degree that they are involved.

The protagonist has no voice acting, or even a speaking text box. There are several occasions where the player has the opportunity to choose how they respond to a greeting, each one with a different symbol next to it, to show the different personalities or moods that they represent. Their face is never shown, leaving their looks up to creative interpretation. Some scenes only have one possible response to a situation, and even then it’s shown as a button that needs to be pressed. However, the lack of description for looks and personality allow for the player to define their own personality for their protagonist, which is an approach that seems to be quite uncommon.

As Winds of Change is a game about a war, there is lots of described blood and gore. None of it is drawn, but the details are very specific in the writing. Surprisingly enough, there are only a few light swears ever uttered, which were h*ll, d**n, and suck. As a sort of relief from the stress of battle, there are also several scenes where the characters are in a tavern, and sometimes those scenes are inevitable. One of the romance routes can only be fully achieved when drinking with that character. The scene is started with the first Heart-to-Heart Conversation with that character, and is finished in the second one, when the player character enters their dorm and they drink a little bit more before the writing implies that they had sex. Nothing is shown, or described, but it says something along the lines of “We let out our passion.”

When I was playing through Winds of Change, I noticed a few things that ruin the otherwise clean polish shown throughout. There are several typos displayed in the text spaces throughout the course of the story, and even an instance where the writers didn’t know how to spell a word properly, and seemed to be unaware of their mistake. (The word was “pendant,” and they wrote it as “pendent” in-game.) Every time the speaker switches, a flash of the first character’s face sprite appears for just a split second before switching to the new one’s sprite. There were also a few lines that were recorded slightly differently than what was shown on-screen. Once or twice, there was a line that used the male gender pronoun, and I was playing a female character. The line on the screen, however, used the proper pronoun. It also happened the other way around once too. A few times, I clicked too fast and two voice files played at once.

Winds of Change
Score Breakdown:
Higher is better
(10/10 is perfect)

Game Score - 84%
Gameplay - 16/20
Graphics - 9/10
Sound - 8/10
Stability - 4/5
Controls - 5/5

Morality Score - 45%
Violence - 0/10
Language - 8/10
Sexual Content - 6/10
Occult/Supernatural - 0.5/10
Cultural/Moral/Ethical - 8/10

The background music is very fitting for the style of the game, and all of the art is very high-quality. The story is written very well also. However, there are very few sound effects outside of the voice acting, and there are plenty of moments where said sound effects could have been implemented.

Winds of Change isn’t completely stable, either. Saving and loading is slow, and if the player clicks around too much, the game will crash. There was also a time when it crashed on its own. Hopefully these issues will be fixed in a later patch, and the developers will continue to bug-fix until it’s at polishing perfection.

All in all, Winds of Change is a great game for anyone looking for a good story or just a furry visual novel. It’s not a kids’ game in any way, shape, or form, but the general high quality shown makes Tall Tail Games one of the better English visual novel developers on the market.

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Kaitlyn

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Christ Centered Gamer looks at video games from two view points. We analyze games on a secular level which will break down a game based on its graphics, sound, stability and overall gaming experience. If you’re concerned about the family friendliness of a game, we have a separate moral score which looks at violence, language, sexual content, occult references and other ethical issues.

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