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May 2024

Gust Of Wind

Platform(s): PC
Genre: Action/Adventure
Publisher: Wrenchpunk Games
Developer: Wrenchpunk Games
Release Date: 2026


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PC Preview - 'Gust of Wind'

by Cody Medellin on April 18, 2024 @ 12:00 a.m. PDT

Gust Of Wind is a story-driven stealth game where you knock out mutant seagulls as you explore derelict mines and climb the ropes of rusted sail ships.

When you think of stealth and anthropomorphic animals, there are a few that come to mind. Mice are already thought of as good stealth animals, given their small stature. Cats and foxes often sneak around while hunting. Chameleons also make for good stealth animals due to their color-changing nature. Seagulls don't seem to fit the bill, as they're often considered loud. Gust of Wind tends to think differently, and we got a chance to check out the Steam Early Access build to see how sneaky a lanky anthropomorphic bird really can be.

It ticks a good deal of the boxes that players expect from the stealth genre. Crouching is the best way to move around, since you'll produce less noise that way. Staying out of sight is paramount, whether that means hiding in the shadows or keeping yourself out of sight behind objects. While you can defend yourself if you get caught, don't expect to overpower every enemy you encounter, as you lack the strength to go toe-to-toe with most enemies, let alone more than one at a time. Sneaking up from behind or getting someone from above is always the best approach, as is getting rid of the bodies once you've knocked out or killed an enemy.

The first stage takes place in a decently sized vessel, and it makes for a rather novel environment for sneaking around. The deck is the only open area in the place, and even then, you can't run for very long before you get caught by enemies. Stealth is necessary due to the cramped spaces, but the ship provides a few new avenues for sneaking around, such as jumping from rope to rope to avoid enemies — as long as you don't climb low enough to be seen. That elevated height also gives you an opportunity to jump from a rope and take down foes from above. The lack of equipment on your bird means that you'll have to procure melee weapons from the ship to have a fighting chance. The ocean means clean-up is easy, since you can just toss bodies overboard.

The game currently boasts about four hours of playtime with a few more environments to explore, but there were a litany of issues. The seagulls are lanky while they're upright, so they're quite tall, and their walk animations look hilarious. That's all fine until you find yourself in the ship's interior, where the cramped nature of the surroundings makes the camera move in so close that your view is obscured, even on ultrawide monitors. Move into a small room, and it gets worse, as the camera tries to move into first-person view, but the navigation is nightmarish due to the lack of indicators and the darkness of the spaces. The camera is also problematic when you're trying to manipulate switches; you can't turn to see what you're moving, so you're forced to stop what you're doing, turn around to see if anything changed, and then repeat the process several times.

The indicator and targeting systems are also at odds with one another. When switching between ropes, you'll often never know whether you can climb a certain rope until you actually touch it and see the climbing animation commence. Targeting things can get finicky, as you can accidentally pick up the wrong item due to a millimeter of movement, but you have to watch the slow animation play out. There are also moments when targeting is completely broken, such as when a body covers a grate and a weapon, but the weapon always gets priority and the body can't be selected again.

Enemy AI is rather inconsistent. There are moments when enemies are keenly aware of your presence when you make a noise but will ignore anything else happening in the world. There are times when they'll wake up from their hammocks even though you're nowhere close, and other times, they'll remain blissfully unaware of your presence. Sometimes they'll put up a fight, and other times they'll be your punching bag.

There's also the random assortment of other bugs. Hit an ally character, and they'll continue to converse with you while also punching you to death. Multiple enemies started to come out of one room, and temporary quest markers never leave the field after you cross them. There was also one moment when the game prevented us from moving and enemies couldn't kill us, so we were forced you to restart the game.

Gust of Wind is still in Early Access, so the bugs will be humorous for a while. Knock out an enemy, and there's a good chance they'll stick to a wall before finally falling to the floor. Leave someone alone on the floor, and they may start bobbing up and down . Carry a body, and there's a good chance you'll carry nothing but still hear a splash when you toss it overboard. You can carry a random assortment of things, so you can attack someone with an open book, and it'll be as lethal as a one-handed ax (Editor's Note: Knowledge of powerful!). This will have to be fixed in the final game, but it's still charming at this early stage of the game development cycle.

Gust of Wind is very much the embodiment of Early Access. The overall premise is intriguing, but with a projected release date of roughly sometime in 2026, there's plenty of time to wait it out to see if everything gets fixed up, so the game can reach its real potential. The hope is that this will be a stealth experience like any other.

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