|System: DS||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Ninja Studio||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Graffiti Entertainment||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: May 29, 2010||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-2||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Teen||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Caleb Newby
Some games offer up so much to do that you know, realistically, you'll never be able to fully explore everything the game has to offer; not without losing copious amounts of sleep and letting school or work suffer, that is. Take a game such as Dragon Age. So many things to do and experience; only a truly disturbed individual would play through each of the origin modes as well as beat the game with multiple characters using a different blend of party members I was one of those people. Or take the recently released Red Dead Redemption. There is just so much to do, so much to see that it is easily worth its asking price. As gamers, we are blessed when a game comes out with so many things to occupy us.
Windy X Windam is not one of those games.
If you are not familiar with the story of Windy X Windam, and really, how could you not be, let me attempt to enlighten you. The official website says the game is based upon a Japanese anime series (which series that is, is left to the imagination as it has been left unnamed), and it is set in the kingdom of Gawain and that's all they give you. From the narrative within the game, which consists entirely of a few lines of pre- and post-battle dialogue, it seems to have something of a SoulCalibur vibe to it with the various characters traveling through Gawain and battling one another while on their personal quest to obtain one wish. That's the gist of it, but don't worry, it doesn't really matter. The plot is so haphazard and discombobulated that flat out ignoring it doesn't seem out of line; after all, that's what the designers seem to have done.
Graphically, things are just fine, though the character art seems a bit similar to some more well known staples of the fighting genre. For example, the character "Big" gives off a little aura of Blanka in his look and style. Not enough to blatantly infringe on the intellectual property, but a definite vibe of "haven't I seen him somewhere before " happens on a few occasions.
The only game modes are one-on-one battles against the CPU or against a friend. If this were a more complex fighting game, it may have been enough, but the stages and characters don't offer enough to make it unique. The fighting system itself is cookie cutter despite the couple extra bells and whistles added to spice it up.
Windy X Windam's gimmick is special devices called "Windies" that allow the competitors to fly, albeit limitedly. The DS makes use of this by using the lower screen as the main combat area with the upper screen the open sky where fighters can make use of the Windies for some aerial combat. The other notable feature is the use of special attacks that can be charged up and unleashed on the poor sap standing across from you. Each combatant has two levels of special attacks, with the more powerful causing severe damage.
Outside of these couple of gimmicks, combat can quickly devolve into mindless button mashing and move spamming, i.e. the fighting genre at its worst. I was able to go through the entire tournament by using a basic attack over and over and nothing else. When that got boring, I'd change it up by using a special attack just to watch the animation and try to speed up the process. Not once did the Windies and flying aspect seriously come into play against the computer AI. Granted, this may be different against a willing human opponent, but let's be real here; how many friends do you have that want to play some head to head Windy X Windam? Even the one cartridge for two-player download play, always a fantastic Nintendo DS feature, will doubtfully keep two players occupied for more than a few matches. It really is that underwhelming.