Windbound is out on PC and consoles, bringing with it a mix of survival gameplay, boat-building, and high seas exploration.
In our Windbound review we were mostly positive about the game, but a number of flaws restricted it to a 6/10. While we enjoyed the enchanting art style and its naval additions to the survival formula, Windbound can be particularly unforgiving to those embarking on this perilous voyage.
Here, we’ve compiled a list of essential Windbound tips and tricks to help you get started. We’ll cover what you need to know about surviving in the world of Windbound, moving on from chapter one, and share some helpful advice in approaching your playthrough as efficiently as possible.
First off, we’d strongly recommend playing Windbound on Story difficulty. It’s a lot more forgiving than Survival difficulty, letting you hold onto more items upon death without being sent back to the very beginning of your voyage, too. Story creates a fairer and much quicker onboarding experience, setting you up for later runs if you intend on replaying Windbound.
Learning how to manage your stamina is an essential survival skill in Windbound. The yellow bar will deplete as you exert yourself running, swimming, and performing other physical actions. You can stop and take a breather to regain stamina though pushing yourself will cause the bar to shrink. This happens naturally over time anyway, so make sure you have food rations on hand to keep this bar topped up.
Craft the Palm Bag as soon as you can. Honestly, there’s nothing more frustrating in survival games than having to leave items on the ground because you don’t have room to carry them. You will need 5 Palm Fronds and 2 Grass Rope (crafted from 4 Thick Grass) to make the bag, adding 7 additional slots to your inventory!
One of the very first things you’ll do in Windbound is build a primitive canoe. It may not look like much now, but this will evolve into your very own floating fortress. At first your only way of travelling across water is by paddling with Kara’s magical oar though you’ll soon unlock a sail (we’ll talk about sailing next). Make sure you craft boat upgrades regularly, keeping a stockpile of wood, bamboo, and sticks.
You will need to learn how to sail in Windbound. Unlike paddling, you’re not fully in control of where your vessel goes and at what speed. Windbound tries to emulate the physics of real sailing and as such we’d only recommend attaching a sail once you have a bigger boat. A single canoe will rock too much and travels slowly compared to a bigger boat with two canoes and a raft wedged between them. Wind direction is clearly indicated and can also be seen by popping open the world map. By loosening your sail you can catch the wind and let it carry you. However, there will be times when you need to travel against the wind which can be hugely frustrating. Your only option is to tighten your sail and push on or simply wait for the wind direction to change.
For many Windbound players, the first major difficulty spike will be your encounter with the Gorehorn. Defeating this beast can be daunting but it’s essential in getting the materials needed to craft tools such as the hammer or shovel. An easy solution is to scour surrounding islands for strong weapons – the Tempest Bow can make easy work of a Gorehorn. Alternatively, a sling can be used to wear down its health before sticking it several times with a spear. You can cheese these Gorehorn fights easily by making sure you’re always facing its rear, attacking then easing off to avoid being kicked.
After making the Palm Bag and killing your first Gorehorn, you should attempt to craft each of the primary tools in Windbound. The hammer, axe, and shovel won’t get much use during the first chapter but they’re good to have on-hand, allowing you to gather some rare resources early on in the game.
At times you may get lost in Windbound wondering where to go next. Your primary objective in each chapter is to activate a handful of lighthouses, thereby opening a path to the next stage. Finding them isn’t always easy, so here’s a useful tip. Once activated, don’t descend from your first lighthouse: instead, look across the horizon for streaks of yellow light, making a mental note of where they are. This could save you some valuable time.
Scouting the entire map isn’t always a great idea. The time it takes to cover all four corners means that you’ll be eating into your stamina and food reserves. However, there’s some risk/reward here as you will stumble upon tiny island which usually have shrines that can permanently increase your health or stamina. These hard to reach places are also where you’ll find some rare weapons and gear as well as plenty of Sea Shards.
Speaking of Sea Shards, you might be curious as to what they actually do. These ancient artefacts are a foumd throughout Windbound and can be cashed in between chapters to unlock Blessings – giving you bonuses and powerful tools to take with you on your journey. Don’t be tempted to spend your shards right away. If the Blessings on offer don’t suit your needs/playstyle then wait for the next random selection.