Early Access: Welkin Road

sees what this puzzle platformer has to offer

Welkin Road (4) Spiderman crossed with mirrors edge, sounds like the perfect combination. And yet somehow I found it lacking. Welkin Road is perfectly capable mechanically speaking. You have a run, a jump, a crouch and two laser grapple on each hand which can be used on the floating orbs around the level. What makes it more interesting is the short cool down on each laser which prevent you from constantly using them.  It is very clear that a skilled player (which I am not) will be able to do some pretty cool things.

My issue I think is that I find it so very dull. The levels are very linear with little option for exploration, (though there are some hidden secrets on each level). You’re running through a near empty skyscape containing only giant rectangular monochrome blocks. To that end a small nitpick is the realistic hands that you have contrast heavily with the rest of the game.

It is, I suppose, a simple obstacle course in a game focused on time trials. The fun comes from perfecting your skills and beating the level as fast as possible, the reward comes from shaving seconds off your run time. This however has a limited audience of which I am not a part. Even the speed running communities tend to prefer games that are not built to be finished as fast as possible.

There’s a decent number of levels that start off fairly hard and slowly get harder. Introducing nodes that disappear after a short while, harder jumps, more moving things, the usual. I also found that there was a tendency to breeze through a section of the level and then get stuck in one bit for upwards of the minutes before I managed to surpass it. Doing so would also give a sense of relief rather than a sense of elation.

Honestly there’s not too much else to say about Welkin Road. It’s so simple that it’s either going to be something you know you’ll like at first sight or it’ll bore you quickly. The game is still in early access so things still have a chance to change but a quick look on the website and such seems to show no signs of big change on its way. If you enjoyed Mirror’s Edge and time trail games such as Dustforce then it’s probably going to be your thing, and you’ll likely get hours and hours of enjoyment. If like me however you have the hand eye coordination of a one eyed snake then it’s a safe miss. It should be noted that the review key for this product was provided by the developer free of charge.

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