Review: Welkin Road
Ahh, shucks, Mirror’s Edge got delayed again. What are we going to do now? Well, we could check out Early Access parkour title Welkin Road.
I apologize to the devs of Welkin Road for starting off my review by comparing their game to another first-person parkour action title, but I figure right off the bat it’s a good selling point. See, there really aren’t enough first-person platforming games like Mirror’s Edge, so it’s always good to see more of them. One could argue that’s because first-person platforming is wonky and feels weird, but when it’s done right it’s a marvel. Welkin Road is definitely first-person parkour done right.
Welkin Road’s main challenge is getting through big, floating levels with a mix of running, jumping, wallrunning and swinging on floating orbs. The game keeps things fresh by adding new mechanics, such as temporary use orbs and grapple-ready walls, and the levels are really sizeable, so there are lots of little challenges in each one. Mechanically, the jumping and running feel really smooth and solid, and the motion doesn’t really have any clunkiness. I found myself returning to the game to experience it again. My one gripe would have to be the wallrunning. Wallrunning was kind of irritating for me, as there was this whole technique to it, and it wasn’t as intuitive as it could be. Conversely, the grappling physics were on point.
Welkin Road is definitely first-person parkour done right.
Speaking of smoothness, the game runs perfectly on PC, with no visible fps drops, so you won’t have any of your parkour action interrupted by stutters and lag. The game gives you tutorials and checkpoints generously, so you’ll always have a helping hand, and before long you’ll work out the game’s logic. The game has lots of content to begin with, but speedrunners will have their work cut out for them as they try and shave precious seconds off their times to get the coveted leaderboard spots.
The word ‘minimalist’ gets thrown around a lot, but Welkin Road definitely earns it. Levels consist of brightly colored structures floating in a vast, empty sky. While the visuals are simple, it looks clean and well-designed. I didn’t just want to jump back into the game for the smooth parkour action; I also wanted the calm, serene feeling of running between bright red blocks and swinging through an empty sky. The game doesn’t have music, and it kind of works to its advantage in that everything just feels that much more relaxed.
Welkin Road was reviewed using a PC downloadable code of the game provided by Gregor Panic. The PC version was tested on a PC running Windows 7 Pro, with a 4GB NVIDIA Geforce GTX 970 fitted on a 4th Generation Intel i7 4790 3.6Ghz CPU and topped with 8GB of RAM. We don’t discuss review scores with publishers or developers prior to the review being published.
• Smooth parkour movements
• Optimized PC performance
• Smart use of colors to indicate cues
• Wallrunning could be wonky
• Grappling needs too much precision
• Levels can be confusing in terms of where to go next