On The Wings Worth It 1

There are suspiciously few games set in open worlds and based around dragon-riding. It seems like a concept that would be done to death, doesn’t it? But On the Wings – Birth of a Hero attempts just that. Made by a very small indie developer, the game entered Early Access about a month back and boasts 24 missions and eight dragons to ride. It’ll stay in Early Access until roughly mid-2023, so there’s still a ways to go. As development proceeds, players will be able to tackle new missions with more dragons, more enemy types, and general improvements. But the question stands: is On the Wings worth it in Early Access?

Upon starting On the Wings, you can choose between a male and female hero to play as. Afterward, your character treats you to a monologue that offers exposition. One thing you’ll notice immediately is that the text is frequently grammatically incorrect to an often hilarious effect. The monologue’s second paragraph specifies that the main character’s father died, then states that their father left the village to chase someone named Dark Rider, and nobody knows what became of them. So, the father isn’t dead? We’re off to a great start.

 

Once you’re dropped into the game itself, the glorious jank is on full display. The graphics are bland, low in detail, and the performance is atrocious. I’m playing On the Wings using an RTX 3090, and the framerate often drops to the 20s. But, if you don’t mind some jank, the presentation is quite amusing. Regardless, it’s hard to fault the game too much considering the scope of what is being attempted here. Personally, I appreciate janky games and found things to enjoy here.

On The Wings Worth It 2

Fly me to the moon

One thing that I absolutely can’t fault On the Wings for is that it has no intention of wasting anybody’s time. Within just a few minutes, you’re sent off into the forest to collect wood. Hitting trees with your ax does nothing, so you just follow a marker until you find a dragon trapped under a broken tree. The wood is thankfully light enough to move with your bare hands. Huh. The dragon immediately lets you mount it. Minutes later, pirate ships show up near your village, and it’s up to you and your dragon to burninate them. Flying with the dragon is extremely simple but functional enough.

The controls need work, though. Turning feels weird, as does movement in general. To fight the pirate ships, you have to awkwardly strafe around them while being careful because if you turn too steeply, your dragon will stop completely. You primarily attack by breathing fire, which surprisingly takes multiple passes against the wooden ships. A blue meter governs how much you can use this breath attack, and you need to wait for it to regenerate once a few breaths depletes it. Your dragon also can’t take much damage. It does gain experience upon defeating enemies, which refills everything upon leveling up.On The Wings Worth It 3

But things get worse when you try to fight enemies on land. A subsequent mission has you attacking black market dragon dealers who have catapults and shoot you with arrows. It’s awkward to hit enemies on land with your fire breath, and landing will see you get decimated, so this could definitely be much better. On the Wings is obviously not a high-quality title, but it’s also currently on sale for $3.59 USD, making it a more attractive prospect. This isn’t a good game, but if you like ambitious jank, then there are definitely worse things to spend a few bucks on.

Andrew Farrell
Andrew Farrell has an extreme hearing sensitivity called hyperacusis that keeps him away from all loud noises.  Please do not throw rocks at his window.  That is rude.  He loves action and rpg games, whether they be AAA or indie.  He does not like sports games unless the sport is BASEketball. He will not respond to Journey psych-outs.

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