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Storm Winds

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Rating: 4.5/5 (33 votes)
Comments (26) | Views (6,054)
stormwinds.jpgJohnBNew from Hero Interactive, creator of Bubble Tanks and Light Sprites, is a unique combination of tower defense and role playing genres (with a little BowMaster Prelude thrown in for good measure) called Storm Winds. Defending the last fort against an oncoming enemy, you must purchase and place turrets on the structure and keep them in good working order. As enemy waves fly in, select a turret and start firing. It's an intruiging combination of game types that's both strategy-oriented and action-packed.

A tutorial session shows you the basics of Storm Winds before you start your first mission. It's really straightforward, though, and if you have even a little experience in strategy games you'll feel right at home. Before each wave of enemies attack you have the chance to buy many different weapon turrets and support machinery to place on the fort to the left. You can only have three at a time, but a storage box lets you temporarily retire purchased equipment for later use. Each item has a unique use and weapons have different strengths and weaknesses. For example, the machine gun turret fires at a rapid rate but its bullets do little damage. Forming a balanced mix of guns is a key to survival, but how you stock your fort is ultimately your decision (and part of the fun).

When enemies appear, click on a turret, aim, and start firing. No automatic destruction for you! Enemies range from tiny 'copters to large airships and have a number of varied attacks between them. The end result is always the same, though: they hurt you, so you have to hurt them first. Each destroyed foe earns you some experience points and cash to buy more weapons after the round is over.

Storm Winds is free, of course, but developer Hero Interactive has included a special deluxe package that adds three new items to buy (meteor gun, anyone?), new enemies, more levels, and a second boss to defeat. You can grab the extra content for $5 and it's well worth the donation, but it isn't necessary to enjoy or beat the game.

Analysis: The first thing that drew me into Storm Winds was its visual presentation. Nice, sleek images create a very clean look that simultaneously conveys a somewhat "dirty" feel of desperation defending the last fort from seemingly endless swarms of foes. Good art direction, and the music fits the atmosphere like a glove.

One point worth mentioning is the lack of sound effects. I didn't notice it until well into the game, but guns firing and enemies exploding are all completely quiet. On the one hand it feels a bit awkward to have all this action without aural feedback, and on the other it creates an interesting separation between the player and the game, turning you into the non-participating war general who can make the tough decisions without having to feel the impact on a personal level (even though you directly cause the destruction). The game gets by just fine without the added noise, so perhaps the silent treatment was the best way to go.

As the waves of enemies get stronger, so does your arsenal. Storm Winds progresses quite nicely and without any sort of hassle, creating a very pleasant experience. For a war game, that is. The inclusion of difficulty levels is a nice touch, and being able to save and return to the game at any time makes it a winner.

An excellent blending of genres, Storm Winds gives you instant gratification and plenty of reasons to come back for more.

Play Storm Winds


Bob Montgomery October 16, 2007 12:13 PM

I dunno. It really looks pretty, but I gave it about 20 minutes and there doesn't seem to be much to the actual game.

The main thing is that it suffers from the same design flaw as many other turret defense games: All the turret choices are clustered in the very beginning of the game. You have two entry-level turrets, two just-past-novice turrets, and then...nothing. You just shoot stuff with the same turrets for, what, half an hour? Until you have enough money to buy the really expensive turret.

That's the main problem, but it's dragged down by plenty of other, minor issues as well:

- The Heavy Cannon and the Flak Cannon are pretty much worthless
- The damage-boosting "buff" didn't seem to do a damn thing
- I was never in danger of dying (playing on Medium) in 20 minutes of play
- Poor level design. The small, annoying helicopters can't damage you! So their only point, really, is to help you get going in the first level and, thereafter, to get in the way when you are trying to shoot the real threats. But that isn't how they are used! They frequently show up in giant groups all by themselves, serving no purpose but making you spend 5 minutes tracking them down with your machine gun. They are never really used as they should be, as a living wall.

So, basically, you eventually settle into a rut: one machine gun, two snipers. Shoot the dangerous baddies with the snipers, then use the Machine Gun to pick up the remnants and clear out the pesky, yet harmless, mosquitos. Rinse, repeat.

It has good potential, and really does look great, but ultimately there isn't enough there.


The ads make it impossible to play. :( In the heat of battle, you inevitably end up clicking on one of the ads arranged around the edges of the game window... thus causing the window to change.


A note about difficulty: I played on Easy and reached level 15. There, you get two extra slots for weapons/buffers, and as for Bob's comment, the small enemies start shooting around that time as well.

Also, the heavy cannon is *not* useless if you've ever had any experience with Scorched Earth and its many clones. I can even use it to kill the small enemies on occasion. OTOH, the flak cannon's not as good, but I attribute that to the low numbers of enemies (most ever - maybe 6 at once?).


Yeah, I only used the flak cannon for one round, then sold it again.

Finally finished without trying the health buffer, but I had everything else when I won (apart from the flak cannon).

It would be nice to see what level something was when you rolled over it or how its stats had improved, since I only noticed the tiny "level 6" text appearing a few times.

And I agree the heavy cannon is a great help. Use the machine gun for helis, the cannon for planes and blimps, the sniper cannon whenever you can, and the electric gun when there's several big blimps or shielded copters.

All in all, very enjoyable.


Indeed, pretty but ultimately a giant yawner

Bob Montgomery October 16, 2007 3:42 PM

Also, the heavy cannon is *not* useless if you've ever had any experience with Scorched Earth and its many clones.

I didn't mean it was too hard to use, I meant it didn't serve any purpose.

And while we're on the subject, I found the hold-down-to-power-up interface pretty clunky, especially since it wasn't used consistently for all the guns.


This game got really repetative after a while but I was able to finish it. There's 25 levels and each were relatively the same, though I did play on easy. The flack cannon was definately useless. Bought it and used it from one round and that was that.

The health buffer is useful when you want to have a decoy and fire with a heavy cannon or if your machine gun is your primary it's good for keeping it alive.

The damage buffer was also helpful nearing the end of the game. It boosted the machinegun enough where one could take down red helis in two shots.

Final boss was too easy as well.

Overall the game was good, but definately has a long way to go.


Bob, I wholeheartedly agree with you on the topic of Flak. It's pathetic. After I sold mine, I started making jokes.

*That's no weapon, that's my Flak!
*A funny name and some funny aim.


What do you mean, didn't serve any purpose? Are you telling me that a machine gun makes the heavy cannon worthless or something? Around stage 10 the powered-up heavy cannon can kill most stuff with one shot; can you do that with the machine gun? Can you put your machine gun in front to take the brunt of the damage without losing it?

As for that part of the control scheme being clunky, I'm not sure what's being called clunky. If it's just the fact that you *have* to hold down a button for power, well.. there could have been a Gunbound-esque option here for dragging the power up to the right level, but other than that I'm not sure I see how this could be improved (other than removing the weapon mechanic entirely, which would defeat the purpose of asking the question). If it's the part where you can't aim down, well, that's why the positioning part is strategic. :) If it's switching between guns, well.. TBH I didn't use it either (which did make things difficult) but there *is* a way to switch with the keyboard (press 1 for top-left, 2 for middle-left, etc.).

As for the flak cannon, I reiterate that the only reason it has limited use is because the enemies cluster very rarely. If there was a living wall as Bob suggested earlier they'd have been of much greater (though still limited) use.

And I have to agree on the repetitiveness; a few different wave types as seen in some tower-defense games would have made things much more interesting.

Tau Firewarrior October 17, 2007 2:33 AM

i think the only thing that could make this better is that all the turrets fire on their own and you can send out flying units to defend also


Well, I worked my way through all 25 levels, so I suppose I liked it. I love Steampunk, and the graphics and music were satisfying. I might pay the $5, or not. Right now, I am working my way through on "hard", we shall see if I still like it at the end of that.

But it could be a better game, I think. The biggest problem is that it is just too repetitive. As someone remarked, you really spend the majority of your time playing with the machine gun. I *did* find the heavy cannon useful in close, where its reload time is less of an issue, as well as useful at the lower levels against the flying battleships

aim just below the gasbags to hit the more vulnerable area amidships

Other problems:
*the unarmed small helicopters are more annoying than anything else. They aren't a threat, and they are tedious to clean up. Once armed, because they are a threat, they become more interesting

*the big battleships really aren't that much of a threat at the easy levels. I would prefer that the individual cannon could be taken out, making the player decide between going for sinking, or reducing the ship's attacks

*after you buy two sniper guns, there is really no cost decision making to be made. There is always enough money to go around, and the lightning cannon is the only other purchase to save up for.

*as someone mentioned, it would be fun if you had your own aircraft.

*Mostly, more variety in attacks are needed to keep interest.


I bought the full version, and its pretty worthwhile for all of £2.53 over in Scotland.

The meteor gun is superb, but the other weapons are pretty standard. However, the new enemy types are quite interesting, requiring some different tactics, and the second boss is pretty tough compared to the first one.

I still wish it had some sound effects though.

Vicious Chicken October 17, 2007 2:22 PM

To everyone saying the flak cannon is worthless: Are you aware that if you hit a target BEFORE the bomb explodes, it does the damage of all six pieces combined? I was doing over 90 damage in one shot to the blimps with it, and the cooldown seems better than the sniper's.


Well, I took the chance and paid the five dollars. With that, it becomes a much more interesting game after about level 12 (when you get multiple stations). I particularly like the flame cannon because it requires more than just point and shoot.

well placed round ontop of an armoured knight will take it out immediately

. Coupled with the fire buffer, and you will find yourself cycling more between stations, trying to pick the best one for the attackers (which is the whole idea behind games like this).

Easy is too easy, but without the extra weapons, I found hard too hard after level 10 (just a boring hard, i.e. no sense that if I had played better I could have made it through).

So, overall, a good taste from the demo, but really only worth repeated playing if you feel like splurging the fiver (I skipped the morning bagel and tea at the cafe, so I felt virtuous)


If you get to lvl 15 you get 2 extra slots and I manage amazingly well with this layout

1-lighting gun 2-heavy cannon 3-sniper gun 4-flak cannon 5-machine gun

but the lightning gun has the best positonfor a lighting gun


I've found that it's better to place a machine gun as far down as you can, since it can only aim so low; if you place one higher up, the knight-looking guys can just sneak right under you.

I'd like to try the deluxe package, mainly because there was little variety in the enemies; most of the weapons have different ways of aiming and firing, but I rarely had to cycle through any of them. I could never hit those little scouty-helicopter things with the heavy cannon, though, and I gave up trying long before they got weapons.

It's fun to play a few levels at a time, for study or lunch breaks or whatever, and it works in small doses. That's why save features come in handy for these wave defense games.

MindStalker October 19, 2007 4:59 PM

Nickolay: I would put the machine gun farther back because they can't shoot behind themselves very well either.


The game has promise... But without a use for money, once I got the lightning gun, I didn't need to buy anything more. I beat the game in medium with 100k left over.

I found myself using the machine gun constantly, while waiting for other guns to cool down.

The flak gun, while somewhat useful, was nearly impossible to use effectively. With no central explosion or at least a way to explode the flak when you want to, it became a 'fire straight up' weapon for me.

And the heavy cannon I didn't even touch. Took too long to Cool down to be useful.

This game has a lot of promise, but needs some serious weapon balancing and the ability to spend money on more weapons, or even better UPGRADING your weapons manually.


My set up was

1. Machine gun 2. Heavy Cannon 3.Sniper Cannon. 4. Lightning Gun 5. Damage buffer (which nearly always gets destroyed, but better that than my lightning gun)

That saw me through the game pretty well.


This game could really use a stats screen. Not one where it says "number of enemies shot down: blah blah" but a small one that would detail each gun's current stats.

It could also use a stat upgrade screen, so you could make your turrets reload faster, power-up faster (for the heavy cannon), or add damage/health.

I ended up first using my heavy cannon, then buying another one, thinking they would both fire where I was aiming. As I soon found out, they don't, so I ended up putting one in storage, and every level switching them so I could repair one while upgrading the other. I also did this with the machine guns.

A couple of notes for each weapon type:
Heavy cannon:

  • Shooting: shoots in an arch. power of the shot depends on how long you hold down the mouse.

  • Good for: getting the back yellow weak spot on those elephant-like helicopters (in the later levels)

  • Bad for: getting the smallest guys (unless they have already come so close to you, you only have to click to kill them)

  • Damage/Health: Great damage and health

  • Pros: good all-around gun.

  • Cons: bad for shooting near vertical

  • Best Placement: Second from the top. Top-leftmost slot

  • Comments: I used this for my main gun. I put one in storage, and one in the slot, switching them between each level (so one would gain experience, and the other would be repaired).

Machine gun:

  • Shooting: Semi-good reload time, slow bullets (which causes bad accuracy)

  • Good for: those little guys, those orange shooting helicopters

  • Bad for: anything that needs a lot of damage to kill

  • Damage/Health: damage and health are horrible. Only good for killing the smaller guys and killing one-enemy waves

  • Pros: shoots fast, shoots straight (good for shooting up-close)

  • Cons: damage, health, shoots straight (bad for shooting out of it's line of sight)

  • Best Placement: bottom-left, bottom-middle

  • Comments: I bought two, one in the slot, and one in storage. Then I switched them after every level (so one would get repaired, and the other would get experience). I ended up only using one for getting rid of the small guys.

Sniping Cannon:

  • Shooting: no delay on bullets, instant kill on most enemies, reload time is okay, notification if shots miss

  • Good for: getting rid of one big enemy while your other turrets take care of the others

  • Bad for: shooting down waves of big enemies, using as a main gun

  • Damage/Health: damage is excellent, health is good

  • Pros: good for those pesky yet strong enemies.

  • Cons: can't be used as a main gun

  • Best Placement: top, bottom-left, bottom-middle

  • Comments: I put this in storage, only to sell it later

Flak Cannon:

  • Shooting: shoots in an arc, damage is excellent (if it hits the enemy before it separates into six pieces), damage is sub-par if it separates before hitting enemy

  • Good for: shooting those big guys when they're semi-close

  • Bad for: small guys (you're lucky if you hit one when it separates!)

  • Damage/Health: damage is excellent before separation, sub-par after

  • Pros: good if you have a line of enemies (like 3 zeppelins, pirate ships, or hot-air ballooners) and bullets separate, great if bullets don't separate and hit target

  • Cons: accuracy on separated bullets is horrible, can't shoot faraway enemies without separating

  • Best Placement: top-left, middle row, bottom-middle

  • Comments: I only used this for 2-3 levels before putting it in storage and eventually selling it.

Lightning Gun:

  • Shooting: huge reload times, clicking on enemy fires lighting bolt that jumps to other enemies.

  • Good for: Wiping out multiple strong enemies

  • Bad for: using as a main gun (reload time is horrible)

  • Damage/Health: Damage is excellent, health is sub-par (compared to reload time) or above average (compared to damage)

  • Pros: Wipes out multiple enemies. The higher level this is, the more enemies the lightning bolt will jump to

  • Cons: reload time is awful

  • Best Placement: top-left, whole bottom row

  • Comments: Good for getting rid of 2+ zeppelins, 2+ Pirate Ships. Can be easily reloaded when a wave of the little guys includes a black one, and you kill all but the black ones. This allows the black one to fly around, and since it can't shoot, you can wait until your lightning gun is reloaded before killing it.

Health Buffer:

  • Shooting: N/A

  • Good for: raising the max HP of all turrets (only when it is in play and isn't destroyed)

  • Bad for: using as a main gun, using as a decoy

  • Damage/Health: Health is awful for the first 3 levels. sub-par for the next levels

  • Pros: raises maximum health on all turrets in play

  • Cons: takes up space without defense, maximum health gain isn't that good

  • Best Placement: top-left, bottom-left

  • Comments: I ended up using this on two levels before putting it in storage, then selling it

Damage Buffer:

  • Shooting: N/A

  • Good for: increasing the damage all turrets give out

  • Bad for: using as a main gun, using as a decoy

  • Damage/Health: health is average for first level, above average for next two levels, and excellent on all other levels

  • Pros: damage increase is huge on heavy cannon (makes some two-hit kills into one-hit kills

  • Cons: takes up space without defense

  • Best Placement: top-left, bottom-left

  • Comments: I used this once money became available, then replaced with Health buffer (big mistake), switched back to damage buffer within two levels. I had my heavy cannon firing one third better than it was without the buffer (when the heavy cannon was on it's final level).


  • once you reach level 10-15 (not sure which one), two more slots will open up. Don't sell if you only have one slot left and you are nearing these levels, more slots will open up soon!

  • The small black guys can't do anything but fly around. If you find yourself in a wave where you have some, kill all BUT the small black helicopters, and allow your guns to reload fully. Then kill it. This allows for you to be prepared for the next big enemy, instead of having to wait for your guys to reload while fighting.

  • POSITIONING YOUR BUFFERS IS IMPORTANT! Enemies like to shoot at the furthest-right slot (once you have them all open up), then the middle one, then the bottom-middle, then the top or bottom-left. Putting your buffers on the right doesn't make much sense. They'll get destroyed easily. Put your buffers as far left as you can.

  • POSITIONING YOUR GUNS IS IMPORTANT! Your Heavy Cannon can't shoot near-vertical very well, and can't shoot the length of the screen without going halfway down (even at full power). Position your Heavy Cannon on the middle row for maximum range. Positioning your long-reload guns to the right doesn't make sense. They will get wiped out while they're defenseless (If you're careless)

  • Even if a gun is destroyed, you can still bring it back to full health without losing any of it's levels. Simply put it in storage, or repair it.

  • Having two of the same gun can reduce costs in the long run. While one is in play, put the other in storage. When the level ends, switch the two guns. This allows for you to start out with fresh guns at the beginning of each level, without spending money.


I just finished the game on easy... 25 levels. In the last 5 levels, all I was using was 3 damage buffs, a machine gun, and flak cannon.

Flak Cannon was posted in the most right position in order to get under the elephant units or to fire on the balloon things. Before, I had the heavy cannon in that position since it's pretty armored, and with 1 hit, it can destroy those elephant flying units (if you hit it under the arm where the gears are). The Flak Cannon does MAX damage when aimed at the correct spot on units. ex: did 150 damage on boss at it's most vulnerable spot.

From level 20-25ish, my machine gun was killing the red flies in one shot, 1 shot for helicopters, 2 shots for the planes, 2 shots for balloons.

I found levels 1-15 boring as hell -- flies just run around ALL GAME. I was using a combination of the Arch Cannon, Machine Gun, and Sniper/Flak Gun. By the time I got 5 turrets at level 15, I had unlimited money. I could have purchased another Arch Cannon, but it was pointless.

Overall, a fun game-- turret placement matters. damage buff doesn't seem like it's doing much, but I think in the end it helps for upgrades. Fun!

Fishsicles December 8, 2007 12:51 PM

The Heavy Cannon is really great in slot #2, and if you are good with it at high levels it is devastating. It seems that the enemies always target my buffers wherever they are, regardless of position.

It is nice to see a tower-defense type game where the number of turrets is limited and the turrets are so different that the placement is vital to success.


level 23 is the most pointless level ever All there is is a bunch of the helecopters


this game is hard

Millenium_King August 9, 2009 11:54 PM

Played it through. Lots of fun, but got boring in some areas. Reading through the comments here, what cracks me up is how most people say: "only gun X is good." - yet everyone gives a different answer! Doesn't that mean the game is doing something right?

Here's what I found:

Heavy Cannon = great. With lots of power ups it will deal over 100 damage with one shot.

Minigun = Best Weapon. Blows anything but shield-ships up. Fully powered, it will shred juggernauts in seconds.

Best Load-out: 4 Damage Buffers with all points put into increasing damage. 1 Minigun with all points put into increasing damage. At the end of the game I was dealing 18 points damage PER SHOT and could kill ANYTHING ridiculously fast.

R-tard May 3, 2011 7:46 AM

I love using the machine gun with the damage buffer. This would seem quite useless at first, but if you survive long enough to get to upgrade bullet damage. When this damage is then buffed, your once puny machine gun will be able to take down any enemy, each pellet dealing more and more damage as you upgrade the gun and the buffer.

Patience is what it takes.


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