Passing By – A Tailwind Journey Review – Up, Up, And Away


Imagine you are happily living your life on your floating island. You’re all alone in a land with a Westerly wind constantly blowing. The only way to travel is by hot air balloon. Should you leave your home, however, you may never be able to return. You can thank the never changing direction of the wind for that.

Then imagine that a mailman crash lands on your sky island, decides he doesn’t want to be a mailman anymore, and bestows upon you his uniform, airship, and mission to deliver a letter with no address.

So begins Passing By – A Tailwind Journey from developer Studio Windsocke.

Passing By – A Tailwind Journey Is A Whimsical Adventure

You play as Curly, who, for some reason, immediately takes up the offer of becoming a mailman and leaving her home behind with possibly no chance to return. Before you leave your home, the mysterious now ex-mailman Carto gives you his uniform and letter to deliver and tells you to gather your supplies. Oh, and a gas tank for fuel. Wandering around your island home acts as a tutorial for the survival and gathering you will need to do throughout the game. Harvest fruit, refill your water bottle, and find the gas tank before returning to Carto.

Passing By airship
Image Credit: Studio Windsocke.

To use objects, you open your inventory and drag whatever you need to its correct place. For example, open your inventory to the balloon page to install the gas tank and refuel, then drag the tank into an empty slot. This page is also where you can change the design of your balloon and add decorations. It’s up to you to find cosmetics on your journey or trade for them when you find traders. Make sure to look around your home island thoroughly to find your first balloon skin.

Now it’s time for takeoff, and Carto has given you a manual on how to fly the balloon as well as what all its bells and whistles do. It will walk you through automatically, and you can refer back to it later if you need to. It’s relatively simple. To rise or fall, head to the temperature gauge on the bow of the airship and interact. Press W to raise the flame’s temperature, which will cause the ship to rise. Press S to lower the temperature and the ship. Climbing up the ladder will take you to the sail, where you can press A and D to raise or retract the sail to speed up or slow down your horizontal journey.

There’s also a telescope where you can pick islands to get a closer look at and determine if they are worth landing on. In the ship’s bowels is your bunk, where you save your game and the anchor, which you interact with to land on an island. Once you interact with it, time will slow down slightly, allowing you to pick one of the islands in range to land on.

Passing By telescope
Image Credit: Studio Windsocke.

Now, this is your life, tunning up and down between decks frantically trying to scope out if islands are worth stopping at. Or at least it was my life at first.

I soon abandoned checking the telescope for the most part. I found the controls for interacting with things a little clunky. You press E to interact, then do whatever you need to do to perform the function before pressing E again to back out. Unfortunately, you might have sailed past anything you wanted to land on by this time. Thankfully, you can at least use the telescope when you are landed to peer at surrounding islands.

Then comes the question of supplies. For the love of the maker, collect any food you see on the horizon because your energy doesn’t last long. You will destroy your food stores quickly. Pay attention to the temperature as well; hotter conditions will make you thirstier much quicker, and make sure to read food descriptions whenever you get something new. I missed that one of the foods was fiery and already in a heat danger zone. I munched it down and nearly boiled it like Arnie on the surface of Mars.

Passing By – A Tailwind Journey Feels A Little Rough Around The Edges As It Throws More Onto Your Plate

It’s not all scavenging for supplies and balloon cosmetics, though. There are also large landmark islands to encounter. Not long into the game, you will receive an air-dropped supply crate from Carto with some food and a compass. Once equipped, the compass needle will always point toward the next large island on your adventure. Perhaps you’ll make it to the last resting place of a pirate or a trader outpost, or maybe you’ll run aground on an island where a gentleman called Crusoe emphatically warns you about cannibals on the other side of the fence, then promptly gives you the key to head on into cannibal land. Cannibal Land has a Ferris Wheel, and puzzles ahoy.

Passing By broken heart island
Image Credit: Studio Windsocke.

As you journey onward, you’ll encounter more colorful characters to help, usually by solving environmental puzzles. There’s a bungling smuggler, star-crossed lovers, and a monastery full of hungry monks who worship a massive magpie. Passing By mixes platforming, survival, and puzzle-solving in a whimsical papercraft-styled world to great effect. It all fits together without feeling like elements have been shoehorned in for the sake of it.

The further you travel, the more stuff you will pick up. This is great for little hoarders like me but not so great for flying an airship, which rises and falls at different speeds depending on weight. Keep an eye on how much you carry in your inventory and what decorations you have installed. You might have to make some tough choices about throwing things away.

Wrapping Up

While occasionally suffering from clunky and finicky controls, Passing By – A Tailwind Journey is a delightful and vivid adventure through a strange world filled with even stranger characters. It’s bright, interesting, and filled with collectibles for those of us who are collectible fiends. Oh, and in what should be mandatory in games, it features a crab-based achievement. Yes, of course, I got it.

Passing By – A Tailwind Journey is out now on Steam and Nintendo Switch.



Passing By – A Tailwind Journey Review – Up, Up, And Away
It may be rough around the edges, but Passing By - A Tailwind Journey is a charming and delightful adventure worth having.
Inventive incorporation of survival mechanics into a whimsical adventure.
Fun puzzles that are challenging, but not too challenging.
Beautiful papercraft-styled visuals.
A great cast of oddball characters to encounter.
Suffers from clunky and finicky controls.
You will encounter some small island repetition on your journey.
Avatar photo

Written by Emma Oakman

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *