Review: A Valley Without Wind

Review: A Valley Without Wind

A Valley Without Wind is one of those titles which comes along and completely catches people by surprise. Both in its gameplay and the fact that it’s flying under many people’s radars. Smooth Town hopes to fix that but if you are genuinely looking for a new game to pick up and lose hours in that isn’t Skyrim or Diablo, then do yourself a favor and head on over to Arcen Games’ official site. It is a worthwhile purchase.

This title easily stands apart from most other games because of how deep and fulfilling it can get. A Valley Without Wind is a 2D action-adventure game with an emphasis on exploration. You, or with friends, explore a few caves or abandoned buildings and the like, you loot them of useful items, you fight a few bosses and then you move on. At the same time, it gets way more consequential than that. Each continent that you create is different for each play-through. No two players will have the same experience going through this game. Even better is that the world is procedurally-generated which is fancy talk for a world completely unique to your own actions. Want to kill some settlers? Have at it. Would you rather recruit them instead? Knock yourself out. The world will react accordingly. Leveling-up provides a challenge in that enemies will level up right with you meaning that the game will never become “too easy” for a player. There will always be an incentive to keep playing (although having a limitless game does help). There is spell-crafting, spell-casting, upgrade system, enchantments, settlement upgrades and a ton more. There really isn’t a lack of features to toy around with effectively extending the replayability of A Valley Without Wind.

Now, story-wise this game does a fairly good job at providing some kind of backbone to all of this gaming goodness. You are a glyphbearer on the world of Environ chosen to basically free the world from evil Overlords so that life can become peaceful once again. Is that good enough for you? Perhaps not for most people but the game does well in exploring the lore such as NPCs sharing their thoughts on what has happened to Environ. It might have done some good to have some sort of definitive storyline to provide a beginning and end or just a bit more clarification on why things happen within the beginning moments of the game. Personally, it was tough not thinking about why exactly I’m running around and finding materials within the beginning moments of the game. The music teeters on average to above average as it doesn’t quite reach the exceptionally great levels of some of the best thematic experiences within the past ten years, but it is well enough to give you something to listen to while you explore these continents. Graphically, it’s an indie game. Leave all “Battlefield or Crysis-esque” expectations at the door because this title did not choose to go down the jaw-dropping visual route. What it does have, however, is passable although some of the enlarged enemies really expose some of the stiff animations prevalent throughout the game.

A Valley Without Wind delivers a very addicting experience which is sure to capture the gaming industry by surprise. It might not be perfect, but it sure as hell belongs on some of the best titles to be released this year on PC, consoles or anywhere. It’s just that good. The game is still in early beta although until Monday (April 23rd) so grab it now while you still can at around $10. Afterwards, it will launch on Steam and other online retailers for around $15.

+ This game provides an incredibly deep and addicting gameplay
+ Online multiplayer works well enough to warrant continous use
+ The world reacts astoundingly well to your actions
– The music, graphics and other hiccups bring the overall game down
– Improvements to welcoming new players could prove very useful

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