You choose how to play, and the world of Environ adapts around you.
User reviews: Mixed (403 reviews) - 59% of the 403 user reviews for this game are positive.
Release Date: Apr 24, 2012

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Reviews

“Every thought of "I'll just give it five more minutes" turned into, "Wait, where did that last hour go?"”
Kotaku

About This Game

A 2D sidescroller without a linear path. An action game with tactical combat and citybuilding. An adventure game that lets you free-roam a vast, procedurally-generated world. A Valley Without Wind defies genre stereotypes. Unlike other procedurally-generated games, you also get a logical progression in difficulty, plus helpful tips and checklists to guide your travels (should you need them).
Choose for yourself how to prepare to face the vastly stronger Overlord. Complete a variety of missions to earn new spells, and/or roam the wilds to uncover secret missions and stashes of magical crafting loot. Customize your characters with unique combinations of enchants and spells that change how you move, jump, and fight. Or rescue people and bring them back to your settlement so that they can then be sent on dispatch missions; you don't have to carry the burden of your fledgling civilization alone!
You choose how to play, and the world adapts around you.

Key features:

  • Travel alone or with friends across an ever-expanding world of dangerous creatures, powerful magic, high technology, and mysteries.
  • You have choice. The world of Environ is a procedurally generated sandbox, and lets you go anywhere you see -- including right into the overlord's keep at any time. (Good luck with that.)
  • Environ is endless. When you save one continent from an overlord, a larger and more complex continent appears.
  • The game adapts to how you play: as you demonstrate your proficiency, monsters and missions upgrade accordingly. Killed 100 bats? Okay, time for... bats on fire!
  • Crazy amounts of character customization. Combine a multitude of spells, enchants, and equipment to create specialized character builds.
  • Play as a long line of brave adventurers. It's not a question of IF your character is going to die, but WHEN. Any character that dies is permanently lost, but you keep all your inventory, enchants, and general progress in the game.
  • Become a community leader. Rescue NPCs for your settlement, construct buildings for them, and improve their skill and mood -- then send them on dispatch missions to help you in return!
  • Be a clever problem-solver. Challenges have more than one solution, each with its own pros and cons. You get to figure things out rather than just jumping through a set of hoops.
  • Difficulty levels give exactly the challenge you want, from casual to hardcore on platforming, combat, and citybuilding independently.
  • All owners of Valley 1 also get the much-improved sequel absolutely free! Valley 2 is out now, and features a different style of more-focused, non-sandbox play. Both games are quite distinct from one another, but you don’t have to choose between them -- both are yours for the price of one!

System Requirements

Windows
Mac OS X
SteamOS + Linux
    • OS: Windows XP SP2 or later
    • Processor: 1.6Ghz CPU (more is recommended for multiplayer servers)
    • Memory: 2 GB RAM
    • Hard Disk Space: 2 GB RAM
    • Video Card: 800x600 or greater desktop screen resolution (1024x768 recommended) Graphics card must support 1024x1024 textures (most 32MB and up graphics cards do).
    • OS: Mac OSX Intel CPU and "Leopard" 10.5 or later.
    • Processor: 1.6Ghz CPU (more is recommended for multiplayer servers)
    • Memory: 2 GB RAM
    • Hard Disk Space: 2 GB RAM
    • Video Card: 800x600 or greater desktop screen resolution (1024x768 recommended) Graphics card must support 1024x1024 textures (most 32MB and up graphics cards do).
    • OS: Ubuntu 10.10 or later, although other unsupported distros may very well work
    • Processor: 1.6Ghz CPU (more is recommended for multiplayer servers)
    • Memory: 2 GB RAM
    • Hard Disk Space: 2 GB RAM
    • Video Card: 800x600 or greater desktop screen resolution (1024x768 recommended) Graphics card must support 1024x1024 textures (most 32MB and up graphics cards do).
Helpful customer reviews
19 of 21 people (90%) found this review helpful
34.2 hrs on record
Posted: January 26
A Valley Without Wind has always been a tantalizing prospect with noble ideas, held back by a troubled visual presentation. Having gone through multiple artistic shifts, the final product still looks hastily cobbled together, a clashing collage of color rather than a cohesive piece of art.

Truly this is a game that follows the fabled "gameplay over graphics" school of thought, given that the interactive element of A Valley Without Wind is as thoughtful and polished as the aesthetics are confused and jarring. There's a huge amount of detail and activity going on under the garish hood, and there's a lot to applaud.

A Valley Without Wind is light on story, throwing players into the aftermath of a mysterious cataclysm that has caused time to fracture and the world to become overrun with monsters. The clashing time period is something of an attempt to justify the strange art style, where ox-shaped wooden tanks and straw huts coexist with icy mountains, robot skeletons, and gleaming futuristic towers. From the player character to the monsters and buildings, nothing looks like it quite belongs, and while the narrative may have its reasons, the result is nonetheless awkward and alienating.

Perhaps even more alienating are the constant tutorial messages and menus that assail the player as soon as the game begins. From the outset, you'll be given magic spells, wooden planks to build upon the environments, and more concepts thrown together than you could reasonably remember. A Valley Without Wind tries to do an incredible amount at once, and while it looks impregnable at first, the game's ambitious concepts have been stitched together with a surprising fluidity.

Combining two-dimensional platforming with roguelike elements, crafting systems, city building and roleplaying, A Valley Without Wind is a game about acquiring power, exploring a vast, randomly generated continent, and completing missions in order to rebuild civilization. Savvy players will see quite clearly how the likes of Castlevania, Metroid, NetHack and even Minecraft have informed the game, and yet the resulting cocktail of inspiration is nowhere near as messy as it should be. There's a lot to take in at first, inflicting a first impression that betrays how simply everything works together.

From a world map, players can visit a large number of sectors separated by a grid pattern. Once entered, each sector is presented as a sidescrolling platform level consisting of surface areas, subterranean dungeons, and buildings. The surface is a simple collection of outdoor environments, littered with beasts and the aforementioned buildings which can be entered to look for loot or secret missions. Dungeons are found beneath the surface, accessed through potholes or special entrances, and they contain yet more secret missions, as well as various ores and gems to be used for crafting.

Rather than gain power through leveling up, characters raise stats by finding upgrade stones and strengthen their abilities by crafting them. Using special orbs gained through missions alongside raw materials collected in the environment, a number of spells can be created with up to five tiers of strength. Mapped to mouse keys and numerical buttons, players have a ridiculously huge arsenal at their disposal, from elemental projectiles to area-of-effect blasts and more defensive skills.

Completing five official missions will raise the continent's tier, strengthening monsters in the world while allowing for the creation of greater spells. Secret missions don't increase the tier, allowing the player to gain rewards without driving up the challenge. These missions are fairly straightforward, but tend to put a unique spin on the platforming fundamentals. Such objectives involve completing a stage without taking any damage, or clearing a tower full of powerful boss creatures.

There's a ton of missions to beat, all sorts of secrets to uncover, and a central hub town that can be improved by rescuing survivors and establishing buildings. With randomly generated levels and characters that can permanently die before leaving vengeful ghosts behind, A Valley Without Wind promises a lot of gameplay and a consistent dynamism that keeps things fresh.

Over the many, many, hours of gameplay on offer, everything essentially boils down to the same thing. You enter a level, you point and click at a humble selection of indistinguishable enemies, you pick up the loot, and repeat. With only snatches of story provided as rewards for hidden puzzle rooms, there's nothing compelling to drive the player forward outside of getting more stuff, and once the stuff has been gotten, all that's left to get even more of it by repeating the same weary tasks you did to get the last batch of increasingly obsolete stuff.

Everything in A Valley Without Wind seems to be playing for time. From the unintuitive menus, sluggish and messy inventory system, and increasing reliance on backtracking and repetition, there's a distinct feeling that things were designed specifically to waste hours upon hours in a shallow bid for longevity. Boasting so many concepts that work together so well, it is a shame that the best A Valley Without Wind can do with all its ideas is to repeat itself to the point where players will likely get bored long before they make any real progress.

Tragically, the shameless time wasting betrays what is, at the heart, a very nice little game. Mechanically, A Valley Without Wind is clever and enjoyable, boasting combat that not only requires fast reflexes but a mind for strategy. With the ability to erect blockades and quickly construct platforms, players are encouraged to choose positions wisely when fighting opponents.

The biggest problem is that every positive aspect of the game carries with it an element of self-defeat. There's a huge world to explore, but the random generation leads to fairly unexciting and predictable level designs. There's a ton of spells to find, but you'll soon find the one or two that work for you and spam them incessantly. There's a ton of objectives to meet, but meeting them means performing a handful of increasingly tedious tasks. A Valley Without Wind strains at the seams with big ideas and great intentions, it's just tragic that the delivery is ironically restricted and feels as small as the world is big.

After all is said and done, though, one thing needs to be said in Without Wind's favor -- it is solid where it counts, and it's fun while it lasts. The "lasting" is a case of your own personal patience, but until you reach that breaking point -- which will likely be long before the developer expected -- you ought to find plenty to applaud.

For those with an eye for something unique, A Valley Without Wind definitely deserves a portion of the time it demands. The fact that its contrasting tropes and bleeding genres work together so well is well worth checking out, and while the visual presentation is odd, there is at least a keen sense of humor and some gorgeous music to keep things ticking along. There's much to recommend, but only to a specific clientele, and only for so long.
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17 of 19 people (89%) found this review helpful
17.7 hrs on record
Posted: December 26, 2015
Overcomplexity.

This is the one word summary of the reason this game is bad. Do you need a longer summary?

Ambition. Miscalculation. Over shooting.

What is the problem here? There are many. Maybe you checked out the screenshots and already feel bad about the game. I am not such a guy. I spent 20 hours to understand what is going on, since as all of Arcen's games, (maybe with the exception of Bionic Dues), you really can feel the love developers spent for the game here. Go to wiki of the game, spend some minutes to see that those guys, really love what they are doing. Even though they have many games now, they still do this with an amateurish enthusiasm.

While this is a good thing since they really make unique games, when it comes to knowing their capabilities as a 2 man show company (except visuals), they horribly suck. "Overcomplexity" is a well put summary for all of their games (except Skyward Collapse and Shattered Haven).

-> AI War: A combination between 4x games, supreme commander, wave based tower defense with some implemented arching story.
-> Tidalis: A casual AND not casual puzzle game with two almost completely different submodes, billions of different block types. This is the only case where overcomplexity did not hurt.
-> last federation: A space Europa universalis but a shootem up at the same time. Wait there is more! This shootem up part is also turn based.
-> Bionic Dues: A roguelike, but not a roguelike. Something nearing 50 missions pasted after one another, not finding the time for balancing stuff properly.
-> Stars Beyond Reach (upcoming game): A full fletched 4x, AND a semi full fletched city building game.
-> Starward Rogue (upcoming game): A sci-fi Binding of Isaac merged with sidescroller space shootemup.

Do you see a pattern here? I see one. They are really ambitious about making unique games. This is not a bad thing. BUT. But there are only 2 people working on this. So there is a trade off in their games. Because of overcomplexity together with limited labor force, in all of their games tutorials are walls of texts, since no one is willing to spend some time for making one. Another point is they really spend almost no sources to represent their game world, be it animations or sounds or UI. What else, all of their games are a mass of intricate mechanics thrown one after another without spending time perfecting individual mechanics.

A Valley Without Wind mostly suffers from the last one. It tries to be a metroidvania, a city builder, a randomly generated sandbox game, a spellcrafting game, a party based RPG, a roguelike. It succeeds in some, it horribly fails in others. For example during my first continent which took me something like 15 hours to complete, NONE of my party members are good enough to not die in simplest of the missions. Although there are many spells, they are not well thought, just picking two long range damage spells with different elementals as a warranty to some resistant boss types is enough. Even though there are many many mission types, they do not feel different that much, since you can just use running and jumping together clumsily to reach the end boss, spam your best spell and done. They try to randomly generate buildngs and stuff with materials hidden, but since they are not differentiated enough you dont need every spell, and most of the ingredients you will already find doing some quests, so it really serves no purpose, other than making the world look bigger.

Another weak point is, they left too much options for the player. While they really think this is a good thing, it is not. It IS the developer's job to design a cohesive game with each part's role and weight assigned properly. They just put some difficulty sliders for each aspect of the game and leave you with the designing part. To me, that seems really lazy, not everyone wants to be a modder to play a game. And even that is doing a good job, since for some normal slider is easy, while normal slider for party is nearing impossibility. This ambition of freedom also has consequences in gameplay: There are many things you can do, most of which has not got any purpose. Occam's Razor has not been invented in this alternate timeline.

What else is bad? Story. This is also a common negative side for all of Arcen's games (except Skyward Collapse, since it is pretty straightforward). They are not good writers, and they dont believe in outsourcing. And what is worse, they really dont see when a game needs a story and when it is not. This game does not need a story. What they present is fairly weak, and not believable, and actually hurting the fun. World design also helps the feeling of mish mash, even though I know that they intentionally made the world look like a mish mash, this does not mean that I cant complain about it.

I really dont like giving a thumbs down to this game, since I know they really care about their products. They care too much actually. You can see this in their move of giving away Valley Without 2 to owners of the first game. This is also bad for them financially, since this overreaching has hurt them in the past too. In development of this game, they overdid it, and was about to go bankrupt doing so.

But here is the deal, if a developer got too ambitious and forget that they are an indie company with limited capabilities, I may also forget about that and compare their games to games with higher budgets. Sometimes, less is more, and this is a general remedy for all of Arcen's games.
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18 of 25 people (72%) found this review helpful
5 people found this review funny
1.4 hrs on record
Posted: December 19, 2015
The number of bad design decisions in this game is amazing. Every time they had a choice, they made the wrong one.
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50 of 54 people (93%) found this review helpful
32.5 hrs on record
Posted: January 20, 2014
Try the demo. It's not for everyone. I played it with my friend a long time ago, thought it was an OK game. Came back several months later taking my time playing solo, and actually getting INTO it. There's a LOT to wrap your head around, prepare to learn, you're gonna pick up a lot of things you don't know what to do with for a while, however in a lot of ways combat is no different than Terraria combat, or a platformer like that.

But the development is really good, and tutorials are really funny. The game breaks the "3'rd wall" of roleplay in really fun ways, making fun of the way we play games.

The overworld let's you build upon a settlement you already have. Almost reminds me of a Super Mario Bro's overworld map. Connect farms to your main base to feed your people. Send your people on missions. The main mission? To destroy the Overlord!! You can lower his level before facing him, by killing his Lieutennants around the regional islands, who are amidst an impenetrable slurry of WIND. There's a lot of counters to your missions, and a lot of ways to handle them.

Awesome game if you can get into it. I don't know if it's "indie game of the year" material, I have to take a lot of breaks. I think there's a lot to criticize, but I do get burning desires to play this game sometimes. It's not a crap game, and there's a lot of new things to discover that I think are pretty cool! Give it a shot if you can, and you might like it :)
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54 of 63 people (86%) found this review helpful
1.6 hrs on record
Posted: March 6, 2014
Greetings, comrades! I really, REALLY wanted to like this game. I mean, who wouldn't? A randomly generated "Metroid-vania" style game with RPG-heavy gameplay, what more could you want? Well, the answer lies below, if you dare to enter the rabbit hole.

Pros:

As I already stated, the concept is amazing, and the RPG elements are simple yet complete. Unlike most RPGs, this one gives you a very strong weapon right off the bat. Not the best, but good enough to be a constant companion throughout the game.

I found the graphics to be a refreshing change from the standard "drab-&-dull" that older Indie games are known for (not all Indie games, calm down fan-people). The world is bright and sharp, with clean angles and stunning detail.

The custom difficulty is nice, allowing you to set your own pace.

The controls, while a bit quirky, are responsive and imaginative.

Cons:

While the RPG elements are all there, there really isn't a temptation to level up. I mean, my character could "tank" all of the early bosses with ease, the only challenge being when a boss is resistant to a certain elemental-type weapon, and you have to use another element to kill it. Even then, the challenge rests not in the boss itself, but rather in finding the new element required to kill it.

While I like quick weapon progression, as it allows you to do other stuff instead of trying to get a new weapon, this game suffers from a lack of other stuff to do. The quests are the same, the enemies are the same, the graphics are the same, and the gameplay style is the same. All the same. All the same. Did I ever tell you the definition of insanity? (Heh, see what I did there? Ha ha! No? Ah, forget it.)

As I said, the world is very realistic, but the characters are not. It's almost like playing one of those old CD drive games in which the people look like cut-outs pasted onto a background. This is actually a fatal flaw, as it throws off jumping in an odd way. It makes you unsure of what is in the background, or what you can jump on. I really can't describe it, but if you play it, you should see what I mean.


I really hate to say it, but this game's lack of creativity and excess of imagination bring this game down from the heights it could have achieved. It's almost like they were so focused on the imaginative idea of the game that they forgot to flesh it out into something workable. Plenty of people like the game, and I can see why, however I just couldn't bring myself to do the same.

Thanks for reading and have an awesome day!
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