A Paladin’s Review: A Valley Without Wind. It’s a Unique Experiment into 2D Open World Procedural Generation and I Like It.Read the Full Review on A Paladin Without A CrusadeOverall Gameplay Thoughts
A Valley Without Wind. AVWW is a 2-D, side-scrolling, procedural open-world, action adventure game with elements of metroidvania, roguelikes, crafting and strategy all mixed into one game. It puts an emphasis on exploring, tactical combat, and strategic planning. This is a very experimental game and has some wonky mechanics and a weird graphic style that can be polarizing for many. That said, it was well polished and can be fun to play. Especially with it’s procedurally generated world that adapts to the player’s actions and power level.
The overall goal in AVWW is to create a valley without wind by bringing peace to the world. The continent you're living on is ruled by an oppressive Overlord and his lieutenants who subjugate the world. To make matters worse, there are harsh windstorms, many strange monsters that roam the lands, Skelebots from a future time, raging oceans and many more dangers in the land. How you bring peace to a tumultuous land such as this is entirely up to you. That, is the point of A Valley Without Wind.2D Combat Thoughts
When you enter the game of AVWW you choose from a variety of humanoids to be a glyphbearer, a chosen one
. Glyphbearers have a glyph that follows them around, allowing them to wield magic from the various elements of nature. These Glyphbearers are assigned by the enigmatic Illari, who are giant floating crystals, to bring peace to Environ. Environ is the world around you, shattered by an unknown apocalypse. The world has forever been changed and contains lands of many different time eras all crammed together in one place. The moon itself has also suffered from the apocalypse, the damage to it is easily seen in the night sky. Once you make it through the intro-mission, you'll find yourself in a small settlement with NPCs and a floating Illari. They protect your settlement's small population & buildings as well as heal your wounds when needed. With you, their hopes and goals lie.
As a glyphbearer, you have the forces of nature at your command: fire, water, earth, air, light, and entropy. These magic spells fill your arsenal of weapons to damage, protect or heal. Your spells cost mana to cast, though your mana pool regenerates quickly. You can be several different kinds of glyphbearers from different time eras including Skelebots. Different characters in the game comes with their own uniquely generated stats. Though you wield a powerful arsenal at your command, you’re very likely to die quite often in the game. Which is intentional with the game’s perma-death system. It isn’t the end of the game when you die, as your items and spells will transfer over to the new character. The only thing that doesn't transfer over are your base/upgraded stats from upgrade stones that you can find while exploring. It should also be noted that dying also causes you to leave behind a vengeful ghost that will attack you later. Which you can kill ghosts, but they can possibly throw a wrench into your plans. Especially if you died in a boss room. So, you’ll want to avoid dying as much as you can. Saving, by the way, is done automatically in the background. That means "scum-saving" is an unavailable tactic in progressing through AVWW. The world of Environ is a harsh and unforgiving place in more than one way.Why Explore?
Exploration is one of the main features of this game and this is the first game where I didn't question why I was exploring. I simply wanted to. I could and have spent an insane amount of time exploring the depths of Environ. Finding all sorts of goodies, new places to see and monsters to fight. The exploration is so good that it might be a little too too much for its own good. You'll feel the need to explore each and every building or cavern that exists. But the game was designed for you to explore only necessary buildings and you could potentially burn out from exploring everything. That's where the encyclopedia comes in to help point you in the right direction. The encyclopedia is heavily detailed with a glossary of terms, useful tips and a to-do list to keep you on track. Side Scrolling Combat
Combat is the second staple of the game. The combat is surprisingly engaging. Being a side-scroller means a lot of dodging enemy attacks while simultaneously throwing spells back at them. All of your spells are instantaneously cast, giving combat a frantic and fast tempo. Especially considering there are few ways to protect or heal yourself. There aren’t any traditional potions in the game. So, you're encouraged to defeat the enemy as quickly as possible while avoiding damage. The assortment of enemies won't make this easy though as they cast their own spells and touching them causes you to be knocked back, taking damage. Add in fall-damage, a lot of hostile mobs and surviving can be very rather difficult. But if you die, it’s not so bad. So long as you don’t mind facing the ghost(s) of mistakes past that rise to make sure you don’t die too much in the future. The permadeath mechanic in this game is properly balanced in my opinion. PC Settings and Graphics
Settings for AVWW1 are pretty much feature complete for a 2D title. Multiple resolution options, V-Sync, controller support, audio sliders and options to turn down the intensity of the graphics are here. Key rebinding is here as well and is quite in-depth. The graphics and animations are a major polarizing feature of this game. Some like them, other’s don’t. I personally liked them but I'm definitely an odd one. The up to eight people Multiplayer is ok but I found that most would go off on their own and do their own thing It doesn't really encourage being on the same screen. Final Thoughts
A Valley Without Wind (1) was a fun experience. However, fun in an experimental idea sense. This won’t appeal to everyone between its odd collection of game mechanics and it’s polarizing graphics. In my opinion though, its open-ended gameplay makes for a very rewarding exploration and city-building experience. Even if the combat is a bit lacking sometimes. The exploration is very satisfying, allowing you to explore huge levels. It goes on and on and is well paced to keep your interest going. If you like weird metroidvania experimental games, then you should definitely give A Valley Without Wind a chance to win you over. Read the Notes on This Updated Review
Read the Full Review on A Paladin Without A Crusade
A Paladin's Review: A Valley Without Wind 2