A Valley Without Wind Reviews

AuthorReview
uzzbuzz
75,947
uzzbuzz
TSA Score for this game: 3,719
Posted on 17 May 17 at 05:51
This review has 2 positive votes and 0 negative votes. Please log in to vote.
A Valley Without Wind [Review by Uzzbuzz]

A Valley Without Wind is an open-ended 2d action platformer game. The goal is to progress through different islands which are composed of tiles that you can travel between in a top down view, sort of like Zelda II, as entering a tile opens up a 2d area of the island. To explore every nook and cranny of every tile on even just one island would take you tens of hours, so this game is either a completionists dream or nightmare. Each island has a couple lieutenants, which act as champions for the overlord, or ‘final’ boss of the game. Final being in quotes because there is an overlord for every island, but an infinite number of islands. The game is simplistic in style, but very deep in mechanics...perhaps too deep.

Mechanics/Gameplay - A Valley Without Wind has mechanics coming out in all directions, and they all work together surprisingly well. There are many different abilities for your player to use, and you are given multiple hotbars that you can quickly switch between for optimal play, though I tended to use just one most of the time, as I had my few favorite skills on it. Skills/weapons/spells/enchants can come from buying them with ingame currency, or finding them out in the 2d world. The game has multiple different difficulties for each of the key focuses of the game: platforming, combat, and city-building. This is a fairly unique feature I have not seen before, though I have yet to notice what changing the platforming or city-building difficulty does (I hardly played with those settings however). The one thing that is the reason why I will not give this category as high a score as I would have liked is that it is confusing. It takes a fair amount of time and effort to get invested in this game, but I would say it’s worth it. Keep this in mind if you’re thinking of picking this up. One aspect I really loved was that the more you do anything in this game, the harder it gets. For example, completing the same type of mission x amount of times makes it so that some aspect changes. These aren’t changes such as enemies have more hp...they are more meaningful changes which enhance the challenge and experience. Another example is killing a certain number of bat enemies. Bats are annoying, but relatively easy to kill. However, upon killing a certain amount, all bats in the game are now fire bats and can cause fire damage on top of being generally stronger, offering a natural progression system while keeping familiarity with the world.

Combat - The combat itself is relatively straightforward. There are many, many types of enemies, from pocket rhinos, to robots, to weird dubstep octorok-like creatures. Some run along the ground, some have area effects, some fly, and some fire projectiles (akin to the spells you may have). Spells you can use vary even more: there are leaf whips, boulders, two-directional shots, water streams, and even a punching attack that propels you so it is useful to use as an extra jump. That barely even begins to cover it, and you will have to discover the rest on your own and find a favorite set. Oh, and you can turn into a bat.

Platforming - Standard as well. You can sprint, jump (double or triple if you have the right enchantments), and use skills for added mobility. Also, what is really helpful are wooden platforms. You will end up finding hundreds of these and you can place them almost anywhere to help you reach higher platforms. There are also crates which serve a similar purpose but cannot be placed in air as they are affected by gravity.

Missions - Every so often in in-game days, the missions shuffle around the tiles of the island you are currently on. Walking over a tile on the overworld will tell you what type of mission it is and what the rewards are, which are often spells, but can sometimes be buildings you can place on the island which tie into the city-building aspect of the game. Missions vary from lava escapes, where you must reach the exit before the lava rises high enough to trap and kill you, to ones where you defend buildings from a meteor storm (have fun with those ones later on). There are even missions where you’re in a room and must defeat all the enemies that don’t belong in the area that you’re in, and killing ones that belong spawns more. The variety is amazing, but I would stick to doing the freefall missions if you want quick items and achievement progress.

City-building - As I mentioned earlier, missions can give buildings which you can place on a tile in order to give you some bonus stats for the island that you are on, which will benefit you when going up against an overlord, or even the lieutenants. You do not start with every type of building, as most of them have to be unlocked through challenges, which is not an easy feat in many cases. It is almost guaranteed having all buildings on one island will be one of the last achievements you earn.

As confusing as the interfaces of the game are, there were no bugs and once I understood how to play and how to play well, I had a good time. 8/10



Fun Factor -
The reviews say I should not really have had so much fun, but who listens to reviews right? I played this for upwards of 60 hours, a majority of which (minus the endgame farming) was played with a friend, so that is a huge bonus to enjoyment. There is just so much to do. Honestly, you can spend a couple hours just fully exploring one tile on one island (an island with over 30 tiles). Sure, it may get tedious, but I never really found it to be. I’ll admit it’s a somewhat dry game, but it is worth it if you stick around and figure it out. 7.5/10

Graphics/Animation - What is going on here! Some of the backdrops are extremely weird and do not match, however some fit in well. It has a look as if multiple artists all worked on assets separately and just handed them in without consulting each other at all regarding the art direction of the game. The backdrops are mostly just tiles with patterns on indoor areas, and a simple hilly parallax for the outdoors. The characters for the most part look really similar and plain, except a select few civilizations of characters you can unlock (lizardmen, anyone?). Just...look at it and you’ll know what I mean. Animations are very choppy and basic, but don’t detract from the game too much, but they do not really add much either. 6/10

Music/Sound - I love the soundtrack for this game. I cannot tell you how many times I whistled the title screen music - Many, many times. The soundtrack is simple but elegant, with many retro tracks with a few synths, and some more reminiscent of a full band. What every song does not fail to deliver, is the feeling and passion for adventure. Every song makes you feel like it fits the game perfectly, and that you just want to go and explore the world and fight creatures to see what you can find. I highly recommend this soundtrack. As for sound effects, I would say they fit in nicely. You do not really notice that they are there, which tends to be what happens. You would notice if they were bad. 8/10

Replayability - A Valley Without Wind is chock full of replayability. Defeating the overlord once is only the beginning of your journey. If you even want a chance at getting the legendary enchantments, you are going to have to fight at least 5 overlords on one file, meaning completing 5 islands. Note that you can only travel to old islands once you complete them, so if, for example, you complete island 8 and go to island 9; you will not be able to leave the 9th island until you beat the overlord, but if you beat it and go back to the 4th one, you are free to leave it at any point. The achievements in this are actually a good direction to take when deciding on objectives to do next in game. Aside from the achievements, there are in game challenges that will help you to unlock different kinds of missions, enemies, spells, and buildings. It is easy to spend hours on this game at once (as I said, even in just one small area), and I’m sure many have spent over a hundred in total. 7.5/10

Level Design - It is really tricky to judge this category, as the world is procedurally generated, but with specific buildings having a selection of layouts and textures to use. This creates an illusion of something new happening, when you’re really just getting more of the same. For gameplay, this is okay, but it does get a bit stale after a while. You will not really notice it though unless you play for a fair few hours or explore really intently on every tile. 4.5/10

Achievements - The achievement variety in this game is excellent and covers all of the aspects of the game. First off, you have the standard ones for killing certain types and amounts of enemies (regular, mini-bosses, lieutenants, overlords), as well as a few for dying a certain number of times.

Just a note that it does say be present at ______ for a majority of the achievements. So, if you are playing with a friend and stay in the same area, their kills will count towards your achievements, and vice versa. Same goes for if you complete a mission together.

The next achievements are for crafting spellgems, which is simple enough and something you can do in any town. There are also achievements for completing certain amounts of each type of mission, and there are over 10 types of missions. There are three achievements for building up an island with settlements, which requires unlocking all 30 building types and placing them on an island. You will need to beat some challenges in order to unlock the challenges that give some of the buildings required.

Finally there are achievements for farming. You will almost guaranteed get these last if you’re crazy enough to stick around for long enough. The first few ones are fairly easy, as you’ll find rare and epic enchants often enough later on. It is the achievements for the legendary enchants which will drive you a bit mad if you aren’t already. Expect to farm for over 6 hours sometimes for even just one of these. Luckily you can wear enchants that make it so only enchants for a certain body part will drop, making it so you do not have the chance of getting any legendary enchant all the time. The only problem with this is that the elemental power enchants is a large category, so you may end up getting several of legendaries you already have before getting the one you want. Good luck! 7/10

Pros:
+ Tons of replayability
+ Deep mechanics
+ Great soundtrack
+ Huge mechanical variety

Cons:
- Difficult to get into
- Graphically bland
- Stale level design

Overall Score: 6.9/10
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