A Paladin’s Updated Steam Reviews: A Valley Without Wind 1 & 2. Experimental 2D Platformers With Expansive Worlds Worth Giving a Shot.

A Valley Without Wind 1 & 2 Reviews Updated

A Valley Without Wind 1 & 2 Reviews Updated

A Valley Without Wind 1 & 2 Reviews and Steam Reviews Are Now Updated.

About time I got around to updating these reviews. A lot of the writing is still old but I did some pretty major tweaks, spell checking and grammar fixing. It’s less bad now. Hopefully. A Valley Without Wind 2 got a lot of attention as all of the pictures were missing. A Valley Without Wind got the most attention. I had to fix a lot of problems I couldn’t ignore with grammar, double spacing between sentences and trying to make it readable. Still, I find this fun to do. Just a general reminder that this is the last time I will update these games. Even if my review style substantially changes in the future.

AVWW1 really shaped what would become my current writing style. A lot of the time spent on that review was figuring out how I wanted to structure the review and how I was going to talk about it. It’s not perfect but I think it was an important step in reviewing these large games like The Witcher 2, the STALKER series and such. It’s nice to see where I’ve come from too.

Read and Rate the Steam Version of A Valley Without Wind (1).

Read and rate the Steam Version of the Sequel.

A Paladin’s Review: A Valley Without Wind. It’s a Unique Experiment into 2D Open World Procedural Generation and I Like It.

  • Genre: 2D Action Sidescroller and City Builder.
  • Developed and Published by: Arcen Games
  • Platform: Windows, Mac OSX and Linux.
  • Business Model: Dual Pack Purchase
  • Free Press Copy Was Supplied

Read the Full Review On My Blog Here

Overall 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.

A Paladin’s Review: A Valley Without Wind 2. Less Open World But With A Better Focus On Strategy and Sidescrolling Combat

  • Genre: 2D Action Platformer and Turn Based Strategy Game.
  • Developed and Published by: Arcen Games
  • Platform: Windows, Mac OSX and Linux.
  • Business Model: Dual Pack Purchase
  • Free Press Copy Was Supplied

Read the Full Review On My Blog Here.

What Is This Game?
AVWW2 is a blending of strategy and platforming genres into one 2D game experience. The gameplay alternates between two different modes: turn-based strategy and side-scrolling platforming action. Your basic goal is to ensure that your Resistance survives long enough for you to gain enough power to defeat Demonaica. In order to do so, you’ll need to level up in power, acquire higher level mage classes, find feats that give you special abilities and customize your character with perks. There are different mage classes which change the type of spells you can use. Everything from water to decay-based abilities. Feats allow you to gain special abilities necessary to progress through the game. Perks are items that let you fine-tune your character.

Overall Gameplay Thoughts
A Valley Without Wind 2 is a well polished sequel that takes some of the ideas of the previous game and polishes them up. The combat is more engaging with its variety of spells, different classes and different monsters. It’s not the same game AVWW1 was and that’s for better or for worse depending on your point of view. It’s not the same open-world game like its predecessor. Instead, it focuses on a direct evil threat that you get to know throughout the course of the game. The linear nature of the side-scrolling areas and the combat do eventually become more frustrating later on as the challenge really starts to spike at the end to the point of unfairness.

Sidescroller Combat Musings
The combat is definitely more engaging and rewarding than the original game. You only have four spells you can use and I think they worked. You have a fast primary attack, a slower but stronger secondary attack, a special attack which varies depending on your class and ammo spells which are more powerful spells that you can only use in limited amounts. For the most part, the spells felt balanced to their own strengths although some were a little too situational for my tastes. The combat system is about you finding the ideal place to throw your spells while dodging the spells being thrown at you. Taken as a whole, the side-scrolling element is nicely designed. I had a lot of fun with it until the mid-late to late end of the main campaign.

That’s when I begin to notice a few problems with the combat. I was starting to die a lot more. Sure, the combat should be more challenging towards the later end of the game, but it felt like a constant battle of attrition. I would simply run out of health before I could get to the end of the level from all the little cuts of damage I would take. It got too frustrating at times. The floaty nature of the jumping and the large hitbox of your character feels at odd with the bullet-hell and precision that the game demands. You have so many spells being cast at you and traps to avoid that it’s nearly impossible to avoid taking a lot of damage in the course of the level. Taking on the tougher monsters becomes a bad idea as you’ll likely take a ton of damage for very little reward. Your better off just avoiding them altogether. Combine that with the difficulty of regenerating health and you can end up dying a lot.

The Strategy Gameplay
This was definitely the highlight of the game for me. The strategy element of the game is fairly simple and straightforward, once you figure it out. As I’ve mentioned before, the main goal is to keep the members of the Resistance alive long enough for your mage to grow strong enough to overthrow Demonaica. You have to salvage food and scrap, constantly recruit new members, destroy obstacles and capture/construct new buildings. Moving your resistance members around, planning out how to tackle new areas of the map all while dodging Demonaica and his forces really worked well and I had a blast with it.

PC Settings and Controls
AVWW2 comes with all of the PC settings you’ll want/need and I can’t think of anything missing. It’s built on the same engine that all Arcen Games have been. You can adjust the resolution, rebind all the keys and a lot of other settings you might find interesting. It also supports modding via texture packs which you can find in Arcen’s forums. As for the controls, well, that’s a bit complicated.

AVWW2’s design was focused for controller and keyboard only. While it does allow for mouse aiming in the game, I don’t recommend using it. It was put in after the game was released due to a lot of complaints made about the lack of mouse control. I personally don’t agree with their decision to put it in the game but I can understand why since they did. Keyboard works but it’s not as enjoyable to use as the controller.

Final Thoughts
A Valley Without Wind 2 is a different kind of platforming/strategy experience. Unlike it’s open-world predecessor with city-building & light strategy elements, AVWW2 is a more laser focused, linear side-scrolling/strategy game. It does remove a lot of the open-world aspects that the original had. However, I think it works out for the better. You should treat both AVWW1 & AVWW2 as unique games sharing the same universe. Also, keep in mind that while the game is worth experiencing, there are some aspects that may turn you away due to its more experimental nature.

Thanks for reading!



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