A Valley Without Wind Review: A Valley Without Drive

But the random generation of the environments means you’re not always rewarded for your exploration, and these environments often look very similar and get very repetitive. Navigating in any given level is really tough, despite the various maps you have at your disposal. Finding your way back to a room once you’ve left it is always a struggle. And the random generation doesn’t help the platforming, which isn’t really all that engaging as much as utilitarian. You generally carry around a big pile of place-almost-anywhere wood platforms of your own anyway, which means you’re never challenged by the platforming; it’s just a way to get around.

Combat plays out in a similarly utilitarian way. Most enemies either rush you head-on, or whip the equivalent of fireballs your way. The fireballs might bounce around in different ways in the level, but the effect is usually the same. A Valley Without Wind suggests you pay attention to tactics, using your platforming capabilities to stay above enemies, but generally you just click spells at things until they’re dead. It’s not bad except that it becomes extremely repetitive, with the same dull enemies popping up in encounters over and over again.

For as much as there is to do and see in A Valley Without Wind, the entire game is an incredible grind. Everything is huge, everything takes forever, everything is a pain to navigate. Warp gates help mitigate the issue some, but not nearly enough, and it’s unfortunate that a game with a number of good ideas can’t keep you engaged for very long. The fundamental reward for time input is lacking: the game’s feedback loop isn’t a very good one. You put in clicking and time, and the proportional fun you derive from the game doesn’t really balance the scales.

The trouble is that there’s a huge world to discover, but really not a lot of reason to discover it. Combat is basically the same rotation of working spells and a lot of jumping over fireballs or standing above the action on your deployable platforms. Dungeons stretch on for way too long and the loot you pull from them never really seems like enough for all the effort. A Valley Without Wind will stretch on for hours and you’ll suddenly find yourself having wandered through cave after cave, but with little to show for it. Eventually, even with all there is to do, it starts to run together and get boring.

Depending on your tolerance for grinding, A Valley Without Wind can be very cool. There are a number of cool systems and there’s tons of ability to explore the world that’s uniquely your own. You can even bring a friend into co-op. But unfortunately, A Valley Without Wind fails to maintain interest. There’s a whole lot of stuff to do, but none of it is especially fun to repeat. There’s just no reason to keep grinding through the game, and grinding is the vast majority of what you’ll be doing.

Pros:

  • Lots to do
  • Randomly generated world means every playthrough is different
  • Customization and crafting are big parts of the game
  • You’ll never run out of stuff to explore
  • Co-op can be a nice touch

Cons:

  • For all the stuff you can do, mostly what you’ll be doing is grinding
  • Core gameplay just isn’t that much fun for the time investment
  • Combat gets pretty simplistic; platforming is never really challenging
  • Procedural generation doesn’t really help the game that much
  • Maps are pretty much useless
  • Finding your co-op partner can be really difficult
  • So much stuff, it’s actually kind of daunting
  • Final Score: 65/100


    Follow Hornshaw and Game Front on Twitter: @philhornshaw and @gamefrontcom

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