A Valley Without Wind

Platform

zScore

82%

A Valley Without Wind

Developer:Arcen Games Genre:Adventure Release Date: Download Games Free Now!

About The Game

Set in a post-ice-age world in the distant future, A Valley Without Wind is a procedurally-generated action-adventure game that focuses on survival and exploration. As a random survivor of this harsh world, you decide what impact to make on it. In fact, nearly anything you do will shape your world in some way. Span regions, even continents if you desire. Form settlements and build shelters for safer travel. Map your world, and face its many dangers. Being procedurally-generated, the world is unique for each individual player and it literally goes on forever. No two worlds are the same, and your world permanently forms only as you discover it. Explore, scavenge, craft, cast (yup, there's magic), and fend off foes in a variety of ways. Better your world by aiding other survivors and gaining their help. Or don't, kill everyone in sight and deal with the consequences. It's all up to you.

While death for your characters is permanent, weapons, loot, levels and anything else you've earned while playing will always exist. If one character dies, the player simply assumes a new survivor and the world continues on from there. Not as if nothing happened, though. Those who came in contact with the now-deceased will eventually catch word of their passing, and may share feelings on the departed, for better or worse. Current characters can even pay their respects by visiting the player's own personal graveyard which will contain each and every deceased character played.

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A Valley Without Wind

A Valley Without Wind Review

By Bret Ziesmer |

As someone who cut his gaming teeth on 2D platformers like Manic Miner and Adventure Island in the 1980s, I was looking forward to losing myself in A Valley Without Wind. On paper, at least, there's a lot to love here. Nostalgia-laden platformer mechanics rub shoulders with "procedurally generated worlds" in Arcen Games' new creation, and a dizzying array of craftable spells trade nervous glances with playable characters that permanently die. It's a fantastic concept that screams of the flashes of indie genius we've come to enjoy in recent years, but in execution it plays like a rough draft that's unable to wiggle out from under the weight of its own ambition.

There's not much of a story in A Valley Without Wind aside from a block of text that boasts a variation of the usual post-apocalyptic babble, partly because each game begins with a randomly generated world in the spirit of Minecraft and Terraria. That might be nice for players wishing to experience new and unfamiliar landscapes with each playthrough, but it also means that the almost nonexistent narrative limits itself to vague references to evil overlords out of necessity. As a "glyphbearer," it's your job to scrounge around the shattered husk of the world for resources and the occasional survivor to build up settlements, and once you've finally done all that and beaten the bad guy, you do it all again on another continent. Let's admit it: when the world around you is called "Environ," story's probably not going to be a major selling point.



Instead, much of the game's charm rests on its retro visuals and audio. A Valley Without Wind looks so "Metroidvania" that you could probably swap the randomly generated avatars you choose from after each death with Simon Belmont's original model and no one would be the wiser, and most levels feature music that sounds like it came from discarded drafts for the score to Mega Man 2. In fact, the eclectic art style comes off as an homage to those golden years of platforming, with building entrances that perform like those in Zelda II: The Adventure of Link to blocky interiors that look like they were borrowed from the castle levels in Super Mario Bros.

At times, though, it's frankly jarring. Part of Valley's block of story states that a cataclysm shuffled eras of time so they exist at once in the same world, but when you jump from futuristic villages with decent textures into simplistic dungeons that look like they were transposed from 1985's Gauntlet, you could be forgiven for thinking they meant eras of video game history as well. At the very least, it makes for ugly settings; at the worst, some of the enemies almost disappear into the shoddier backgrounds.

That might have been a problem if so many of these baddies didn't look the same. There are plenty of bats and the occasional rhino lurking about Environ, but most of the time you'll be fighting goons like slender robots or floating blobs of liquid. I'm not saying floating spheres can't be scary (cue: "That's no moon!"), but when one hovers toward you with a name like "Oldsto the Warlock," it's worth wondering if some dude with a skull-capped staff and a demon sidekick wouldn't have done a better job. They're not even all that challenging once you learn a few tricks. Since one of your key abilities lets you place wooden platforms anywhere at will, you can just make one above you and fire down on the robots below. As for blobs like Oldsto? Just keep moving, avoid their ranged spells, and blast them with ranged skills of your own while you bounce around.

The good news is that you have plenty of things to blast them with. One of the big selling points of Valley is that it allows for a ridiculous number of spells. You can throw rocks if that's your thing, or you can fling fireballs and shoot lightning bolts. That's exciting in theory, but in practice you'll likely only use about three good ones most of the time and switch out when you find enemies with immunities to certain spells. At times, enemies that weren't immune before become immune for the rest of the game. Kill enough bats, for example, and all future bats become flame-immune "fire bats," which means that calling down a meteor shower on them has all the effect of using a feather to stop a freight train. If you find that you don't have the spell you need, you're expected to retreat and explore levels for rare materials that can be used to make new spells.


That exploration lies at the heart of A Valley Without Wind, and it's where you'll find the most fun--that is, if mining nodes for hours on end without much knowledge of where the right ones are sounds exciting. Unfortunately, these subterranean expeditions also showcase the shortcomings of marrying platformer gameplay with randomly generated levels. Platformers work best when there's a grand design behind them, and Valley's rambling open spaces and hodgepodge of caverns never reach the glory of carefully planned stages in games like Outland or Super Meat Boy. The very continents are random, and they unfurl on blocky maps with the titular windstorms deciding where you can travel.

There's a constant tease in play here since you can access the lair of a continent's evil overlord at any time, only to find that advancement is impossible because you don't have the proper abilities. The same holds true for most of the regular levels as well. Indeed, much of what counts as progression in Valley consists of coming back to areas you've already visited with new spells and seeing if you're ready for them, which you may not even know until you reach a crushing difficulty spike midway through a level.

You'll usually die in these cases, and the game's multiple achievements for getting yourself killed prove that this is exactly what's supposed to happen. That sounds ominous, but it's not all that bad aside from running the risk of battling the angry ghosts of the fellows you let die, which adds a extra touch of difficulty to the scenario that killed you in the first place. Your new character has all the same spells as the last one did (but not the upgrades); you'll just have a different name and different stats. More than a mere inconvenience, the design discourages you from the trial-and-error suicide runs in other platformers and forces you to look elsewhere for advancement, as in simple quests or missions against mini bosses that grant civilization points so you can nab better spells and tackle harder areas with greater ease.


The whole process gets rather tedious when you're alone, but the online multiplayer mode livens things up a bit. Here you can chat and tackle obstacles with other players (with the caveat that enemies scale according to how many players are around), although you might have a problem finding them since the infinitesimal level map used for quick travel merely gives a general idea of their location. When you finally find them, however, it plays sort of like a primitive MMORPG, right down to concerns of "ninja looting" since drops always go to the first person that picked them up.

A Valley Without Wind Cheats

CodeEffectUse a "strategic" guardian power (one that targets a region on the world map, like Summon Wind Shelter, Ocean Buoy, Seek Survivors, etc).Guardian StategeryUse a guardian power that provides a continent-wide buff.I Get By With A Little Help From My FriendsCollect a Legendary Cloak Of Shadows enchant from an enchant container.How Not To Be SeenCollect a Legendary Water Power enchant from an enchant container.TsunamiCollect a Legendary Diverse Wrath enchant from an enchant container.Diversified PortfolioCollect a Legendary Earth Power enchant from an enchant container.Nature's WrathCollect a Legendary Entropy Power enchant from an enchant container.All Shall Be UndoneCollect a Legendary Fire Power enchant from an enchant container.We Have Ignition!Collect a Legendary Light Power enchant from an enchant container.All Shall Come To LightCollect a Legendary Air Power enchant from an enchant container.Not In Kansas AnymoreCollect a Legendary Powerslide enchant from an enchant container.Wheeeee!Collect a Legendary Risktaker enchant from an enchant container.RiskbreakerCollect a Legendary Air Slash enchant from an enchant container.Faster Than A Speeding BulletCollect a Legendary Stone Legs enchant from an enchant container.Immovable ObjectCollect a Legendary Triple Jump enchant from an enchant container.Because It Is CoolUse a skill-level-5 guaridan power that provides a continent-wide buff.I Love It When A Plan Comes TogetherRaise a survivor to skill level 5 in Aquaurgy.When The Water's Got To GoBe present at the death of five Lieutenants.Nice Henchmen. Be A Shame If Anything Happened To Them.Be present at the successful completion of a Boss Gang (interior) mission.Fight ClubBe present at the successful completion of 500 missions.You've Made Your PointBuild a settlement up to 30 total structures.This Is Getting RidiculousBe present at the successful completion of 300 missions.That's Really Quite A FewBe present at the successful completion of 100 missions.VeterenRaise a survivor to skill level 5 in Lumbermancy.Become One With The WoodBe present at the death of 10000 monsters.Exterminator ExtraordinareRaise a survivor to skill level 5 in Stonebinding.That Stone Isn't Going Anywhere!Be present at the death of two overlords.Fool Me Once...Be present at the death of three overlords.This Is Getting To Be A HabitBe present at the successful completion of 10 Battleground missions.Master CommanderBe present at the successful completion of 10 Boss Gang missions.Master BrawlerBe present at the successful completion of 10 Boss Tower missions.Master BossBe present at the successful completion of 10 Build Wind Shelter missions.Master WindbreakerBuild a settlement up to 20 total structures.Real Estate DevelopmentBe present at the successful completion of 10 Journey To Perfection missions.Master PerfectioninstBe present at the successful completion of 10 Lava Escape missions.Master DaredevilBe present at the successful completion of 10 Rescue Survivor missions.Master RescuerBe present at the successful completion of 10 Stealth Assassination missions.Master AssassinBe present at the successful completion of 10 Supply Depot Meteor Storm missions.Master QuartermasterBe present at the successful completion of an Umbra Vortex mission.Weeee! I Can Fly!Be present at the successful completion of a Lava Escape (underground) mission.A Very Suspicious VolcanoBe present at the successful completion of a Lava Escape (interior) mission.Hot Hot Hot!Be present at the successful completion of a Journey To Perfection (underground) mission.Spelunking Without FlawCollect an Epic enchant from an enchant container.Look Who Won A Loot RollCollect a Legendary enchant from an enchant container.Now That's GearBe present at the successful completion of 10 Umbra Vortex missions.Master DogfighterBe present at the successful completion of a Boss Gang (underground) mission.Cave RuckusCollect a Legendary Acid Gills enchant from an enchant container.The Water's Not Bad, It's Enriched!Collect a Legendary Overload enchant from an enchant container.It's Gonna Blow!Collect a Legendary Double Jump enchant from an enchant container.The Physics Are DubiousCollect a Legendary Featherweight enchant from an enchant container.Legendary LightfootCollect a Legendary Resilient Form enchant from an enchant container.Walking Brick WallCollect a Legendary Niche Air enchant from an enchant container.Nothing But NetCollect a Legendary Conserving Mind enchant from an enchant container.EconomizerCollect a Legendary Power Legs enchant from an enchant container.What Was That Blur?Be present at the death of a monster.Innocence Lost!Die.Welcome to Environ!Craft a tier 1 spellgem.Humble BeginningsBe present at the death of a miniboss. Note: there are also microbosses that look like normal monsters; they don't count for this.You Ain't The Boss Of MeVisit A Settlement.Home Sweet HomeBe present at the death of 100 monsters.Cutting Your TeethBe present at the successful completion of a Boss Tower mission.The Bigger They Are...Be present at the successful completion of a mission.Can Follow DirectionsBe present at the death of ten minibosses. Note: there are also microbosses that look like normal monsters; they don't count for this.Debossing CoilCraft a tier 2 spellgem.Movin' On UpBe present at the successful completion of a Stealth Assassination (interior) mission.Oops, Did I Break Your Concentration?Die 5 times.Happens All The Time. Don't Worry About It.Be present at the successful completion of a secret mission.Clandestine OperationDie 25 times.Learning The RopesBe present at the successful completion of a Rescue Survivor (underground) mission.It's Dangerous To Go AloneBe present at the successful completion of a Stealth Assassination (underground) mission.Caves Provide Such Nice ShadowsBe present at the successful completion of a Battleground mission.Plays Well With OthersCraft a tier 3 spellgem.Cooking With GasCollect an Uncommon enchant from an enchant container.Ooh, Shiny!Use a "building" guardian power (one that adds a structure to a settlement).Brick By BrickDie 100 times.Congratulations, You Have Died!Die 50 times.Losing Is Fun!Be present at the successful completion of a Supply Depot Meteor Storm mission.Large Flaming Boulder DeflectorBe present at the successful completion of 10 missions.Not Bad, For A StartBe present at the successful completion of 30 missions.A Glyphbearer On A MissionBe present at the successful completion of 50 missions.Check Your Peripheral VisionBe present at the successful completion of a Build Wind Shelter mission.In From The RainBe present at the successful completion of a Fix The Anachronisms (interior) mission.You Ain't Gotta Go Home, But You Can't Stay HereBe present at the successful completion of a Fix The Anachronisms (underground) mission.Get Your Time Period Out Of My CaveBe present at the successful completion of a Journey To Perfection (interior) mission.Inner PerfectionBe present at the successful completion of a Journey To Perfection (surface) mission.The Perfect Stroll In The SunBe present at the successful completion of a Rescue Survivor (interior) mission.Pulled From The RubbleBuild a settlement up to 10 total structures.More Than A Hole In The WallBe present at the successful completion of a mission created by a Guardian Power.The Powers That BeCraft a tier 4 spellgem.Getting Pretty Threatening, ThereCraft a tier 5 spellgem.Do Ya Feel Lucky, Punk?Collect a Rare enchant from an enchant container.Rareified HeightsBe present at the death of a Lieutenant.Six Feet UnderlingBe present at the death of three Lieutenants.Accomplished DegoonifierBe present at the death of 100 minibosses. Note: there are also microbosses that look like normal monsters; they don't count for this.PrebossterousBe present at the death of 1000 monsters.Monster Control SpecialistBe present at the death of an overlord.EvilcideBe present at the successful completion of 10 Fix The Anachronisms missions.Master TimekeeperRaise a survivor to skill level 5 in Apothekinesis.Don't Mess With That ApothekineticistRaise a survivor to skill level 5 in the Forgical Arts.When An Anvil Isn't EnoughRaise a survivor to skill level 2 in their profession.Beginning Upon The PathRaise a survivor to skill level 3 in their profession.Inspire Competence!Raise a survivor to skill level 4 in their profession.Rising PowerRaise a survivor to skill level 5 in their profession.ArtisanRaise a survivor to skill level 5 in Technozoology.Operation Cybernetic Dinosaur

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