A Valley Without Wind from Arcen Games surprised me. It’s one of those games that grows on you like poison ivy. I didn’t think it was particularly good at first, but soon I was playing the game for several hours.
The initial problem you’ll hit within the game is the odd artstyle. I cannot say whether it is beautiful, ugly or at least functional, but it’s a style I cannot say I’ve seen anywhere else thus far. It, also, grows on you, albeit a bit slowly. The other thing you’ll notice is the fact that the game is an exploration based third person RPG, played from a sidescrolling perspective. As such, there’s a lot of platforming involved, aside of the usual killing of enemies using mouse targeted ranged spells.
You, as a character, are a glyph – a light… thing that follows the person you use as a vessel, the glyphbearer. That way, when the glyphbearer dies, while the vessel is gone forever (unless you meet it again as a vicious spectre), the glyph transfers to another vessel. You get to keep your inventory, so death is not particularly harsh.
I said that the game is exploration based. You are meant to explore the completely procedurally generated world for items you use to both upgrade your spell gems and the enchantments on your character, allowing you to fully customize your character to feel and act however you like. The fact that you get a very fast sprint almost from the get-go helps make the movement fast and mostly painless, while also proving challenging when it comes to certain dungeons made to be hard platformers. In addition, you can select the difficulty of the platforming when you start out.
There is this vibe of complete customization throughout most of the game, which may feel daunting at first due to the utter depth hidden between the layers of tutorials, but once you get used to the game and learn to use the minimap, it becomes second nature. It’s a game that will sink its claws into you and trigger your addiction centers if you allow it.
Now, there’s a lot more to the game than this, but I’ve only played it for a few hours. It’s one of those games that take time to fully explore the possibilities of – I’ve only really scratched the surface.
You can get the game and its sequel for 15 dollars or 13 euros. Get it here.