A Valley without wind starts with an Unusual setting. The world of Environ is suffering form a major problem: Reality has shattered. Rebuilding the world as a patchwork mess of different places and times, covered in unending windstorms and ruled over by overlords. Only glyph bearers can withstand venturing out of the safety of various settlements to look for supplies, build shelters to fight off the wind, and hopefully taken down the overlord that rules the continent. It's an interesting set up that mostly works as an excuse for the gameplay, though there are additional story snippets to uncover by exploring the game, they uncover more back story and fill out the world a bit more. It's interesting, and worth going after for those interested in the setting, though you can just as easily ignore it.
|You'll be exploring several different environments in game, the layouts of which are randomly generated.|
With that in mind, most of the gameplay for each continent is based around preparing to handle the overlord. you'll explore the world for supplies, attacking lieutenants to weaken the overlord, putting up wind shelters tot keep the wind storms at bay, or just searching the land for better spells and enchantments to fight with. Spells are your main weapon in the game, there's a lot of them though many are very samey, mostly they're simple projectiles or melee attacks that do different elemental damage, enchantments meanwhile act like equipment, doing things like increasing projectile speed, increasing damage with certain spells, or even more interesting things like double jumps or the ability to safety enter the acidic water that covers the world.
you get a lot of your rewards in the game through missions. They're also randomly generated and there's quite a few different ones you can find scattered across the world. Such as clearing a tower of bosses, protecting supply crates from falling meteors or even dodging obstacles as you fall down a tall building or cave. They do a good job of breaking up the random exploration and finding and completing them makes a good short term goal in game.
|Missions can have all sorts of objectives, such as falling to the bottom of a tall building.|
Finally, there's how the game handles death and progress. The game has a sorta perma-death to it. you pick a character with semi-randomized stats and traits based on what time period they're from, and when they die, they're gone for good. But you get to keep your spells, enchantments, and inventory and simply continue the game with a new character. Progress meanwhile, is based mostly on a system of unlocks: doing things unlocks more things, both good ad bad. Kill a lot of enemies? new enemies of that basic type show up. Missions gain new features as you complete them. Killing all enemies in a section of land might add a new crafting ingredient and so on. There's a lot to unlock as well, more than enough that it should take a few continents at least to have unlocked and seen everything.
|wind shelters are an important part of the game as you need them to push back the windstorms that cover the land.|
What it lacks in good graphics, A Valley without Wind more than makes up for with it's soundtrack. The game has a massive soundtrack with dozens of songs, ranging from chiptunes, to piano pieces, even a bit of synth music for good measure. The music is nice and varied and it'll take awhile for the songs in it to start wearing thin, which is great given the size of this game. Unfortunately, while there is a soundtrack available on Bandcamp, which I linked below. It's not the full soundtrack. In fact it's only a volume 1 but I never saw any further volumes put out which is sad as the game's soundtrack is easily one of it's stronger points.
|Overworlds like this help tie the game's many locations together.|
Overall I'd recommend this game, but with a small warning: There's a lot of weirdness and rough edges to this game. If you can work with that and look past all those rough spots I've mentioned in this review, there's a massive game you can sink dozens of hours into, and you get the sequel as a bonus. Otherwise? It's probably best to skip this unless you wanted the sequel, since the two games are sold in a two game bundle and can't be brought separately.
A Valley Without Wind developed and published by Arcen Games, LLC. It is available on Steam and Desura. It's homepage, which includes a direct purchasing option and demo is available here. It's soundtrack is available on Bandcamp.