#oneaday Day 837: No Wind Here

20120505-011701.jpg

My fine friend Alex picked me up a copy of the unusual A Valley Without Wind for my birthday — thank you, good sir! — and I had a brief foray into its strange world this evening. Obviously I haven’t spent that much time playing yet, but it’s certainly been enough for me to determine it’s a game I look forward to exploring further.

AVWW is a procedurally-generated Metroidish platformer with spellcasting, building, collecting and resource management. The concept sees the player taking the role of one of several random (and disposable) characters and exploring a vast 2D world in an effort to take down “The Overlord”.

In order to accomplish this, the player must explore the overworld, find their way into abandoned buildings that are remnants of the “old world” to recover supplies, delve into caves to find gems and other resources, and ultimately build up a settlement and their own power.

As you progress through the game, you acquire new “spell gems” which allow you to cast various magics. You can also upgrade your abilities with various materials and take on missions to provide a sense of “structure”, but otherwise the game is very open and free, and the developers claim that it’s both impossible and impractical to explore every nook and cranny of the randomly-generated world.

The game takes place on a series of 2D maps, with different “rooms” (actually scrolling regions) connected to one another by doorways and cave entrances. Exploring these rooms and the way they’re connected to each other is a key part of the experience. A helpful minimap system helps you figure out where to aim for, where resources are located and where strong boss enemies can be found.

Interesting things come about when the player dies. The game features permadeath of sorts, but the game isn’t over when a character bites it. Instead, the world lives on but the player starts a new character. There’s even the chance to come across the ghost of your old character.

Then there’s a multiplayer option, which I haven’t investigated as yet, but the prospect is intriguing in a Minecraft sort of way — a procedurally generated world with multiple players running around finding resources and killing enemies? Sounds awesome.

There’s an element of the “roguelike” genre about the game, and as regular readers will know, I’m a big fan of that sort of thing. The fact the game has a convincing sense of structure while still being put together almost completely at random is an impressive achievement, and I look forward to seeing if the game manages to maintain a sense of pace and direction throughout. It’s obviously designed to be replayed, too, as there are a wide array of difficulty settings for both the combat and the platforming sections separately.

Further thoughts to follow when I’ve spent a bit more time with the game! (And you can expect more on Nier shortly, too — though this may well be in the form of a Squadron of Shame SquadCast.)

About Pete Davison

Former games journo (GamePro, USgamer) and expert on all those Japanese games and visual novels the mainstream press likes to go "ew, pretty girls" at. I write things at great length.
This entry was posted in Games, Personal and Opinion, Squadron of Shame, Video Games and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to #oneaday Day 837: No Wind Here

  1. MattCaulder says:

    AVWW sounds really cool, but after my passionate affair and subsequent burn-out with Terraria, it’s hard to enjoy games like that. I’m only just beginning to be interested in Minecraft again, but only because I’m playing it with my wife. But AVWW doesn’t seem to have the creative potential as Minecraft, nor the unique gameplay of Terraria, so I’m not sure if it would hold my interest much.

    • Pete Davison says:

      I initially thought to compare it to Terraria and Minecraft, but after playing a bit more today it’s clear that AVWW is a very different beast. It’s not about being creative, it’s about the joy of exploration and powering up your character. Then screaming when you lose it all in an ill-advised boss confrontation.

      If you enjoy Metroidvania type games, it’s an excellent game with tons to do.

  2. Pingback: 1140: Another Valley Without Wind | I'm Not Doctor Who

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s