A Valley Without Wind 1&2 Catch-all

Scratched wrote:
Play the demo? Wait a while for more patches/more opinions/a better price?

Not much of an enabling there.

Didn't realize (though I should have) that there is a demo so I'll probably try that. I like the devs and want to support them so this is the sort of game I would rather pay full price for rather than buy it for $1.24 during a steam sale. I try to pay full price for cheap indy games and get the AAA titles during the pile inducing steam sales.

Mostly I was just trying to spark some conversation in this thread. A lot of posts pre-release and almost nothing post release makes me curious what people are thinking of the game.

I've been playing the demo and the game has definitely improved since I last opened it up, but... I don't know. I don't really find the exploration or combat enjoyable so far. I think a lot of people are enjoying the game and I hope it sells well, but it's not the game I'm looking for.

Yeah based on everything I have read so far this seems like a real "love it/hate it" type of game. I'll be trying the demo when I go home and I'll post some of my feelings on it afterwards. I really want to like this game.

TheArtOfScience wrote:

The thing that is getting me is the actual gameplay. It seems really twitchy in every video I've see. The animations seem a bit stilted and it looked like it might be a bit awkward in demanding a level of control (it is a bit bullet helly after all) that is hard to achieve.

I felt the same way when watching the videos on steam when it went up the other day. The actual game play is a little twitchy but much smoother than the videos make it look. Some of the animations are a little weird but after about an hour I got used them. I am not dieing because of janky controls.

Well, true to my word I downloaded the demo yesterday and gave it a whirl. I couldn't find the demo on steam so I dl'd directly from the devs website.

At first I was kinda meh because the tutorial doesn't do the best job of...tutoring. At times I was a bit lost on how I was supposed to proceed and I found the mechanics to be not terribly intuitive.

I'm glad I stuck it out though because after about an hour the game started clicking with me just as I was considering calling it a night. Once I started to "get it" the game became progressively more fun until I found myself purchasing a copy.

This is a very difficult game to describe. It really does play better than the videos would indicate. AVWW is truly a mashup of genres and that gives it a bit of a learning curb but it also provides a surprising amount of depth. Simply put, there isn't a game I've played quite like this.

AVWW is mix of schmup/RPG/platformer/harvesting (a la terraria or minecraft)/city building/ roguelike/old school arcade. It really is all of those things. The mashup feels a little clunky at first but once you get familiar with the mechanics it all comes together and works.

I forsee myself putting some time into this game and I think it is worth it at the current price.

I think the devs would benefit from cleaning up the tutorial zone and making what you need to do quite a bit clearer. I can see where people would be put off by the tutorial and give up before they really got to the meat of the game. I also think there needs to be a bit more hand holding when you get to the first settlement. I read the tutorial windows and they are handy but I still had to turn to forums to figure out some of the mechanics.

I'm still fairly early into the game and I will post more thoughts. I am flirting with the idea of doing a "Let's Play" with this game but that depends on how much free time I'll have next week.

So I will make an enabler post myself!

This is a *very* unique game that requires a bit of investmet before it reveals itself to you. It's well worth it though since there is a great deal of customization and depth to be found here. I think Arcen found a way to mash up wildly different genres without it being too busy. I recommend playing the demo and pushing past the tutorial until you leave your village and start exploring in earnest. Once you have unlocked a few enchantments, ran a few missions, and explored a couple of zones you will have a much better idea of what this game has to offer.

TheArtOfScience wrote:
This is a *very* unique game that requires a bit of investmet before it reveals itself to you.

Sweet. Sounds a lot like AI Wars and Tidalis.

Tamren wrote:
TheArtOfScience wrote:
This is a *very* unique game that requires a bit of investmet before it reveals itself to you.

Sweet. Sounds a lot like AI Wars and Tidalis.

Yup. Played a good two hours last night. I'm liking it. I also died five times. I didn't like that.

Cool. I just found a scroll to turn myself into a bat? Awesome, if that's what I think it does.

Annnnnnd just like AI War this game f**ks you in the drive-thru. I killed 50 or 100 of a monster type and the next message I get is, 'You've unlocked a tougher version of this monster. You've unleashed it on the world. Sucka."

Good times, good times.

This just in. Don't use the transform-bat scroll unless you have another transform-bat scroll to change yourself back. Otherwise you will be stuck. As a bat. Forever?

Yes. I just realized that trying to 100% a dungeon in this game is insane. Dungeons and the dungeons and buildings inside them are like a Tardis stuffed inside a Tardis stuffed inside a Tardis, etc. This isn't a regular platformer that's for sure.

More news. Not only has Strangeblades died a whack load of times he has also learned, duh, duh, duh, a twist in the tale!

(This is not a spoiler. It's a game mechanic that comes apparent pretty quickly.)

The player is indeed the worst threat to Environ. After killing a whack-ton of dudes I get this message. Cool an unlock. Wait-a-minute! I unlocked a game condition!
IMAGE(http://i866.photobucket.com/albums/ab221/Strangeblades/A%20Valley%20Without%20Wind%20Catch%20All/Huh.png)

When I get back to camp this is told to me.
IMAGE(http://i866.photobucket.com/albums/ab221/Strangeblades/A%20Valley%20Without%20Wind%20Catch%20All/Monsters.png)

:reporter:

Psst. You click the little dude for more info.

Arcen Games was jumped in the street and its founder Chris Park was coerced into answering questions about AVWW. A good read.

Strangeblades wrote:
Yes. I just realized that trying to 100% a dungeon in this game is insane. Dungeons and the dungeons and buildings inside them are like a Tardis stuffed inside a Tardis stuffed inside a Tardis, etc. This isn't a regular platformer that's for sure.

You aren't meant to. The maps show you where the good loot is. If you spend your time trying to 100% all the dungeons then you'll never do anything else. It's the way they balanced exploration with the procedural generation.

garion333 wrote:
Strangeblades wrote:
Yes. I just realized that trying to 100% a dungeon in this game is insane. Dungeons and the dungeons and buildings inside them are like a Tardis stuffed inside a Tardis stuffed inside a Tardis, etc. This isn't a regular platformer that's for sure.

You aren't meant to. The maps show you where the good loot is. If you spend your time trying to 100% all the dungeons then you'll never do anything else. It's the way they balanced exploration with the procedural generation.

After spending a couple hours in the demo, I hadn't really realized this. I quit earlier in a bit of a moment of frustration when I found yet another huge area that I didn't feel like completely exploring. I'll have to give it another go later tonight and not worry so much about that.

Sheazy wrote:
garion333 wrote:
Strangeblades wrote:
Yes. I just realized that trying to 100% a dungeon in this game is insane. Dungeons and the dungeons and buildings inside them are like a Tardis stuffed inside a Tardis stuffed inside a Tardis, etc. This isn't a regular platformer that's for sure.

You aren't meant to. The maps show you where the good loot is. If you spend your time trying to 100% all the dungeons then you'll never do anything else. It's the way they balanced exploration with the procedural generation.

After spending a couple hours in the demo, I hadn't really realized this. I quit earlier in a bit of a moment of frustration when I found yet another huge area that I didn't feel like completely exploring. I'll have to give it another go later tonight and not worry so much about that.

It kills a bit of the exploration feel of the game for me, but I think, for now, it's a fair balance for the game. This game isn't about just one thing (ie. exploration), so some design decisions had to be made to allow you not to "waste" time while losing some of the mystery aspects of the game.

BOSS TOWER

IMAGE(http://i866.photobucket.com/albums/ab221/Strangeblades/A%20Valley%20Without%20Wind%20Catch%20All/MonsterNests.png)
MONSTER NESTS
You better destroy these Monster Nests as fast as possible. These Monster Nests generate monsters. Yup. I felt the need to spell that out for ya. Don't thank me all at once. Get in a line first. Let's keep this flood of gratitude to a nice orderly trickle.

IMAGE(http://i866.photobucket.com/albums/ab221/Strangeblades/A%20Valley%20Without%20Wind%20Catch%20All/EvilRoom.png)
THE SCARY DOOR(S)
There is no beating around the bush with this game. This is a room of evil. It is one of many rooms of evil. I encountered a lot of these while running up the Boss Tower.

IMAGE(http://i866.photobucket.com/albums/ab221/Strangeblades/A%20Valley%20Without%20Wind%20Catch%20All/MoreEvil.png)
SCARY DOOR PRODUCTION LINE
See? You will also notice there are two different folks. One is dead. The second one you see is still alive. I went through a lot of bright, young shining stars. Sniff.

IMAGE(http://i866.photobucket.com/albums/ab221/Strangeblades/A%20Valley%20Without%20Wind%20Catch%20All/DeadWinWin.png)
THIS REALLY KILLS MORALE BACK AT THE SETTLEMENT
Each of those red eruption thingies represents a continent wide event - my character's death or deaths. At least my passing(s) are enough to warrant this kind of coverage.

IMAGE(http://i866.photobucket.com/albums/ab221/Strangeblades/A%20Valley%20Without%20Wind%20Catch%20All/Yup.png)
THE END?
Ah. Finally. The Boss's Room. The way it's worded I feel like I'm breaking into my CEO's office.

IMAGE(http://i866.photobucket.com/albums/ab221/Strangeblades/A%20Valley%20Without%20Wind%20Catch%20All/BigBoss.png)
THE BIGGER THEY ARE THE SQUISHIER I GET
He's a big 'un. While bosses like this one are able to jump up onto ledges and somewhat follow you, their size prevents them from getting into nooks and crannies you might want to hide in. Note, I still don't have a healing spell, scroll, potion, etc. So far, the only health items are the green sparklies left by the dead.

As for the fight it wasn't too bad. This game is a skill-based side-scrolling shooter but the boss's massive size made him an easy target, even when off-screen. Once he was dead I collected some sweet loot and noticed something. I didn't have all the treasure that I was promised I would get. That can only mean..

IMAGE(http://i866.photobucket.com/albums/ab221/Strangeblades/A%20Valley%20Without%20Wind%20Catch%20All/LastRoom.png)
BOSS ROOM 10
IMAGE(http://i866.photobucket.com/albums/ab221/Strangeblades/Space%20Sims%20Strategy%20Games%20Catch%20All/th_damnyou.gif)

WHY THIS GAME IS COOLER THAN A BUCKET OF FROZEN CATS

IMAGE(http://i866.photobucket.com/albums/ab221/Strangeblades/A%20Valley%20Without%20Wind%20Catch%20All/Bat.png)
LOOK OUT
What's that thing? Where is it going? What is it doing? It's not a bird! It's not a plane! It's..

IMAGE(http://i866.photobucket.com/albums/ab221/Strangeblades/A%20Valley%20Without%20Wind%20Catch%20All/SuperBat.png)
BLIND AS A..
..it's my glyph-bearer transformed into a bat. Hope you keep a second transform-to-bat scroll handy otherwise you ain't changing from being a bat. You're stuck like that until you find that scroll. Good thing is you can fly, which is pretty bad-ass. And you can still cast all your spells and interact with survivors (I think). Bad news is your damage output is cut by 90% or more.

IMAGE(http://i866.photobucket.com/albums/ab221/Strangeblades/A%20Valley%20Without%20Wind%20Catch%20All/SuperBat2.png)
WHEE
Rocket bat.

IMAGE(http://i866.photobucket.com/albums/ab221/Strangeblades/A%20Valley%20Without%20Wind%20Catch%20All/SuperBat3.png)
MY BAT'S BUM IS BURNING
I can't drive 55.

IMAGE(http://i866.photobucket.com/albums/ab221/Strangeblades/A%20Valley%20Without%20Wind%20Catch%20All/PocketRhino.png)
WILDLIFE
Pocket Rhino. Yup.

IMAGE(http://i866.photobucket.com/albums/ab221/Strangeblades/A%20Valley%20Without%20Wind%20Catch%20All/Boom3.png)
BOOM
Pretty. This is what happens when you kill a fire elemental thing.

ALLIES

IMAGE(http://i866.photobucket.com/albums/ab221/Strangeblades/A%20Valley%20Without%20Wind%20Catch%20All/Robotz.png)
LEADING FROM THE REAR
One of the many different things you can do in this game is storming an enemy stronghold and blowing it up - with allies! You launch the mission and follow your yellow-coloured allies across the map to attack the big robot and his army of bad robots. Then you blow up the bad robot factory as seen on the right.

IMAGE(http://i866.photobucket.com/albums/ab221/Strangeblades/A%20Valley%20Without%20Wind%20Catch%20All/ImSoProud.png)
THANKS
Once the mission was complete I gave a rousing speech to my troops. I had Sir Yellow Robot #432 step forward to accept his medal for heroism.

I haven't seen this in action, but from the screenshots, the art just doesn't quite look right. It's like it's not quite sure what sort of art style it's going for, and a lot of the assets look like they've been cut and pasted onto the background in photoshop. I can't help but feel like it'd benefit from being a bit more stylised.

Maybe it looks better in motion, (and indeed, let me know if I'm wrong) but it's the main thing turning me off the game at the moment.

It's much better in motion. The art is more than the sum of its parts. I had some concerns about the gfx as well when I first purchased it. It feels a little odd for the first 15 minutes or so then you're just playing the game and the consistency of the art style prevents it from being a distraction again.

The game is prettier than screenshots show but the player character models can be kind of hilarious. Half of my starting village were dudes in metallic wifebeaters with mullets.

I got in a good couple hours with this game over the weekend and much like what everyone is saying, it's definitely a love/hate type of game. I was content initially just going from screen to screen killing dudes, but then I started to notice all of the UI stuff, such as the minimap that marks treasure, or the dungeon map that tells you the percent explored. Then I felt like I had a grasp on what was going on, so then I got to the world map and did a "Mission" that involved clearing out a tower.

It was about this time (maybe an hour and a half in) that I realized I've really only fought three types of enemies, and unless I completely messed up (falling off a platform, running headlong into a group of guys), I pretty much could kill anything in my way. Even the three bosses in the tower weren't much of a challenge--mostly just timing jumps around projectiles while simultaneously firing back.

So, with the mission complete, I set about taking out more screens of dudes for another hour. The only problem I'm having is that the combat seems a tad easy--I might have to head back to the settlement and up the difficulty (I think I had it one above normal) in order to make it a little more interesting. Otherwise, I was really just seeing the same types of areas with the same few enemies with no tangible goal in mind aside from exploring and the "suggested" things for you to do.

Overall, I can see how the game can be interesting, but just from the initial few hours, I wasn't really seeing much variety that made me want to continue on. Is there a specific area that I should be going to in order to find different enemies, loot, etc?

The monsters get harder.

Every time you complete 5 missions the "Tier" of the continent you are playing goes up. A Tier 2 continent causes Tier 2 baddies to spawn. So every time you complete 5 missions (secret missions don't count) you will see a difficulty jump across the board.

Additionally by killing enemy types you unlock...new enemies! For instance if you kill enogh of the lightning wisp things I believe you unlock a clockwork creature with a fancy new attack.

Once you have access to some Tier 2 spells and you've upgraded a couple of your villagers don't hesitate to run missions and go up a Tier. It allows you to unlock new buildings in your village and entire gameplay opportunities open up then. When you play in Tier 1 you are only seeing a portion of the gameplay.

Ya want different munsters? Ya, gots them. Take a-look at this freak-o-nature, eh? Isn't it scary?

IMAGE(http://i866.photobucket.com/albums/ab221/Strangeblades/A%20Valley%20Without%20Wind%20Catch%20All/Gross.jpg)

Different missions too? Yeah, yeah, hold on, I got's them around somewhere. Oh, here we go. A rescue mission. The sparkly and floating guy is the guy being rescued.

IMAGE(http://i866.photobucket.com/albums/ab221/Strangeblades/A%20Valley%20Without%20Wind%20Catch%20All/Rescue.jpg)

TheArtOfScience wrote:
It's much better in motion. The art is more than the sum of its parts. I had some concerns about the gfx as well when I first purchased it. It feels a little odd for the first 15 minutes or so then you're just playing the game and the consistency of the art style prevents it from being a distraction again.

The game is prettier than screenshots show but the player character models can be kind of hilarious. Half of my starting village were dudes in metallic wifebeaters with mullets.

Oh all right, I'll pick it up and give it a try then. Who can say no to mullets?

It looks like the sort of game that could grab me and suck a lot of hours out of me, but it could also entertain me for 2 hours before I drop it and never play it again. I can generally tell which a game will be, but this one I can't peg... for that alone I guess I'm curious enough to give it a shot.

I really like how it looks when the fire ember monster things explode. No screenshot to go with that because it looks better in motion. Maybe I'll capture it.

Edit: Here ya go

I got a copy of this game for my birthday having not really thought twice about it beforehand... and I absolutely adore it.

It's one of those games that provokes a real sense of "emergent narrative", and it most certainly will be hard to adjust to for those people used to simple, linear checklists of objectives to complete. But I really enjoy the fact you can set your own pace, explore, gather materials, push the "progress" onwards when you're good and ready, play Missile Command with meteors... the list goes on.

Sure, the art style is idiosyncratic (I happen to love the '90s Super VGA PC game aesthetic and chiptune electronica soundtrack) but it most certainly doesn't spoil the experience at all.

Since starting to play, the game has gone from barely registering on my radar to one of my favourite experiences of the year so far.

More wacky monsters. Those who play AI War might recognize one of the baddies *cough-sniper-cough*

IMAGE(http://i866.photobucket.com/albums/ab221/Strangeblades/A%20Valley%20Without%20Wind%20Catch%20All/BigBug.png)

IMAGE(http://i866.photobucket.com/albums/ab221/Strangeblades/A%20Valley%20Without%20Wind%20Catch%20All/Crude.png)

IMAGE(http://i866.photobucket.com/albums/ab221/Strangeblades/A%20Valley%20Without%20Wind%20Catch%20All/Mech1.png)

IMAGE(http://i866.photobucket.com/albums/ab221/Strangeblades/A%20Valley%20Without%20Wind%20Catch%20All/Sniper.png)

For those on the fence about AVWW - just give it a few more months and a lot of your confusion on 'What does this do?' and 'How do I get this to work?' will be eliminated. Arcen Games makes what I now like to call, 'living games'. Sure it had a version 1.0 release but all that means for Arcen is the game was 1.0. They not only fix what's broke they make the experience better and better.

An earlier game of theirs, AI War, started at version 1.0 and is now on 5.0-something. That game was not just maintained - it was nurtured and added-to and now offers a metric ton of gameplay.

1.1 is live. Lots of changes: http://arcengames.blogspot.com/2012/...