Review: A Valley Without Wind 2
You know, a lot of us can count on our fingers and toes and other appendages how much we’ve said “I just want to play something different!” Without a doubt, A Valley Without Wind 2 is that something different. A strange and eclectic blend of platforming meets strategy meets RPG, it definitely fills the void for someone who wants to try something a little out there. However, it comes with shortcomings that make it more of an idea and less of an executed game.
The short and skinny of the game is this: You have to defeat an Evil Lord before he comes and destroys your country. You do this in two phases: in a strategy board game like map and in platforming stages.
The strategy area has you placing units on areas in order to create buildings and farms to create resources. The more you produce, the happier the army will be and will help fortify your lands, but there are always risks for your men to move from space to space. each turn.
Turns, by the way, aren’t dictated by movement (like in Civilization) but by going into a tile as your main character and destroying a mini wind generator at the end of each level. Because of this, the game will let you go into as many lands as you want before you lose a turn.
You can even level yourself up before you end a turn and obtain perk tokens. Perk tokens give you different abilities to unlock, which you find in different tiles. Leveling up can be done by going to a Level Tower and defeating the tower and its boss. After defeating the tower, you get stronger perks. Also, the sections involving wind generators, perk tokens and level towers are all completed in a platforming/shooting game.
With only what feels like half of the features in the game listed, A Valley Without Wind 2 is clearly a game with a melting pot mentality. Throwing in platforming, strategy, RPG and other types of mechanics defintiely can definitely intrigue gamers looking for a different type of experience.
The problem is that none of these features are blended well at all. This is mainly due to the fact that every single feature in the game comes with a compromise that dampens each type of gameplay style without enhancing the other portions of the game.
There’s always an inherent understanding with “hybrid” games, which is that simpler or more feature lacking parts of a game is forgivable as long as it enhances another part of the game. One example is that of sports games, like FIFA 13. The RPG mechanics of the game are incredibly limited, however they help enhance the game on the pitch by having you earn XP for every goal, pass and defence you make by giving you incremental upgrades to your characters.
The problem is that no part of this game compliments each other, therefore it just feels like 3 lacking mechanics from 3 different games.
The strategy part really has no depth aside from what tile to capture and what building to create, which quickly grows dull. The board is made up of generic tiles that represent sand, stone, lava and grass, which gives next to no sense of place or attachment to the lay of the land.
The RPG mechanics are numbingly simplistic, which involves picking up treasure and defeating level towers. The game has you picking up treasure which buffs you in certain ways, whether it makes you stronger but slower or faster but weaker.
Treasure, however, can only be picked up one at a time, so if you want to experiment and figure out which treasure you like, you are pretty much punished for doing so. Once you grab the treasure and decide to keep it, you can’t get your old piece back, which becomes increasingly annoying when you get to maps that have somewhere upwards of 20 treasures in a level.
On top of that, defeating level towers don’t really feel like an accomplishment at all. In fact, they feel like every other platforming part in the game. Plus, the reward is not really that interesting. Adding a simple perk that gains you more XP or Strength really doesn’t incentivize wanting to go through those towers.
Finally, the platforming, although the best part of this game, also looks and plays like a flash game. Animation is stiff and lifeless, while the randomly generated levels are generally boring and generic. Also, aiming to shoot your powers feel messy at times, especially when on uneven terrain.
A Valley Without Wind 2 has a solid concept that, when done correctly, would be a fantastic premise that could be very addicting. As it stands, it’s simply 3 parts of a less than mediocre game. It’s really hard to recommend this game to anyone except for those who have a curiosuity to the game.
Aside from them, it’s best to be avoided and forgotten, but hopefully, there’s some hope that the third iteration may bare some interesting and playable fruit.