Arcen Games entered the PC indie scene in 2009 with their indie cult classic AI War: Fleet Command. They continued with The Zenith Remnant, the first full expansion for AI War; Tidalis, an innovative block-based puzzle with casual appeal and hardcore depth; Children of Neinzul, a micro-expansion for AI War with all profits benefiting the Child’s Play charity, of which Arcen is a platinum sponsor and A Valley Without Wind, a 2D sidescroller without a linear path released in April 2012.
A Valley Without Wind was an open world and randomly generated game and not everything was tightly connected. The gameplay was basic, without many challenges and interest,apart from the various spells you got but was fun as it tried to blend features you usually don’t see combined. The truth was A Valley Without Wind was more interesting than it was fun.
“In the first game we were really enticed by the allure of all those things, and so we let our design drift and become unfocused. In other words, the design tried to become all things to all people, and Environ became a world that you could come and do whatever you wanted in. That’s pretty fun! But it’s very difficult to make a truly compelling game that way. What we needed to do with the sequel was really focus, and make the original game we set out to do” Arcen has stated.
The game isn’t infinite anymore, giving it a more focused feel. It’s has a more Metroid-esque role by taking away complete free-form movement. City-building plays a more major role this time around and RPG functions are more prevalent in the sequel. Talents, perks, classes, there’s a lot to choose from and with a significantly upgraded visual style and other major improvements.
On paper there’s a lot to love in A Valley Without Wind 2, but is the game the rewarding experience it promises to be? Read on to find out.
Sound and Vision
The artwork is improved from the first game, and especially on the game’s platforming segments the 2D graphics are stunning. Enemies look good and vary from world to world which is a good change of pace, for example, in desert levels you will come across a Sphinx whereas in other levels you will fight robotic fish, dragons and dinosaurs etc.
Most of the music in the game is recycled from Valley 1 and Arcen’s strategy game AI War, along with s also an epic new track that plays during the title sequence. The music is very tranquil, even soothing at times and does a good job of setting the mood for the entire game. Sound effects are simply okay. There is nothing stellar about them but they do a decent enough job. It’s a game you’ll want to play with the music on for sure.