When you start A Valley Without Wind 2 you’re greeted with a quite simple menu which offers you the option to alternate combat difficulty and strategic difficulty offering you seven combat difficulties and five strategic difficulties.
We then get a bit of story about the game. The year is 889, a year after the events of the previous game and the land has become a much darker place due to the evil Lord named Demonacia gaining power and having in their possession the Oblivion Crystals that protect them from ever dying. You play as a character that was planted into Demonacia’s army to gain trust from the inside, but the truth is that you’re part of the resistance. You have now have your own Oblivion Crystal and must lead the resistance to overthrow Demonacia by destroying the wind generators,while slowly improving your character until he or she is capable of taking on the boss directly.
In terms of gameplay, where the first game was much more of a old-school sandbox experience, the sequel is more of an actual game with concrete goals. It’s one part turn-based strategy and one part 2D platformer.
In the strategy portion of the game,you manage the resistance of survivors at the beginning of the game (your character included) against Demonaica. You move your units around the board like chess pieces in order to gather food, build structures, capture strategic targets, recruit new resistance fighters, or battle enemies. All the usual tasks one would expect. The action sequences are all about getting from point A to point B, at which time you’ll find and destroy the windstorm generator placed by Demonaica, eliminating the darkness and opening up a new piece of the map to explore.
The game ends if you lose all your survivors, so you have to manage both your resources and survivors wisely. Overall this portion of the game may not quite be what hardcore strategy fans will find overwhelming however it’s a portion with a surprising amount of depth that gives the player a lot of interesting choices.
The characters vary in gender and race; you can choose from one of ten classes at each level, each of which comes with a set of four spells. Each one of your characters can only have one turn per round.You’re only given about five turns to accomplish as much as possible before Demonaica is released and destroys everything on the world map, so again – figuring out techniques that work best for your group will ensure your survival.
In the platform segment everything relies on fast reflexes. You can jump to reach platforms and attack enemies like in any platformer. Depending on which class you select you’ll be given a set of 4 abilities to use in this section. These abilities are your primary, secondary, special, and ammunition attack. New more powerful classes are unlocked as the game progress. You also gain perks which give bonuses to things like damage, movement, and health, and feats which gives special abilities like double jumping and perform various missions that either open up new locations on the map, or otherwise make your character more powerful. The platforming segments are fun in small bursts, and fortunately that’s exactly what the game provides. They would start to get tedious, but the strategy game does a nice job of breaking things up.
As you make your way through the game you can unlock new perks which can do anything from increasing your jumping power to adding more health to your character. Every 3 levels or so you’ll be able to go back to Demonica’s keep and steal a Mage Cache, which will allow you to choose a new, more powerful class with increased damage on their abilities. You can also revisit previously unlocked locations as many times as needed during a single turn.
What we felt to be a bit at odds with the games platform segment was the game’s control scheme which takes a while to get used to. By default ASDF will fire off one of 4 spells you have access to. A is your primary, S is secondary, D is special, and F is your ammo skill. The arrow keys move your character and aim your shot, while spacebar jumps.
Like Valley 1, Valley 2 still features randomly generated levels and online co-op multiplayer. You can either play online cooperatively with friends or via a LAN based connection. There’s even an option to launch your own server if you prefer not to search for one online. Plus, online co-op plays like the single-player campaign, so there is no learning curve involved. The online co-op feature adds a distinct level of excitement that truly enhances the gameplay. Moreover, it’s a lot of fun battling the evil overlord Demonaica with someone else.
A Valley Without Wind 2 is a strategy role-playing game with action-platformer elements simple to pick up, but very complex to play. If you enjoy retro Metroidvania based games and strategic Advance Wars type games then this game is for you. It is a huge improvement on A Valley Without Wind delivering interesting levels with an array of enemies and a wonderful strategic element thrown in with good old-fashioned simple platforming. This game seems to get better the more you play it.
You should add to all the above the fact that Arcen Games to frequently update their games with additional content, and various improvements. A Valley Without Wind 2 comes bundled on Steam with the previous game in the series, A Valley Without Wind. Even if you may not like the sequel, there is a chance you may join the original so it might be worth checking out for that reason alone.