A Valley Without Wind 2 is a bit like a board game. Picturing it on a tabletop with piles of miniatures isn't too far-fetched. The action sequences and a lot of the math would be a bit painful to act out in real life, though, so praise be to Turing. The feeling of playing a board game is present in the game, and that's an important fact to keep in mind. You get this pseudo-godlike complex going the longer you play. Your character is technically immortal, after all, and your actions are the only thing keeping these helpless people from getting crushed under the boots of Demonaica. Not only do you tell them what to do and how to do it, you also smite dozens of enemies with your wide array of spells and destroy generators with your own two hands. Basically you're the real badass here, even though A Valley Without Wind 2 never tells you to your face, especially if you chose a higher level of difficulty at the beginning.
After the release of the original A Valley Without Wind, developer Arcen Games decided an overhaul was in order. The changes from the first to the second release are staggering, but it's fair to say A Valley Without Wind 2 is a grown-up version of the original. Just about everything that made the first game fizzle has been reworked into something more engaging in the sequel. Reworked, or omitted entirely. A Valley Without Wind 2 isn't a sandbox game, for example, and even though the levels are randomly generated, there's a definite sense of progression in both the gameplay and the narrative. We reviewed the original game when it was released, so check that out for a good comparison.
Like its predecessor, A Valley Without Wind 2 will probably get the cold shoulder from a large chunk of gamers. The main reason is because it can't be easily slotted into a particular genre label. Saying it's a strategy game doesn't do it justice, and calling it a combat-oriented platformer is just as laughable. You can't have the A Valley Without Wind 2 experience without each of these elements interacting with each other, and one doesn't function well on its own. The game needs a certain element of complexity and confusion in order to work, but once you break through that, the real reward can be obtained.
Who's going to enjoy A Valley Without Wind 2? Fans of the original will, for sure, and anyone interested in a very unique tactical experience will find a lot to love here. The game doesn't exactly have a pick up and play feel to it, but it grows on you over time. The only real fault with A Valley Without Wind 2 is that it doesn't cater to a wide audience. Strangely enough, A Valley Without Wind's refusal to "sell out" is what makes it such a great game.
A Valley Without Wind 2 is the perfect example of how to stick with your IP and make it work. More sequels could do with the level of inspiration that went into this game, and being able to satisfy both newcomers and fans of the previous release is something of a minor miracle.
The Co-Op Experience: Up to 8 players will work together to survive a proceduraly generated world filled with monsters, magic, and a sprinkle of every game genre.
Co-Optimus game reviews focus on the cooperative experience of a game, our final score graphic represents this experience along with an average score for the game overall. For an explanation of our scores please check our Review Score Explanation Guide.