Something bad happened: reality shattered, and different places from different times, ranging from the bronze age to the Magitek-reliant ice age to the land when robots reign supreme, now stand side by side. Overlords now rule the world, windstorms and monsters terrorize the survivors.
In this world called Environ, you control a glyphbearer, those who are granted power by Ilari to be able to safely venture out into the wilds not protected by Ilari's powers. Your job is to try to improve the world somehow, but don't expect this to be easy: the life of a glyphbearer is short, and death is not the matter of if, but when.
A Valley Without Wind is a Metroidvania-ish adventure game with elements of city-building game made by Arcen Games, the creators of AI War: Fleet Command, but with the maps being procedurally generated instead of being fixed like most Metroidvania games. Your goal is to gather materials to improve your city and spell list, upgrading your characters, and take down the overlords of each continent. Since death in this game is expected, you can change characters around with those in your city, or if you die, then you'll be given a replacement characters (without character upgrades), and the dead character will become a vengeful ghost that can be fought.
The game has no end. When a continent is cleared, you can move on to the next.
The game also contains co-op mode, which you can join other people's world.
A sequel was released in February 2013 and during the beta period, anyone who owned the first game got the second game absolutely free (and vice-versa)! The sequel's page can be found here.
This game provides examples of:
- A.I. Is a Crapshoot: Averted, despite all the skelebots running around (including Giant Mook boss variants) nothing Ice Age natives say suggested they ever acted up before the Cataclysm. The playable skelebot characters do tend to act superior, but from their perspective, humanity went extinct centuries ago.
- All of Time at Once: The setting, a Patchwork World of time periods.
- Anachronism Stew: Starts off bad ("contemporary" time periods have bipedal mecha as a standard enemy) and gets progressively worse as the continent tier increases and enemies can roam further from their native habitat. Taken further in the "Fix Anachronism" missions which require you to eliminate enemies that don't belong in the environment, resulting in sea-snakes in a desert dungeon.
- Bag of Spilling: Going to a new continent will keep all statistics and tools you have for the currently-used character, but spells are lost.
- Death from Above: The missions which involve protecting piles of supplies from meteor showers. Also pirate barges, which will constantly bombard any outdoor reigon in range.
- Death Is a Slap on the Wrist: Well, not for the character — they bite the dust permanently. Everything else transfers over to a new character along with the Glyph, though, so you're only a pile of upgrade stones away from where you were. Even moreso after upgrade stones are out of the game — you now don't lose any progress at all, you just have to reroll your stats and the two individual character traits. The only real "cost" is that you've now got a ghost wherever you died (and skelebots don't even do that).
- Double Unlock: Mysteries. First you have to meet their unlock conditions, then get lucky and find the room they're hidden in, then solve a puzzle to receive the precious scrap of backstory. This was later changed to simply be tacked on to secret mission rewards once unlocked.
- Eldritch Location:
- Most of the buildings qualify; due to reality being torn apart rooms can be shaped like anchors and have stairways that lead up by descending them.
- The Deep is a previously medieval area horribly disfigured by the dark Ilari living there, having tentacles and entropy elementals.
- Endless Game: After you defeat the overlord on a continent, you move on to the next. The world is infinite in size, and so is the number of continents.
- Embedded Precursor: Inverted; anyone who owns the first game gets the sequel for free. Though it's also played straight because it works the other way around, too.
- The End of the World as We Know It: Subverted in that after the Earth-Shattering Kaboom, the fragments of the planet were put back together.
- Fantastic Racism: The otherwise friendly Guardian Ilari hate skelebots, openly insulting and threatening even ones allied with humanity. The allied skelebots aren't exactly fond of humans, either, and humans — while not as openly hostile as the Guardian Ilari — are wary as well.
- Glass Cannon: Adventurers from the Time of Magic always have enough MP to spam high-tier spells like they were party favors—but thanks to attributes being pooled that comes at the expense of the health and/or damage multiplier stats.
- Humongous Mecha: Whenever the Skelebots appear as a boss.
- Jigsaw Puzzle Plot: Hints to what the heck has actually happened and what's going on now are found by solving "mysteries" scattered throughout the world.
- Just One More Turn: The game is a HUGE time sink, with thoughts of "Okay, I'll just upgrade this one spell and stop" spiraling out of control when each spell component needs to be unlocked, with each unlock condition having prerequisites... The developer is completely aware of it, too. The button to confirm quitting the game is labeled "Yeah, I should probably go eat or sleep or something."
- Magitek: Most people on the planet can use magic, and technology in the world, especially during the Ice Age, is powered by magic.
- Mighty Glacier: Skelebot characters are relatively slow and can't jump as high as everybody else (or use double-jump or slow-fall enchants), and most have abysmal mana, but they come with important defensive items/enchants built-in (acid water immunity, heatsuit/coldsuit, fall damage immunity) and are always generated with most of their character points dumped in the health slot, some exceeding a thousand HP with a moderate health upgrade.
- Draconians are even slower and worse jumpers (easily less than half the mobility of characters whose time period doesn't offer mobility bonuses), but have excellent health AND attack power, and get bonus stats to go around.
- Mook–Face Turn: Skelebots were initially standard enemies, but an update added playable Skelebots that have allied themselves with humanity and the Ilari...though the latter two, especially the Ilari, aren't exactly keen on the idea of being aided by previously murderous robots.
- Non-Indicative Title: Subverted. Wind is a fairly major motif in it's excess, but the title actually refers to what you're trying to do — wind storms hurt you while buffing monsters, and you build shelters to quell them.
- Orcus on His Throne: Despite the Guardians' insistence that your settlement will be destroyed if the continent's overlord remains unopposed, overlords don't really do much other than sitting there, waiting to be defeated.
- Passing the Torch: Back and forth and can be done repeatedly. After all, there is only one glyph (or few in co-op mode), but many people.
- Patchwork Map: Justified, since something really bad happened and now reality is shattered and is randomly patched back together.
- Patchwork World: As above, different piece of reality have been haphazardly stitched together and conventional physics is now more of a strongly-worded suggestion.
- Point Build System: Sort of, and applied twice over. At creation characters have "points" divided randomly between max health, max mana and the damage multiplier on their attack, weighted depending on their time period (time of magic have massive mana at the expense of health, robots and draconians rob their mana stat to pour more into health and for the latter damage, etc). A few time periods get bonuses stat points to go around. At the same time, you can select "upgrade" enchantments that apply a multiplier to one of those three stats (and a mana regen boost as a bonus for the mana upgrade), but only with values totaling 10 (12 for Contemporary characters), and with diminishing returns if you try to spend it all on one stat. Each character also has two random unique bonuses and some time-period based bonuses.
- Random Number God: Determines mission rewards, which can inhibit spell creation or settlement development if you're unlucky. Critical supplies and basic powers can be bought from the settlement, however; prices are exorbitant, but it provides an option if the RNG just hates you.
- Shout-Out: Half of the Idiosyncratic Difficulty Levels for the platforming difficulty are variants on I Wanna Be the Guy. Another one of them is a reference to Super Mario Bros.. The sequel's achievements contains considerable number of Shout Outs, such as: Losing Is Fun!, Congratulations, You Have Died!, Capitalism, Ho!.
- Super Drowning Skills: Well, not actually drowning, but since all water is acidic after the cataclysm the constant damage has the same effect. An Acid Gills enchantment inverts this to Super Not-Drowning Skills. Better yet, most of the common ocean creatures are somewhat weak to either fire or water attacks. So you'll be using both while underwater and discover that they both function normally (as does lightning).
- Title Drop: The broken world is irreparable, but some may build what all dream of: A Valley Without Wind.
- Unwinnable by Design: The developers have not programmed any unwinnable game states, however they note an intentional feature can cause one: a dead character creates a vengeful ghost. If your next character dies, there's two ghosts, and so on. Too many ghosts in a mandatory place (say, the Overlord's chamber) and you're stuck.
- Weird Currency: All of the Consciousness Shards you find either lying around the world or by killing enemies are lost shards of minds/souls left over from most of humanity being torn apart from the cataclysm.
- Wide-Open Sandbox: You can go anywhere once the tutorial is over. You can even go straight to the Big Bad's lair right at the start of the game.