(crossposted from OO)
I grabbed this on a whim, not really knowing much more than it was an FPS "exploration" game. Fired it up on Monday and couldn't stop playing until I beat it. This is an absolutely amazing game that I'm guessing flew under everyone's radar.
In Valley, you are an explorer looking for something called the "lifeseed" hidden deep in the Rocky Mountains. After a canoeing accident, you wash up on shore in a deserted valley, and find a crazy mechanical L.E.A.F. (Leap Effortlessly through Air Functionality) suit that allows you to to run faster and jump higher. From there, the game takes you on an incredible journey through an absolutely beautiful landscape. You gradually gain more suit abilities as you progress, some of which are amazingly fun. The story gradually unfolds as well, and pieces together a fantastic mystery about what happened there. I won't give any of it away, but suffice to say, it had me captivated throughout. There's some puzzle elements and some light FPS, but the game is mostly exploring and progressing through the environment using a combination of your ever-expanding suit powers to progress. It leads to some incredibly fun setpieces that honestly had me grinning from ear to ear (running on electrified rails and skipping over water were exhilarating). Oh, and it has a brilliant soundtrack to match the visuals.
My only real gripe is that there is no quicksave function or save points, which means that if you die or your PC locks up, you have to start the level over from the beginning. That kinda sucked, but once you figure out how to get through a level, retracing your steps isn't all that hard. It isn't very long...only took me about 5 hours to complete, but that felt perfect.
I hadn't even heard of Valley before I decided to give it a go, and I'm absolutely thrilled that I did. Had to come here and give it a plug, as it is one of the most pleasant gaming surprises I've had in a long, long time. Definitely keep an eye out for it on the Steam holiday sale. I would highly, highly recommend giving it a look.
P.S. ACG did a very detailed review that sums up my thoughts pretty well.