Valley. An amazing hidden gem of a game.

Gratch
Gratch
(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.

Comments

  • MonkeyFinger
    MonkeyFinger
    GT Member
    I played through quite a bit of it when it came out on the PS4. I enjoyed all the bouncy / shooty / puzzley stuff up until I got to those multiple grapple swing segments? For whatever reason, I failed on that over and over, enough so that I stopped playing. Something more shiny came out and I didn't go back to it.

    Thanks for the reminder. Maybe I'll try again and it will be one of those "go back after a break and ace it the first time" kind of things that happen every now and then. :)
  • EngineNo9
    EngineNo9
    GT Member
    This is one that I have definitely been interested in and just never got around to playing for some reason.

    For overall visibility I think the name definitely didn't do them any favors. It's so generic and non-descriptive that you have absolutely no idea what the game is about, and if you make an assumption it's probably thinking it's a walking sim or something else slow and calm.

    If you want to pick it up cheap (along with a few other games), it's in the $5 tier of the Nemesis Bundle 4:

    https://www.fanatical.com/en/bundle/nemesis-bundle-4
  • Gratch
    Gratch
    GT Member
    Yeah, the grapple swings were my least favorite part as well. Thankfully, there's really only one segment near the end (the forest) that I really got frustrated with...the others were short enough to be minor annoyances. The really trippy one was when they use the wall walking mechanic (similar to the original Prey) in conjunction with the grapple swings. That perspective shift messed with my head big time, but it was super fun.

    I will say that while the game did a good job of always moving you forward, I can see how you could get stuck pretty easily if you happened to miss a clue, a ledge, or a doorway. There were a couple times where I simply stumbled onto something that allowed me to progress, and I would have been super frustrated had I turned left instead of right at that point and missed it. Lots of the game is quite dark, and I think it might be easy to miss things that are supposed to be obvious.
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