That’s a meteor about to land on the supplies I have to defend. I have to deflect it with my attacks, while also keeping an eye out for monsters. I basically punch it away. The mission ends after I’ve endured 100 meteors. Yep, 100 meteors. As I play this mission, I think of Dane Cook’s bit about bees: “I would punch every bee in the face”. So there’s me, punching every meteor in the face. Well, not every meteor. Just the ones that dare to come near my supplies.
After the jump, things to do when you’re not punching meteors
Missions are by no means the only thing to do in A Valley Without End. They are instead the thing you do when you’re ready to push ahead. A Valley Without Wind borrows a mechanic from AI War: it gets harder as you do more missions. The difficulty level of the continent as a whole raises as you hit certain thresholds of missions played. This means you have to either choose your missions carefully, with specific goals in mind, or you have to search the continent for hidden missions that don’t move you towards the next difficulty threshold.
Unfortunately, some of the missions are awful. The meteor punching isn’t bad compared to the “fix anachronisms” missions. These are about the worst thing A Valley Without Wind can inflict on new players. You walk into a huge room that spans several screens, and it’s populated with about twenty monsters. Some of them don’t belong. To pass the mission, you have to kill the monsters that don’t belong. If you kill a monster that does belong, the mission fails.
The problem is that for all the helpful reference info, new players will have no idea which monsters don’t belong. I’ve done far too many of these missions, and I still have no idea what the criteria is for an anachronism. Sometimes a given blue blob belongs. Sometimes it doesn’t. Whatever ecology is at work in A Valley Without Wind, it isn’t clear when it most needs to be clear.
Fortunately, there are other missions available. The battleground missions remind me of Ronimo’s excellent Swords and Soldiers RTS. I accumulate a group of friendly soldiers and lead them to the enemy base on the other side of the map. So far these are simple, with only limited interaction. Basically, I can drop a flare to tell my guys to hold for 30 seconds before proceeding as a group. I just follow along behind them, helping blast everything. It’s like driving a bulldozer across the map. A bulldozer that shoots fireballs and lightning. Unfortunately, I’ve only seen a few battlegrounds so far.
Boss assassinations are more common. Basically, you delve blindly into a base looking for a powerful boss monster you have to kill. Straightforward, simple, and based on the act of shooting stuff, which is exactly what I signed up for.
But I’d say that missions are only about 20% of A Valley Without Wind. The other 80% is, well, kind of hard to explain. But I’ll try…
Tomorrow, the mysteries of the ancient pyramids, or Hey, look what I found!
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