It’s time to take your first steps into a wider world. A world where it’s not only timestreams that are messed up, but also where entire continents are randomly generating. It’s on each of these that you, one of the remaining glyphbearers, will live, explore and die.

Your character will in all probability taste perma-death long before you choose to face down the Overlord of each continent, so it’s just as well that you’ve brought some friends along…

It’s long been said that for a degree of success you must be able to summarise the contents of big games and movies in a couple of sentences. That way even the stupid people who are only half-listening can get on board with their hard-earned cash too. A Valley Without Wind, releasing on Steam with its 1.0 version today, most certainly does not subscribe to this philosophy. If it had ‘back of the box’ features you’d probably have to staple on an extra sheet of A4 to cover everything…

At its root it’s a randomly generated and side-on Metroidvania game – and brilliantly so too, in the way that tutorials effortlessly merge with your exploration. You work your way through countless doorways – looting deserted futuristic homes on the continent’s surface, and delving deep into caverns and dungeons where futuristic robots and ancient dinosaurs are waiting to kill you.

Other games of this ilk would have you exploring every nook and cranny, but developers Arcen go to great pains to turn you away from this – which feels entirely refreshing. You’re going in for the best loot, and not a tourist tour of bargain basement dungeons – so the best places for foraging are always clearly marked up. What’s more you’re going to have to be well-geared since death in the bowels of the earth is permanent and increasingly likely, even if loot and progression will remain as you re-enter with another character. It’s worth noting too that the more you play, the more the creatures you fearlessly destroy will start to upgrade themselves…

A huge part of A Valley Without Wind is pre-planning the spells you unlock and the items you carry – adapting them to the world around you and the opposition you face. Technically you can go and have a quiet word with that nasty Overlord from the second you spawn – but that’s hardly recommended unless you want to join the game’s legion of ‘don’t do this’ tutorial gravestones.

Then of course there’s missions, the rescue of NPCs and the formation of your own settlement, online co-operative play and the way the complexity of each continent is doubled-down each time you finally conquer the overlord and your world generates itself once more…

A Valley Without Wind is a pure-brew indie game – it’s tonally retro, it’s antagonistic in its determination to be different and challenging in the extreme. It’s a bottomless pit of potential, just waiting for the mind-boggled to stumble their way in. Certainly worth a look-see.

A demo of A Valley Without Wind is available today on Steam, and can also be bought from the Arcen Store, GamersGate, Impulse, IndieCity, and MacGameStore.com.  There’s 10% of until May 1st too, and a demo as well if you fancy a bite.