- Developers: Blue Isle Studio
- Publisher: Blue Isle Studio
- Genre: First Person Adventure
- Platforms: PlayStation 4 (Reviewed), Xbox One, PC
- Release Date: 24th August 2016
- Microtransactions: No
A Low Area Between Hills
Hello again folks, a quick question for you. What’s your comfort zone? What’s your safe gaming space? Is it driving games? Or maybe it’s a military shooter. We all have 1 or 2 genre’s we’re more comfortable with over any other. For me it’s an immersion filled adventure game. So I was pleasantly surprised to find that what I thought was just a simple ‘walking simulator’ was much more engrossing than I imagined it would be.
You play an explorer setting out to find the seed of life and gain fame and fortune. Armed with not much beyond discount canoeing lessons and your determination you head out to find your fortune. Alas the discount canoeing lessons were beyond useless and as soon we are in control we’ve crashed and are pulling ourselves out the water at the mouth of a cave. Exploring further you emerge in the titular valley and start making some strange discoveries.
What are the floating orbs of light, the little sprite like creatures and most importantly the exo-suit you find by an overturned World War 2 army truck. Well, the last one is easy, that’s the L.E.A.F suit. Capable of endowing it’s user with great speed, jumping capabilities and the power to give or take life as you see fit. Delving deeper into the valley you discover a secret WW2 research base that hides more than a few secrets.
Starting out like a simple ‘walking simulator’ and then becoming something of a First Person platformer it then morphs again into an engrossing adventure with light shooter elements. At first I really wasn’t sure about it, it doesn’t take long at all for it to introduce the platforming elements and thankfully despite the first person viewpoint they are rather enjoyable. I however couldn’t shame the feeling it felt like the game wasn’t really going anywhere.
But as more plot details emerge and your overall mission becomes clear it grew on me more and more until I really wanted to see it through to the end. I wanted to know the fates of various characters and found its handling and explanation of player death to be rather clever and actually fit with the fiction of the game.
Often With a River Running Through It
Your enjoyment is also helped by the fact that while most elements are kept simple it doesn’t over reach itself or introduce too much unnecessary guff. As you gain upgrades for the L.E.A.F suit traversal becomes more and more of a pleasure as you speed down hills, fling yourself through the air, swing from grapple points and later even run across the surface of water. It never feels clunky and death feels as though you messed up as opposed to be being cheated. They also lead to some exhilarating sequences where you run and ridiculous speeds through tunnels and make huge leaps over chasms.
The shooter elements are kept as basic as can be. One button fires a blast that steals life, one button fires a blast that gives life. Enemies are introduced later but involve nothing more than strafing left or right and getting a few his on target. They pop fairly often but are over quick enough to not show anything down too much.
Various secrets are there to be discovered too. Glowing acorns must be collected to open mysterious magical doors and medallions must be discovered to open different chambers inside a strange pyramid found somewhere in the valley.
Overall I found myself drawn to this more and more as time went on and would recommend it to anybody wanting to try something a little (but not too) different.
- Dreaded first person platforming is handled very well.
- Engrossing story.
- Surprisingly exciting sequences later on
- No real challenge.
- Combat could have done with a little more variety.