It feels a little bit like August has been the month for esoteric, wistful puzzlers set in nature. A while back we got the really rather wonderful Evergarden, and to round the month off we've got Valleys Between.
The two games are certainly different enough that it never feels like you're re-walking exactly the same ground, but they act as interesting counterpoints to one another, like two parts of a conversation.
No, Valleys Between doesn't quite manage to match Evergarden's style and design, but it's still an entertaining experience that's got a decent amount going for it.Valley fox
The game sees you controlling the land in a strange world. Pull up a piece of dirt and it'll spray water on the hexes around it, turning them into grass and it into a pond of sorts. Pull up on grass and you'll make a tree.
Put three trees together and pull up on one of them and you'll make a bigger tree, as well as adding three new pieces of land at the bottom of the screen. Match more trees and you get different outcomes, and more land.
There are creatures in the world as well, and you need to use them to your advantage. They're the only things that can stop factories, obelisks, and other dangers from hurting your world. Take too much damage and it's game over.
Then there are fires and oil spills, that you need to stop with various moves. Everything that can do you harm is on a move timer. If it's still there when you've made all of those moves, you're going to get hurt.
Pulling down on the world shifts it along one space, giving you something fresh to work with. This can be more land, but often it's another obstacle piled on top of the ones you're already trying to deal with.
You've got challenges you need to complete as well. These level you up, and you can spend the points you earn in game on getting new animals to help you, or strengthening the ones you've already got.Wolf all
Valleys Between is certainly an impressive looking game, but sometimes it can be a little off balance - there are times when your world doesn't last very long, and while you might have made mistakes, it's hard to pinpoint what they are.
But in a world dominated by free to play puzzlers, seeing a premium one that does things in brave and different ways is always good. And while Valleys Between doesn't quite reach the heights of Evergarden, it's still an engaging and entertaining experience.