Valley Review – Switch
+ An excellent narrative
+ Fun gameplay that never grows old
+ Running and jumping is a joy
- The graphics are a step down, and don't live up to the game's beauty and promise
Valley is a few years old now, and thankfully, it’s aged like wine. The story of an explorer stuck inside of an experimental suit searching for an artifact of the old world that grants immense power remains a lot of fun, and an experience you should definitely take part in if you haven’t already done so, or if you have no other way to play it than the Switch. With that being said, it’s not all sunshine and roses in the world of Valley- there are a few stumbles along the way that should be taken into consideration before taking that jump.
The Lifeseed is the McGuffin du jour, and you’re on the hunt for it in the 4-6 hour campaign. The majority of your time with Valley will be spent running and jumping through vast open areas. There’s the occasional bit of platforming, and even a few sections where you take on enemies, but the bulk of the game is a freeing experience that encourages being light as a feather, fast as the wind, and taking in every inch of your surroundings.The other major mechanic is taking and giving life energy to both yourself and your surroundings. By bringing the environments back to life, you’re helping to keep your ability to respawn active, and likewise there will be times when you’ll have to take from the environment for extra speed/power/etc. in order to clear large distances, take on enemies, and other similar situations.
Besides the main quest, there are collectables to uncover and writings scattered throughout the land. This is where exploring every inch of your surroundings comes into play. Despite the environments being somewhat empty, the sheer scope and vastness of them, combined with the collectables, is enough to keep you invested and hungry for discovery from moment to moment.If there’s a major downside to playing through Valley on the Switch, it’s the visuals. While the game is a few years old at this point, the graphical downgrade is still fairly obvious- perhaps even to those who haven’t played it before. It just doesn’t look as high-def as it does on other platforms. Similar to other FPS experiences like Doom, visual compromise is just something you have to accept when approaching a bigger title like this on Nintendo’s enjoyable but slightly limited platform. Certain environments appear murky and unclear, and textures can often look blurry and muddy.
While I’d normally suggest playing the game on another platform if you had the ability, Valley on the Switch is such a charming, investing experience- perhaps when played in handheld mode. As such, if you’re a new player, or looking to revisit a modern classic, give this edition a spin. I’m sure you’ll enjoy your time with it.