Valdis Story: Abyssal City is a lovingly crafted indie game that is one part Igarashi, one part Kamiya. If you understand that statement, you might already be salivating and should probably just stop reading now and buy the game, as you are likely to enjoy it. For everyone else, I’ll babble on for a bit as to why this could be one of the best indie games of the year.
First, the formalities. Valdis Story is developed by Endless Fluff Games. The game can be purchased via a variety of digital game stores including Steam, Desura and GOG. You can also purchase directly from the developer at http://www.valdisstory.com/. This is my preferred method as you will get a DRM-free copy and a Steam key and the developer gets a larger cut of the money.
Valdis Story an action-adventure game with some light RPG elements a deep combat system. Exploration and movement is done in 2D platforming style. You’ll get several items and magic spells over the course of the game that will expands where and how you can explore the game’s variety of areas. Combat is where the game really shines. Things start off simple, with the light and heavy attacks and a simple guard. But things get more and more complex starting with the game’s “skill cancel” ability, which allows you to cancel out of any attack or combo and start over. Things can be chained together in several ways, attacks can be comboed and then chained into magic spells, canceled and repeated in a different order. It’s hard to wrap every little detail about the combat up in a little review like this, but it’s crazy good, frantic and complex and smooth and once you start to wrap your head around how everything works you’ll make even battles with small monsters look incredible.
The combat system is layered even further with the game’s leveling system. You get to choose where to put your stats upon leveling up. Do you go for pure strength or pump up your magic attacks? And beyond the stats are the skill trees. You’ll get to customize your character’s abilities from three tree sets focusing on attacks, defensive maneuvers and magical abilities. Do you want an extra attack to you base combo, the ability to stagger enemies when you block attack or do you want to your spells to cause debilitating status effects? Having played through the game a few times and gone with wildly different builds, I am pleased to say it makes a huge difference. But it doesn’t even stop there. Weapons and armors can be upgraded with items found in treasure chests and from defeated enemies. Which items you choose to upgrade (and in some cases HOW you upgrade them) can offer another layer of variety. The level of customization is just incredible. All of this attention to detail in battle system and character customization really pops in the game’s boss battles.
The game should take around ten to twelve hours to finish. But there’s plenty to this game to warrant repeated adventures. There’s a second character with a different combat style, different weapons and different skill trees (and two additional characters coming later on), there’s several difficulty levels and sixty achievements (in the Steam version). And as I said before, the level of customization could make playing the game with the same character on the same difficulty feel different.
Some of the enemies of game are referred to as angels and devils and the plot involves gods to an extent, although this is mythological usage of these terms as opposed to theological. There is mild cartoon violence and some mild language. The game itself may be slightly too difficult or complex for some kids and even on the easiest difficulty level, bosses need more than jumping and attacking to defeat. –Leroy Capasso