Like a modern Sonic The Hedgehog game, Valley’s run-and-jump gameplay is a whole lot of fun when you’re going fast, but the moment it slows you down it’s dull and annoying. Over its four hours this happens far too often: to expose you to a storyline that has no stakes or stakeholders, to explore its colorful but empty world, or to fight painfully repetitive battles. It’s hard to get invested when there’s little to care about, and the gameplay never provides any of the addictive challenge it really needs.
Valley’s first-person, mech-suit-powered platforming gets its excitement from playing with momentum – running down a hill will pick up speed, letting you launch yourself across colossal gaps. It’s a thrill that has you look at the world in a different way – there could be a hill you can speed your way down, just to be flung off of a jump at the very bottom, landing you safely on a platform that looked unreachable from the ground. In those fast-paced sequences, you feel a whole lot like a superhero, but sometimes Valley’s own mechanics have a habit of ruining them.