Before I say this I should say there is a good chance this is complete bullshit that has no real firm basis in anything, but this is something that occurred to me.
I repeat, this could possibly be complete crap so anyone prone to doing bodily harm to themselves face-palming should look away.
Seriously, this could be really terrible.
Anyway, I think I might have noticed one of the major factors that determine whether or not someone would enjoy A Valley Without Wind.
Virtually every side-scrolling adventure game or platformer out there relies on a relatively consistent flow of short term rewards. There are long term goals, but they generally stay in the background and are not as prominent as the make-it-up-as-you-go gameplay. Players usually focus on the immediate and current situation or problem. Tasks and rewards tend to work within this short term time frame.
A Valley Without Wind, in its current state, does not work this way. It's tasks and reward systems are more similar to that of a Strategy or 4X game. Most "rewards" come from interaction between various goals in a much longer term context. Some players find it jarring that individual boss battles, items, and other tasks seem to mean so little in A Valley Without Wind. This is because in the world of A Valley Without Wind these aren't as much goals in themselves as they are sub-goals. They are not special as they are simply means to an end in a much larger context.
Whenever I play a conventional platformer or Metroidvania I'm absorbed in the moment, that moment, within the context of a few minutes. I am thinking of the future somewhat, but I'm not really worrying about it. I'm thinking about "I'm trying to get here", or "I'm trying to kill this boss", or "I'm trying to kill this enemy". My mindset is very moment to moment.
Whenever I play A Valley Without Wind, I'm not using the same mindset even though I'm engaging in similar gameplay. I'm not just thinking of the "now" I'm thinking of the 1, 2, 3, maybe even 4 hours from now. Everything I'm doing "now" I don't think of as a task, goal, and reward in itself, but merely the means to an end objective that may not pay off until much farther into the future. I'm thinking of wind shelter placement, of which spells I want to maintain, of where I'm going to deploy that next "seek resources/npc" guardian power, and of how long I should put off taking on a Lieutenant and what I should get first. These are things that often won't happen or I won't get around to for maybe even another hour.
I don't think of short term things like finding items or killing bosses being rewarding in of themselves, and I don't expect them to be. This is because aren't objectives to me, they're merely means to an end as part of much longer term objectives.
I think that might be what really separates AVWW from other games in the genre and what might be putting off some people.
Personally, I play Metroidvanias as well as platformers and shmups. On the other hand, I'm also a huge military sim and tactical shooter fan, I also like flight-sims and space-sims, and I also play slow-paced strategy games.
When I play A Valley Without Wind, I'm often in the mindset of the latter types of games when it comes to making decisions. What I mean by that is that I'm not fussed about the smaller details and moments when it comes to how I'm being rewarded, as they're all just means to a much larger end.
Someone who's used to thinking of and judging platformers with the former mindset is not going to be too enthused about how AVWW rewards players for tasks. AVWW doesn't do much to reward the small stuff, because currently in AVWW's world, they're means to an end and not ends in themselves.
Anyway, there's my probably crappy crackpot theory on this.