Cheers, TotalBiscuit -- thanks for stopping by the forums as well as for taking a look at Valley.
I think there is indeed some inherent risk of doing a "first impressions" piece on any game, and you're always going to catch some flak for that. I think it's also one valuable way to look at things from the point of view of a consumer, and as a developer it's extremely valuable. One of the biggest things we got out of our showing at PAX East was hundreds of first impressions -- we had to really keep things moving through in terms of giving each player about 15 minutes to get in, play around, and leave, so we captured a lot of first impressions. In its own way that was just as valuable as people who had been a part of our beta for 6 months and commented the whole way. You only get to make a first impression once, after all.
I will say that I think some games lend themselves fairly poorly to that sort of format -- AI War, for instance, which you never did a WTF for (thank you). Any sort of game where there's 5+ hours of tutorials is pretty damn hard to review in general. With Valley we really tried to hit something more in the middle: where players could come in and just explore around and have some fun for a while, and then eventually get to doing the missions and so forth when they felt like it; but which has the depth for those who want to sink their teeth into it in a major way.
It's always a tricky balance, and in our case in particular I felt like your WTF was evenhanded and took a look at the basics of the game while commenting numerous times that there was more. Even going into things like how the maps work and such was something a lot of folks wouldn't have bothered to do, so I appreciate that.
The comment on wanting a Terraria-like control scheme option is something we've just started hearing in the last couple of days from some players shortly before your video. Go figure! Not having played Terraria, I didn't know how they did it. We're looking at some options for ways to make it so that everyone can play in a mode that is most comfortable for them: I don't think there's any way to please everyone with one control scheme, and we don't try. Mostly we use the default control scheme that we have because it is pretty powerful in its own right, but it's also the one that most players seem to pick up intuitively right from the start. So if they can at least be competent, and then later realize they want to tweak this or that, that's better than the alternative I think. It's always a tricky balancing act when you have lots of people with differing gaming backgrounds that you're trying to make sure all have a smooth transition into a game.
At any rate, I know a handful of indie developers who you've ruffled the feathers of with what they felt like was an unfair WTF, but I'm not among them. I wasn't over the moon about everything you said, but I also don't think it's the job of anyone claiming to do a review to say exactly what the product-maker wants to hear. This is turning into a serious wall of text so I'll leave it there, but I did want to say that I appreciate the coverage and the fairmindedness of how you went about it.
P.S. -- In the case of AVWW, I don't think anyone can claim you are inept given how well you kited the shadow bats while narrating.
I've played games while narrating before, and it can be bloody hard to do at the best of times.