Well, I spent a fair amount of time playing this game and wanted to share my opinion on this very peculiar game. I figured out that giving direct feedback here on the forums help the developpers a lot. I am not a professional reviewer but I will try to point everything out.Story & Background
Well the universe and background of AVWW ist certainly unique and very creative. It is a different approach to this genre than usual and provides an interesting experience. It will leave you with a certain feel that you want more of it.
The active story though is somewhat lacking and nearly not-existing, which isn't really bad but (most 4X games have noone and you have to somewhat create your own story). There are also many unexplained things, it add to the mystery but overall there is just no real explanation. Then the missions are not really tied together, they feel a bit loose. Also the fight against the ovelord and liberation of continent is not really present, feels like the player alone is fighting this war. No sense of rebellion against the forces of the overlord. A minor suggestion would be that you could find addtional glyphbearers in the field fighting other enemies, so that there is a feeling of having a war.
But anyway, story is not really the most important aspect, it just explains why the players has to do certain things and plays just as a background.Graphics & Sounds
Let's talk about the obvious things first, as often mentioned the visuals are unusual and weird, not necessarily bad but they are really odd. But they are sharp and colourful, it just needs a bit to get used to. The outdoors area look marvelous and fantastic, also the variety of spirtes such as buildings is great, for the indoor areas, some texture simply look out of place and do not fit together. The effects are great, but some of the espers and spells look similiar and battles can be chaotic and flashy. The UI is great, maps are great and customizable. Visuals are a pretty subjective topic but there are definitly some issues there but I like it.
The sound effects are really solid and do a great job, there is a lot of variety and everything sounds natural. The soundtrack however is simply mindblowing (at least for me) I love the catchy tunes and retro sounds. Hands down!Gameplay
Plattforming works well and is great fun, due to the precise controls. Combat is also really cool although can be bit shallow in certain situations. Generally though dodging enemy fire and countering with different spells is challenging and provides a nice experience. I noticed that the combat is a lot more rewarding on higher difficulties and even more challenging, enhancing the tactical aspect.
The spells are a neat mechanic, there is a large variety of spells, some are really whitty. For instance the shrink spell and flaming snake which unveils the map. Those are really unique and usuefull spells, on the other sides some are not really effective. As often mentioned you only use a few and there is no really motivation to level up every spell.
Exploring is really great and one of the strongest points of this game, the random generation provides a good amount of different maps. Finding Enchantements is really great and they have varied rewards, I am really crazy about those canisters.
Missions are varied and pretty fun to play (except that horrible meteor shower nonsense). A neat thing to add would be dynamic side missions that appear during maps, for instance imagine finding other glyphbearers that fight monster and that you can help. Or escorting some civilians outside an area or giving certain supplies to another glyphbearer in a dire situation. It would spice up the random exploration.
Gathering ressources and supplies is rewarding and personally I like it a lot, it enhances the exploration even more. Although it can be frustrating when you simply can't find certain materials. It can also lead to grinding, some players gave the game some bad critisicsm saying that it is a pure "grind fest", but I beg to differ. The game exactly tells you where you can find those materials and even how much of chance you have of finding it. If you play aimlessly you will grind a lot.Gamemechanics
Above all else the game does a fantastic job at explaining what things do, there is loads to read but the game never lets you all alone on your own. That is really a big plus!
First of the procedurally generated worlds are a big plus for this game, it enhances the replayablity a lot and it is always fun to discover new places. Sometimes you will find boring areas but mostly the engine does a good job. (also I LOVE random generated worlds)
Unlocking higher spells was a bit confusing at first, with all the tiers and different materials that you need. Sometimes it takes a bit to get those spells. But generally it works how it should.
Upgrading your settlements is bad, it sounds great on theory but that aspect of the game needs some improvement. There is no real sense of progression and feels to pointless. Besides the names of those buildings/ ressources are irritating and confusing. (Conscious shards, Guardian Scrolls, Lumbermancy..? what?) Furthermore building your settlement is to slowpaced, some ressources are rally rare and hard to come by. There is also a lack of overview on the progression of your settlement. It would be neat if you had a topdown viewscreen of your settlement and choose where to build builidings which all the stats, it would be a neat gimmick. (Browsergames like Tribal or Trivian have that)
Generally ressources are well thought out and have all their purpose, it is confusing at first but once you got the hook of the game you will know where to search stuff. As mentioned some names of those are really hard to remember and sound confusing.Miscellaneous
Some menus need a bit of improvement, you have to click a lot to get the stuff that you want or look after. So a small revamp would be decent. But the newly added shopping list is already an improvement.
Maybe adding a button in the menu to a F.A.Q. or Wiki would be neat. Some things are still quite unclear and that would really help a lot. Just a minor thing to add instead of manually opening a wiki.
Some character customization would be cool, maybe that the player can change the looks of his glyphbearer. Although Arcen stated that is not an rpg. But that could be a neat gimmick.
Adding some hidden items that reveal some background info or stories about some people on the continent, that would definitely enhance the atmosphere and lore. The graves were really great!
There is also an issue considering the purpose of normal enemies and that they should reward the player. I thought of something, why not add a currency to the game? Not necessarily money but a ressource that is really valuable and acts as currency in the world of Environ. Mobs could drop them and also those minor sidemissions that I suggested could reward the player with that currency. Finally the currency can be used to buy and sell things to a merchant in the settlementt. I really like the idea of having merchants, it would enhance the motivation to explore more and gain more materials. The merchant would buy goods an sell you stuff, the only problem I see is what he could sell besides of some basic goods. If he would sell advcanced materials and to many goods, the aspect of scavenging for ressources vanishes or becomes less important. But I liked the idea to barter in games.
To finish I really like the active posting of the Arcen Games staff, it really feels like they care and try to improve the game as much as possible, feels good to know that the game will be enhanced in the future. The game got updated several times now and all the improvements are great so far. Kudos to you guys.
Add some other weapons, this is just a personal thing. I would like if there would be some swords, spears, guns or anything like that. But the game is laid out for the spells, but perhaps later on that might be added and also how to upgrade them an such.
My final verdict is that it is an unsual game, it feels different and still needs some polish. But overall it is a little gem that can give you countless hours of enjoyement. It might not be a popular game but it is a hit or miss game. It might be suited for some players but definitly not everyone. Still I want to see where this game is going. I just keep playing it
Hope I could help!