I watched all six minutes and twenty-two seconds of The Lost Valley's [Greenlight page] trailer expecting a jump scare. I've come to associate pretty 'realistic' natural landscapes with sandbox survival and jump 'em ups, and appropriately expect cannibals, sharks, and Slender Men. No, not here. It's simply six minutes of someone wandering down forested paths, wading through streams, and poking around scraps of abandoned civilisation.
Curiously, the makers' last game was one of those pretty world spookfests, Lex Mortis [Steam page], which seems to be praised for prettiness but cursed for many of its gamey bits. Sorted!
The Lost Valley sees a cyclist tumble into a forgotten place, needing to reach the shore and a boat to escape. And, as far as I can tell, that's it. No monsters, no crafting, no combat. Splendid.
The Russia developers say, "In case you are tired of zombies and shooters, and you wish to enjoy amazing beauty of nature and calm atmospheric environment then 'The Lost Valley' is the very game you need so much." I'd stress that you can enjoy all these things - half my favourite games might not even have a protagonist, while the other half have revolvers bigger than your torso - but yes, I'm certainly up for wandering.
I'm actually curious about how a non-surreal walking simulator will even feel. The dreamy quality of many walking simulators encourages drifting into them, going deep into imagination space. Might I end up tutting at pop-in and wondering whether that stream flows too fast to draw dragonflies? I hope not.
It's on Steam Greenlight now and apparently due for release between April 6-10.
I've also got my eye on another wandering sort of game by a Russian developer, 35MM. It does have a spot of gunplay and a few goals and whatnot, but along a long trip walked with a friend and your trusty camera. I am keen to see more of it.