Knights of Frontier Valley is an adventure with role-playing, survival, as well as strategy elements, and a focus on being replayable many times.
The game is story-driven but stays true to its roguelike concept through a procedural world, challenging difficulty, and an old-school style of gameplay with little hand-holding.
Unlike many other RPGs, which can take weeks or months of playtime to complete, a full game of Knights of Frontier Valley is usually finished within a few days or less, depending on your style of playing and the number of side quests you choose to pursue.
While a single game is relatively short, it is so without sacrificing depth, and winning is much harder than with casual games. If you enjoy an exciting challenge that fits your busy lifestyle, Knights of Frontier Valley is for you.
Atmosphere is valued over everything else. The immersive soundtrack contains over two hours of music – some of it performed by the popular European medieval crossover band Krless.
The game is divided into chapters, each representing two years of the hero’s life. The goal is to survive twenty years. There are many dangers in the Valley, and making it to the end is hard.
Every chapter contains a main quest which varies based on your character’s skills, faction relations, and the particular world your adventure plays in.
When the main quest is fulfilled, the remaining time of the chapter can be “fast-forwarded” – this is optional, so open side quests can still be completed.
If the main quest is not completed within the chapter’s timeframe, life goes on and a new chapter begins.
There is no need to complete any of the quests; however, it is a missed opportunity to gain power and influence, which might be needed to survive through the later years. Challenges will only increase over time, as your opponents won’t be idle.
Death is the only way of losing the game. If that happens (and it will, in many games), it is permanent.
However, it is also a good reason for starting another game, with a new character, in a new world. That’s too much fun to be sad about!
At the end of a game, a score is given based on the number of years survived, quests fulfilled, enemies defeated, treasures found, and other factors. After the game is won for the first time, the challenge will shift to beating the high score, and winning with a different type of character.
Large and dark forests, wide and open grasslands, steep mountains and hills, crystal-colored lakes, and mysterious swamps shape the landscape of the Valley.
The unscalable “Mountain Range” has been blocking the way out ever since a series of violent earthquakes destroyed the only passage to the outside world decades ago. The younger generation, to which you belong, has never seen the outside. For you, this is home.
Winters are exceptionally harsh and leave most areas covered in snow. Lakes freeze up, and not even the warmer, swampy corners of the Valley escape the cold completely. In recent years, more men have died from freezing than from fighting enemies.
Cities and towns provide protection against wild animals, bandits, and bands of marauding goblins or trolls. Leaving the safety of their settlement without an armed escort is something only few men dare.
But true fame cannot be gained by hiding behind stone walls. The call of the wild and the lure of crumbling ruins filled with ancient secrets is strong. You intend to be remembered as one of those who dared to go where others didn’t.
Explore a new world with different maps, cities, dungeons, characters, and faction relations in each game.
Factions provide protection and information, and will help their members in need. They also offer unique quests. In return, they expect you to follow their rules, fight their enemies, and help other members as well.
There are many factions that will hire an aspiring adventurer, but not all of them might be a good fit for you. Choose wisely who you swear your allegiance to, if anyone. While it is sometimes possible to switch factions, it might not be easy… and your disloyalty won’t be forgotten by the ones you turned your back to.
You can join any human faction unless your reputation or profession conflicts with its values. Some of them might require a certain level of experience before they entrust you with an important role.
As a Fighter or Ranger, you can join the City of Thyle or the Order of Saint Audin to become a Knight or Scout in the service of the royal forces. You can also become a Spy or an Emissary for the City, if you want to support the human cause in a less martial way.
Join the Temple of Simiae as a Healer if it is your calling to help those in need, or become a Warrior Monk to fight the enemies of the faith.
Magic is rare and feared by most citizens, and those who choose to practice a school of magic other than the Temple’s healing powers are often cast out from society and forced to live a life in solitude.
Sometimes, such a hermit wizard might accept an apprentice in order to socialize and to pass on his knowledge. But this opportunity is rare, and becoming a master of the arcane is a long and cumbersome process. Your new powers are best kept secret when visiting town.
There are other options, especially for those who don’t value other people’s property or life very much. It will not be easy for you to find those who serve a dark purpose and prefer to stay in hiding… but they might find you.
Several races have been in the Valley long before humans arrived. While their factions can’t be joined, they can become friends or foes.
Goblins are strong in numbers, and consider men as intruders and a threat that needs to be dealt with. They cannot compete with them in power or courage though, which has led to a stalemate situation.
Trolls are simple-minded creatures who don’t really like anyone; however, they also don’t fear anyone. They especially despise (and sometimes eat) goblins, who they see as weak cowards. Goblins are terrified of trolls, and might even ally with humans to avoid ending up on the trolls’ menu.
Lizardmen are seclusive and mysterious. As they rarely leave their homes in the swamp, humans have not been able to gather much information about them.
Yet other creatures inhabit the Valley, and some of them might have their own, dangerous agenda. It might be best to find out if a storm is brewing somewhere out there.
Combat is turn-based with optionally timed turns.
By default, as time passes during a turn, action points gradually expire, reducing the activities that can still be performed – the longer you wait, the less you can do.
Swinging a sword at your enemy, for example, is a quick action, and there is enough time to think about who to attack.
Accessing your inventory, however, will require all given action points, so it needs to be done before any of them expire.
Taking off your backpack and sifting through your belongings in the midst of combat just doesn’t leave much time for anything else, let alone standing idle.
Having turns be time-limited makes combat feel more hectic, which is the intended experience in Knights of Frontier Valley. However, the feature can be turned off if you prefer a more classic turn-based gameplay. As this makes the game easier to win, it adds a penalty to the score.