April 8, 2013 12:00 PM | Anthony Swinnich
Mixing genres in video games is a lot like mixing different foods. Some stuff, like chocolate and peanut butter sound how they're going to taste, similar to how puzzle-platformers shouldn't surprise anyone. Other combinations, like maple syrup and bacon on vanilla ice cream sound a little questionable at first but may be delicious when tried. Valence is a mixture of sidescrolling shooting and the roguelike genre, which may send some sets of tastebuds into mouthwatering territory. Here's a peek behind the recipe Sets and Settings is putting together.
Valence stars Brigitte Helm, an ex-robotics engineer tasked with ending a robot riot in a manufacturing plant. Putting a stop to the riot, of course, means going in guns-a-blazin'! Each of the game's eight levels has a miniboss and a normal boss which, when defeated, will grant you an upgrade to your weapon. These enemies have ten variants and each variant has a different attack, so what upgrade you receive will be directly tied to their abilities. There's a chance you might receive five poison upgrades in a row and have a powerful concentration on that one element, but you might also end up with something more diverse, like explosive damage mixed with a triple shot, homing bullets, slowing effects and only one poison. Elements would be weaker individually, but they provide a powerful effect together.
Of course, the randomization doesn't stop there. The levels themselves are randomly generated in typical roguelike fashion, so don't expect the exact same experience on subsequent sessions. Things like enemy placement, enemy type, room layout and environmental hazards are all subject to change. One thing that will be set in stone is the story. Sets and Settings are keeping their cards close to their chest on that aspect but they told me it's an important element of the game nonetheless.
A release date for Valence has yet to be set, but a demo should be available on the PC by the end of the year. No plans have been made for a console version at this point, though Sets and Settings mentioned they're intrigued by Sony's recent interest in the indie development scene.