Is gaming all about the visuals? Well, The Vale: Shadow of the Crown is here to prove otherwise, providing an audio-focused gaming experience to Xbox and PC.
Created in collaboration with the Canadian National Institute for the Blind (CNIB), The Vale: Shadow of the Crown is Falling Squirrel’s attempt at proving that games do not need the most highly detailed, super fancy visuals ever in order to be a success. In fact, they don’t need any visuals at all.
Available to purchase and download right now on Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S and PC (initially through Steam and then further down the line via the Epic Games Store), The Vale: Shadow of the Crown arrives at full release with a host of awards under its belt – mostly for the very different tact that it is attempting.
You see, The Vale: Shadow of the Crown gives up the graphical cues and fully focuses on audio implementation, providing a rather distinct take on the usual action combat scenarios that we have grown to love. It’s this, and the fact that the CNIB have been massively involved, that will mean The Vale: Shadow of the Crown is pretty much perfect for anyone and everyone, those with low-vision or blind gamers included.
It makes the most of some of the latest in assistive tech, including utilising binaural audio and haptic controller feedback. This should ensure that The Vale: Shadow of the Crown delivers one of the most immersive experiences you could ever imagine, all whilst seeing players move their way through a thrilling adventure.
It’s the Falling Squirrel team which have made this a reality, committed to bringing more inclusive and accessible games to the mainstream. What’s more, they gone about employing visually impaired voice actors and developers to make it all happen.
But what is The Vale: Shadow of the Crown? Well, it sees you embarking on a journey of the Second-to-the-throne, one blind from birth and has recently been exiled to the outer reaches of the kingdom. It’s up to you to help them explore the world around them, fighting off enemies, taking in interactive combat, hunting for resources and gear, and, ultimately, losing themselves in the most rich of narratives.
“We’re thrilled to invite players to try out a unique and accessible take on the action-adventure genre,” said David Evans, Falling Squirrel Founder and Creative Director. “We hope that what we’ve learned during The Vale: Shadow of the Crown will prove that games in a variety of genres — from indie to AAA — can be made accessible to blind and low vision gamers so that they can enjoy the same exciting experiences as sighted players.”
We’ve been intrigued by how Falling Squirrel have approached this method of game telling every since first hearing about The Vale: Shadow of the Crown back in 2020. In fact, we spent some time with the studio founder and director, David Evans, in order to find out more about the game. It’s well worth some of your time.
Key features include:
- 5 hours+ gameplay.
- Specialized 3D audio provide an incredibly immersive game experience.
- Action-adventure with RPG elements: Choose equipment, play-style, magic abilities, companions and quests.
- Emotionally engaging story, quality sound design and voice performance.
- Fully blind accessible
- Headphones recommended for best experience
We’re currently working our way through The Vale: Shadow of the Crown and will drop some review thoughts as to how this plays out on Xbox Series X|S in the days coming. If you just want to throw your cash down on what could well be one of the most unique gaming experiences you’ve ever played, get over to the Xbox Store and nail a download. Expect to pay in the region of £16.74. You’ll also find the game available on PC through Steam.
Let us know how you get on with it.
The Vale: Shadow of the Crown is a story driven, action-adventure that utilizes the full potential of 3D audio and haptic controller feedback to deliver visceral gameplay that shatters the barrier between player and character. As an audio based game, The Vale sets out to breathe new life into medieval combat and provide a truly novel experience for visually impaired and sighted gamers alike.