In ‘The Vale: Shadow of the Crown,’ a medieval role-playing game, the developers had one primary goal in mind: the game should be playable by players who have limited to no visual ability. In order to accomplish this, there are no graphics at all; instead, you are guided through the game’s fantastical world by a rich audioscape.
You will be playing the role of Alexandra, a princess who was born blind and is the second in line to the throne. A convoy carrying Alexandra is ambushed by an invading army on the way from the kingdom to a small castle on its outskirts as her older brother assumes the role of king. Having escaped and made her way back home, Alexandra is in need of your assistance. You will be relying solely on your ears and instincts for guidance throughout her journey.
Everyone and everything has been created with accessibility in mind, including the audio description that is provided for every menu item, including the screen that displays your inventory. Because of the excellent voice acting, you’ll be completely immersed in the ruthless medieval world of The Vale.
Because there is no visual information available, the player must rely on his or her hearing to navigate through the environment. Headphones are required because the gameplay is dependent on 3D audio. You move in the direction of clanging metal in order to locate the smithy, or in the direction of small squeaks and nibbles in order to locate rats in the inn’s basement to squash. The position of your shield or sword during combat is dictated by where you hear your opponent coming from.
Falling Squirrel has created something truly unique with The Vale, and if you’re interested in checking it out, it’s available on Steam, the Epic Games Store, and itch.io. For more information, visit the official website. Just make sure you’re wearing a good pair of headphones before you begin to play the game.