Lots of games ask you to save the world by commanding armies, zapping aliens, or foiling a supervillain’s plot. Valleys Between has you do it by gently transforming nature.
With a small plot of wilderness before you, swipe up on a hexagonal grid to change spots of bare dirt into grass, grass into trees and rows of trees into forests. Creating forests opens up empty space at the bottom of the screen, while your newly lush landscapes scroll off the top.
Because forming all-important forests requires at least three adjacent trees, you’ll need to think ahead to not end up with scattered, disconnected terrain tiles. And as new columns of land appear, so do environmental hazards, like wildfires, polluting factories and the occasional sinister obelisk. If you don’t deal with these before their timers run down, they’ll wreak havoc on your ecosystem.
Adorable animals beautify the landscape and help neutralise threats.
Luckily, there are adorable animals – foxes, ducks, bears and many more you’ll unlock – that beautify the landscape and help neutralise threats. Guide a deer next to an oil-belching factory, then swipe up to turn the structure into a peaceful windmill. Or manoeuvre a duck next to an obelisk and swipe up to demolish it.
Success is measured by how many years you can keep your world safe from harm. Your first couple of attempts might not go too far, but as the game’s subtle, puzzlelike mechanics sink in, your creations will last for centuries and, if you’re good enough, maybe even millennia.