Posted: September 22, 2013
Volgarr the Viking by Crazy Viking Studios
Simply put, Volgarr is just old-school classic fun!
Volgarr is a classic (but brand-new) side-scrolling platforming/adventure game flirting with the Super Nintendo and Sega Genesis and the likes.
The game's look and feel is spot-on, with Castlevania-esque jumping (no turning back midair) and Super Mario's (I know it's not the real influence but whatever) health by upgrades.
The single most important thing about Volgarr the Viking is DIFFICULTY, it's hard...seriously!
Sidenote: If you want a video review I recommend ProJared's review which can be viewed here: http://youtu.be/XCiLyWO8DwU
(Note that ProJared's complaint about the Zoomed-Out View has been fixed as it now can be set to Toggle in the Options menu)
You are a badass, crazy Viking called Völgarr and you are summoned by Odin to take out a bad guy called Fafnir who is obtaining power (of course!)
The game's plot is pretty simple and that's basically all you will absorb and without giving you any spoilers!
- Jump. Amazing, right?
- Attack with your sword, jumping, crouching or not.
- Throw spears, both standing upright and while jumping. When you get the iron shield (Thor's Shield), you can hold the spear and let loose SUPERCHARGED spears which usually skewers all enemies it passes through instead of just killing the first thing it hits.
- Dodge roll, which lets you pass through most enemies to get a better angle for attack, or for just simply getting through small enterances.
Important to note (and this is one of the games best mechanics) is that thrown spears will get stuck in walls it hit, making it a platform to jump up to. This gives you tons of possibilites and great potential to work around certain difficult places by using the room to your advantage.
When in the air you can also press down to make Völgarr point his sword downwards, making the impact you make, rather messy (if you catch my drift)
You can also double-jump which makes you pull out your sword and perform a somersault which is a good way to challenge enemies midair or secure landing on a platform. Of course it also helps your platforming as you can change direction in your otherwise fixed jump arcs.
Note that there are many ways to use these techniques in conjunction or in different ways to make for some very interesting solutions! (Example: Try jumping, point your sword down and successfully touch an enemy and immediately use your second jump!)
You start with a simple sword and later you can find chests with upgrades like a wooden shield, an iron shield, a helmet and lastly a great sword of fire!
When you are hit you lose the last gear you obtained and you have to find another chest to restore it, if you get down to only a sword left and get hit, you die.
Speaking of dying, you have in the regular levels only 2 respawn points per world and it's in the beginning of the level and one half-way through (I just call it stage/phase/part 2), so if you die you have to often play through larger parts of the level.
It sort of becomes a longer, adventurous version of Super Meat Boy, you get a level with fixed enemy positions (most of the time) and you get to learn by trying.
When you finally beat the level you will most likely have remembered every single enemy position and how you best handle them.
If you manage to play the levels without getting hit you will start finding treasure instead of gear as you hit your upgrade cap. The gold acts as a hi-score along with your completion time but what matters more is if you find Warrior's Spirits which lets you play the special levels if you complete the level without dying (you lose one spirit per death).
The game have regular levels and special levels, the difference between them is that you have unlimited retries for regular levels but in the special levels you have as much extra lives as you have found Warrior's Spirits the levels before.
If you manage to complete the special words and find all the Runes you get the best ending, if you just complete the special worlds without runes you get the second best ending and if you don't beat the game through the special levels you get the "worst" ending.
So it's really challenging to get the best ending but just completing the game for the worst ending will be a challenge enough for your first playthrough and will feel rewarding enough (believe me on this one!). Later you can try and go for death-less runs, damage-less runs, speedruns or try and collect achievements and get all endings.
Volgarr the Viking is an absolutely stunning game which will test your limits. Whether or not you have never bought a game in the "retro" section or you are tired of "another Pixel Art Indie game". I definetly think you should look past that and give this game a try.
One of the few gripes is that the game can be rather short if you turn out to be a fast learner,
Whatever you decide to do you will get a lot of hours of fun, charming and passionately crafted gaming in world that wants nothing more than to break you!
I strongly recommend this game if you want some classic fun, a good challenge or to just make blood and bones fly all over the screen.