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Völgarr the Viking – Are you up to this Retro Style Challenge?

For this preview, I am discussing Völgarr the Viking, a game by Crazy Viking Studios. The game was released on Steam for PC in 2013 and has received numerous awards by different rating sites and game sources, including IGM Game of the Year for 2013 and Most Challenging Game of 2013 from Indie Game Insider. Having been released last year, it would seem to be an older Indie title, but it was only just released in October 2014 for Xbox One. The game is under $10 and for Xbox Live members it is free-so why wait? What is this game about anyway? Let me tell you.

This title reaches back to my childhood, a childhood in the early days of Nintendo and Atari. So I am used to games like this platformer that make no excuses for being difficult and not holding your hand. This game does the same-and pushes players to really play the game so much that they develop muscle memory for the commands and know where the enemies are located. This also means that Völgarr makes players play through each long world without saved checkpoints, as the classics used to do. They do allow players to continue only after reaching a new world.

With this in mind, players today who are used to these features on new consoles and PC will have a real problem in my opinion. With busier schedules and less time to sit around than they used to have-the game’s target audience may not find it as enjoyable to re-play levels over and over. I know I do not have as much time to do this as in the good old days.

For gamers who want to challenge themselves and feel that they wish to try a retro title with the nerve to not hold back on the punishment to players who fail to master the levels-I recommend this title to them. Just plan on laying out ample time to at least get through the boss fight to move on to the next world.

The game starts nicely and throws players into the mix like older games and the graphics fit with the feel of that time. Gameplay is done well, level design and music are good, and the difficulty and challenge exist. The only other problem, other than lack of saved progress in worlds, is the jumping in Völgarr. I know they wanted to capture older titles and the rough feel of platformers, but some of the jumping collision was off due to the lack of the ability for players to just jump and push over when standing next to a ledge that would get them to a better jumping start point-to the point I died many times on the first couple sections of spikes. Without this flaw I find the game to my liking and hope readers will give it a try.

Benjamin Pope is a Game Design and Art/Animation student at the University of Advancing Technology working toward giving something back to the gaming industry through great, deep and addictive game titles. Here is my blog.