Wednesday, September 25, 2013

PC Spotlight #12: Volgarr The Viking

Title: Volgarr The Viking
Developer: Crazy Viking Studios
Platforms: PC
Price: 11.99
You will die. A lot. Enter the world of Volgarr The Viking with that knowledge and accept it. This is a game built from the ground up to deliver old-school hard-as-nails challenge and it does not disappoint. The retro games that inspired Volgarr may be before my time, but as a fan of Dark Souls and brutal platformers, I feel right at home
The controls are tight and responsive and the platforming and level design is tough, very tough but never feels unfair. I've played with both a keyboard and controller and both work equally well. In fact, I was surprised that I prefer using the keyboard. The combat is the highlight for me though. I haven't felt so satisfied with combat in a game since well...Dark Souls. Every enemy must be taken seriously because every hit is dangerous. The smooth controls and animations combine to make you feel like a Viking badass in every encounter. Combat is no button mashing affair; button mashing will only get you killed faster. Instead every fight is a combination of timing, reflexes, and split-second reactions. You only have a handful of attacks but each is useful and I never felt like I needed more. Do you have enough time to charge your spear to skewer that group of enemies? Or is it smarter to dodge behind them and gain some breathing room? Timing your attacks to avoid getting hit yourself and recognizing the strengths of each enemy and adapting according also enhances the combat.
Each level is varied as are the enemies and there's quite a bit of replay value. There are six worlds to play through, each with their own enemy types and hazards to avoid, with alternate levels to play if you don't die as much. There's a seventh world to be unlocked by the most skilled of players. I'm not sure if I'll ever see that last world, but each attempt is rewarding and exhilarating as the last. Each death is a learning process, from which you become better and better until you can master each world.
You can purchase Volgarr The Viking on Steam or directly from the developer (for a DRM-free copy and a Steam key) for $11.99.

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