Tuesday, September 29, 2015

PC Review #128: Jotun

Title: Jotun
Developer: Thunder Lotus Games
Platforms: PC, Mac, Linux
Price: $14.99
From Titan Quest to Kratos' gory ramapages in God of War, Greek mythology has been well-represented in gaming. In recent years, a wave of games revolving around Norse tales have released or are in development, from The Banner Saga and Eitr to Trial By Viking and Niffelheim. Jotun brings the lands and deities of Norse myth to gorgeous life through hand-drawn animations and vivid art designs.
You play as Thora, a fearless Viking warrior, felled not on the battlefield but by the raging sea. But Thora has been given a second chance to impress the gods and earn entry into Valhalla. Thora must travel through purgatory and slay five massive Jotun, giant elemental beings that can go toe-to-toe with a god. What chance does a human warrior have against these towering foes?

Armed with only your battle axe and your agility, you search for runes in a set of levels to unlock the boss level. Each stage revolves around a unique puzzle element or situation. From creating constellations among the clouds around Yggdrasil's canopy to navigating the lava-encrusted crater of Muspelheim or braving the frozen wind-lashed Nine Rivers, Jotun is consistently introducing new elements or new scenery.
While you might face some dwarves or thorny vines in stages, Jotun shines most brightest when you're facing one of the titular giants. Beautifully animated and absolutely massive, these battles bring to mind the scale of the classic Shadow of the Colossus. Encounters revolve around evading telegraphed attacks as the bosses evolve across different forms.

Each battle is a spectacle of bombastic music, intricate animated Jotun, and carefully timed dodges and attacks. Isa unleashes breaths of blizzard-force winds and snow. Fé summons an army of dwarves and shakes the earth with each slam of her shield. Kaunan lunges at you with his massive flaming blade.

If axe and evasion aren't enough to fell bosses, Thora can utilize blessings from the Norse blessings, ranging from a speed boost to an ethereal hammer smash imbued with the power of Thor. These blessings are limited, so using them at the right time to augment your speed or attacks are key to surviving your battles against the Jotun.
Jotun is a gorgeously presented game, with narration spoken in the native Icelandic language, atmospheric environments to explore, and an epic soundtrack. While it's not the longest experience, Jotun is certainly a compelling and thrilling one. Each region feels unique, and each Jotun battle is a visual spectacle.

You can purchase Jotun on Steam.

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