Tired of the seemingly never-ending flow of games and films surrounding Egyptian and Greek mythology? Seems like The guys at Thunder Lotus games were, and they did a good job at reminding gamers that Norse mythology is just as great. Simple but difficult, engaging and so damn addictive. Jotun: Valhalla edition re-releases the 2015 game (and works as a free update for those already owning the original title) and brings about the Valhalla mode, which features even more difficult boss battles – It’s a must have for those looking for a challenge that neatly nestles between, ” HAND ME THE NEAREST BOTTLE TO SMASH” and “How could I be so stupid to have missed that?”.
Centered around Thora, a female Viking who died an inglorious death, the player will progress stage by stage unlocking abilities, solving environmental puzzles, dodging and fighting, preparing you for your next Jotun battle, all while touching on ancient Norse mythology sounding elementals or “Jotuns” and iconic gods such as Heimdallr, Loki and Thor.
Jotun: Valhalla Edition in its entirety the game felt like an isometric Shadow of Colossus joyride. Faced with by seemingly overwhelming bosses, the player will die and die again until you figure out a rhythm. This is what maintains the fun, you look forward to the challenge having bee amply prepared by the environments of previous two stages you have to progress through in order to unlock the boss fight.
The style, oh man, the hand drawn beauty! In every segment of the stages, you walk across a bridge or slide down a mountain and an absolutely stunning landscape is show depicted showing the gravity of your size in comparison to this world of giants and the character design of the Jotuns feels pretty intimidating and distinct.
The character by herself has only 4 movement abilities, run,dodge, swipe and quick swipe, but a host of special abilities which are acquired throughout the game (such as healing, a homing spear, decoy). The basic character mechanic may seem limiting to some, but to me it really added an arcade flair, making the player focus on outsmarting their opponent rather than facing them head on. One has to place emphasis on tactics, dodge at the right time and make use of charge up attacks when safe.
What I found to really dig about the game was that the levels were so damn rewarding. Each level you would have a certain goal and a simple map making you pace yourself as you traverse. Sometimes it felt monotonous and boring searching for that last apple tree (which increases your maximum health) but the more lazy player can always skip past searching for those extras and jump into the next boss fight
In a nutshell, worth the 14.99 dollar price tag for 4 hours of blood shot eyes and sweaty palm? Hell yes.
Disclosure: Review code for the game was provided by the publisher.