Another big-time game from a small-time team
It has been a long time since I’ve found a video game that has mercilessly enthralled me for days to weeks on end. However, this dry spell was broken when I decided to try the popular new game, Valheim. If you are unfamiliar with Valheim, it is a Viking-themed survival game that was recently released in early access. It shares mechanics from Minecraft, Skyrim, and Rust; all of which are implemented together like a quilt made from blankets that you never knew would work so well together.
Valheim starts off like pretty much every other survival game or finals week morning, naked and afraid. However, instead of waking up on a beach or being dropped off by a helicopter, a giant raven was carrying my naked little Viking baby butt into the world as I had just been banished for having an accident on the living room carpet. This outlandish introduction was only just the foreshadowing for how this game stands out from the sea of other survival games.
After finding some much-needed pants, I began to scrounge out what resources I could whether it be wood, stones, or food. It’s not quite like Minecraft where it didn’t tell you how to craft anything but it’s also not holding your hand by giving you recipes or directions. It basically comes off as a well-paced rate of discovery. It keeps you hooked in with the plethora of new things to discover such as tools, biomes, monsters, and even bosses.
At times when you feel like you discovered all you could from an early access game, there’s still more to surprise you. However, it doesn’t give it all to you right away or too quickly. As I mentioned before, this game is good at keeping you playing. As if the gameplay wasn’t enticing enough the aesthetics of the game are also dangerously enticing.
The game’s graphics are interesting as they have some low-tech-looking textures similar to Minecraft while also having beautiful graphical options that give the game a surprisingly great combination of great and simple graphics. The music also accents the visuals perfectly, as there were times where I was peacefully prancing through the meadow feeling like I was playing Breath of the Wild.
However, there were times when it felt like I was playing Dark Souls when in the Swamp or the Black Forest. Trudging through a dark, eerie habitat where everything wants to kill you, like monsters or your mother-in-law. We were in the swamp so long we had almost turned into inbred swamp people (or just Floridians) but my editor is already sick of fixing my spelling errors, so we go on’ n’ gitted.
There’s enjoyment in every avenue of this game; from exploring the high seas of the gargantuan map to building your town in a challenging but fun building system, to even teaming up for huge boss battles. From your humble beginnings to your sprawling Viking halls, the game gets harder and the Vikings get viking-ier, leaving hardly a dull moment in the game.
It’s crazy to get such a wholesome experience from an early access game developed by 5 people. Then again, it’s often the little guys that make more of an impact lately *cough *cough Among Us. In time I found myself in what might be the worst-case scenario for writing a review for a videogame. I couldn’t pry myself away from the game to even take time to write about it.
Valheim is a game of adventure and exploration and the fun of this game is exponentially multiplied when you play it with friends. I can simplify this game review into one sentence. If you have a working computer and $20, do yourself a favor and play this game. Oh, and watch out for the trees.