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Genre: Action, Adventure, Indie, Platformer
Developer: Crazy Viking Studios
Publisher: Adult Swim Games
Release Date: September 13, 2013

The Gods struck lightning upon the land and from the bolts came Volgarr The Viking. This one from Crazy Viking Studios reminds me of the NES version of Dragons Lair, not so much the gameplay but the almost impossibility of completing the first level. Very unforgiving Volgarr The Viking has one difficulty setting, and thats Ralph Wiggum HARD. This is one of those games where what you see is what you get, and reminds me a lot of a SEGA arcade machine that would cost you 25 cents every run. So trust me, if that were the case with this game, you would lose your entire paycheck trying to beat the first level. BUT, that isn’t exactly a bad thing, and I’ll explain why.

When I initially started this game, the powerful music combined with the 16 bit SEGA graphics kind of takes you back a bit. I like games with unique introductions like this one, where the start screen is the beginning of the game as well. Volgarr the Viking takes elements from games like Castlevania and Contra, and brings them into the new age while making sure not to jeopardize the retro feel. Not only is this game more brutally violent than a relationship with Chris Brown, but brutally hard. My first time playing after 30 minutes and multiple deaths I still hadn’t made it to the first checkpoint. One of my main concerns reading the early reviews of this game revolved around what many called “clunky, unresponsive controls.” Thankfully after buying Volgarr I found this not to be the case. The dynamics and mechanics are perfectly balanced for this game, and are what I would like to describe as “solid.” Meaning each move must follow through before making the next, so if in the time you are swinging the sword you are hit, you won’t be able to react fast enough and will suffer the consequences.

The Game itself doesn’t have much of a story line. When you first start, the Gods declare “Rise Warrior!” as a bolt of lightning strikes the ground Volgarr appears. From there on you start the game immediately and begin the adventure. Starting off you are given a shield, which will act as your main form of defense against the lizardish bird monsters that you are put up against. When you aren’t attacking you are able to block the simple attack so each of the monsters, but the moment you attack you are leaving yourself vulnerable. The shield acts as a hit point. If you get hit, you lose the shield and you are now exposed to everything making your next hit fatal. You can pick up different forms of armor throughout the game by finding and breaking open chests. After getting the shield and helmet you can upgrade your weapon to a flaming sword which is considerably more powerful than the one you begin with. Each different item you are wearing acts as single hit point, each time you are hit you lose an item.

As for replay factor, that seems to be all that you will be doing when it comes to Volgarr The Viking, or at least that was my experience. I can say that I have played the game for a good 5 hours in preparation for this review, and within that time I’ve learned to love and hate the game all at the same time. It certainly is hard, and seems impossible, but I guess thats what gives it mystery. The way I look at it, Volgarr The Viking is yet another classic from Adult Swim Studios, and no matter what you love or hate about it, thats what makes it so awesome.

Volgarr The Viking stays true to the 16 bit retro feel all the way through. Everything from the controls, graphics, music and mood all remind me of after school gaming sessions with friends, trying to prove who could get further and beat the level. Taking everything into account Volgarr The Viking is a good game, fun to play, and bleeds nostalgia. If you think you have what it takes, go for it, you won’t be disappointed.

Graphics: 7/10
Playability: 6/10
Story: 8/10
Challenge: 10/10
Replay Value: 7/10

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