It’s the new year, and with it comes a heap of new games; large and small, grand and crap. Void Vikings unfortunately rests on the latter, for both. Developed by Ugly Beard Games, Void Vikings is served as a 2.5D top-down shooter, one that’s described to be intense, action-packed, and unique. That said, is that really what we’re getting here? Sadly not. Whilst the game excels in the areas that we would expect it to, there’s far too many drawbacks that hinder it in the long-run. Though, at just £3.99/$4.99, is this worth your time and attention?
I’ll point out that despite the title, there’s no vikings in the game. Now, as aforementioned, Void Vikings is a 2.5D top-down shooter, one that thrusts you into the role of a spaceship, tasked with taking down enemy crafts. There’s no shortage of foes to tackle, all of which range in size, power, and strength. The general premise is quite frankly baffling. In Void Vikings, you’re paying off a debt of some sort. The only way to chip away at this debt is to take on missions of your choosing. Yes, that’s the general crux of play here. Strange, no?
Upon starting the game, I had no former knowledge about the experience whatsoever. Hell, I didn’t even know it was a shooter until I was greeted by the 80’s Commodore 64-like cover art. Undeterred, I jumped straight into the fray. It didn’t take long for me to summarize that I was in for a headache. Void Vikings is all forms of confusing. There’s some slightly interesting concepts present, but they’re all mixed up in a very convoluted sort of way. I mean, for instance, there’s very little story within, and next to no explanation as to why you’re in debt.
Furthermore, the game just drops you into the fields of play with just a very light and basic tutorial to get you going. Once you begin a new game, you’ll already have two ships unlocked; the Odin, and the Freyja – the only links to vikings that I could find, to point out. Each ship that you command does indeed come with its own abilities and traits. There’s some options that you can tweak when you’re starting out, such as which university you want to attend, what major and minor you choose, and then of course, your four chosen electives.
If you’re slightly confused at this point, so was I. Following some trial and error, I found that altering these choices have an impact on your ship; -30% cost, +31.5 attack, and so forth – with consecutive changes ultimately increasing the debt that you’re in. When you’re done and dusted, it’s time to set out and begin paying off your debt. To do this, you’ll first need to select a star system in which to fight, all of which are based on tiers. When you’re happy with all of your selections, you’ll then fly out and will need to beat five waves of enemies.
These enemies grow in strength and numbers throughout each passing wave. Once you defeat a wave, you will have a chance to upgrade, or move on to the next wave. The kicker, and depending on the set difficulty, more interest will be added to your debt, ultimately meaning that the harder the game is set at, the more you will need to pay back. The fields of play sees you flying around and blasting your opposition to smithereens, rewarding you with Space Bucks, new items for your ship, more shield and more health – which proves handy.
The upgrades cover a handful of items, including the likes of your weaponry, your shields, your armor, and even your thrust power. Items can be changed and swapped out many times, and of course, upgraded. To the game’s credit, it does a good job at clearly laying out what’s going to benefit you, and what isn’t. Useless items that you no longer need can be broken down for more currency, allowing you to further pay off your debt. Should you beat all of your waves, but find that you cant yet pay off your debt, you can return to the star map.
Here, you will take all of your existing gear (with again, an increase to your debt) with you, but this time, you’re able to take on tougher foes. If you bite the proverbial bullet and die, you’ll need to start over from scratch. It’s a relatively straightforward experience at its core, with nonsensical structures holding together seemingly passable gameplay mechanics. When you’re done here, you can try out Valhalla mode. This mode is what you and I would refer to as a traditional endless mode, where you’ll work to obtain the highest score that you can.
Should you wish to play with the other ships, you’ll need to grind like there’s no tomorrow. Seriously, I don’t know who thought it would be a good idea to set the score-parameters so high, but they clearly have far too much faith in their product. Granted, the gameplay is simple and to-the-point, lending the game a degree of accessibility. However, it all comes off as too repetitive in the long-run, despite the fact that there’s some decent variation across the board as far as weaponry and abilities go. It’s just going to take a LOT of time to enjoy these extras.
Mercifully, the controls are fluid and easy to understand; consisting of little more than RS movement and shooting. Moving on to the visual and audio design, as alluded to above, Void Vikings is hardly a game worth screaming for. The game sports a horrid grainy-like presentation, with set pieces that mean absolutely nothing – such as meteors that don’t harm you whatsoever. This overall lack of refinement is hard to forgive, especially for a game of this type. I can express the same criticism to the game’s audio design, which is generic and flat, at best.
Void Vikings would have been more interesting if its needless debt structure was stripped away to allow the game’s core functionality to shine. However, even if that was so, there wouldn’t be much justification to warrant a recommendation. The game lacks refinement across the entire board, making for an experience that, despite its decent variation, is more convoluted than it needs to be, and a lot less fun than its peers.
This game was tested and reviewed on Xbox One. All of the opinions and insights here are subject to that version.Want to keep up to date with the latest Xt reviews, Xt opinions and Xt content? Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.