Were you ever interested in reading about Norse Mythology? About the Gods of Old, the magical tree of Yggdrasil, or fantastical beasts that existed in that era? Have you ever wanted to put yourself in the shoes of a Viking? And experience living in between Earth and Valhalla… in a place called Valheim? If so, this is the place to be. So what is Valheim? It’s an exclusive early access Indie game, created by none other than Swedish developers Iron Gate AB. Believe it or not, their team comprises of 5 developers. Not only is it a sandbox game, but it is also Open World, Action, Adventure, Indie, and RPG. It has taken the world by storm and is now 5 million Vikings strong! With that said, join me as we discuss the ins and outs of Valheim and what it has to offer!
For starters, Valheim is what some would consider a “primordial purgatory”, comprising of many dangerous and wonderful things. The giant Gods of Old, such as Odin and Ymir, built this world as a means of keeping their rivals at bay. Though there are 9 known realms in Norse mythology, Valheim is considered to be the10th Norse World. It is a place between what we know as Earth and the place that is known as “Valhalla”. And that’s where you, player, come in. You are a battle-slain warrior from Earth and have been ferried here by the Valkyries. You are tasked by Odin to be the new custodian of the primordial purgatory. There is an additional goal too – slay the ancient rivals of Odin to bring order to Valheim. You have the choice to play by yourself, or with up to 10 consecutive players.
Better to fight and fall than to live without hope.
Valheim spun a formula seen plenty of times before regarding survival crafting games. Unlike many other games though, it does something magical. Somehow, the developers have managed to capture the essence of walking into unchartered territory, where everything seems either fascinating or terrifying. With every step into a new biome, the fascination kept growing. I had no issues with the controls and it ran really seamlessly for me at 40FPS (tested with the Acer Nitro Gaming Laptop). The settings and interface are very user-friendly too, and I love the Viking text aesthetic. It is delightful to notice that the multiplayer and internet speeds stayed stable as I played. There was only one instance in the whole time that I’ve played where it disconnected, but that wasn’t the server’s doing.
And what of the activities?
There are a plethora of things to do in Valheim. I found myself quickly losing the concept of time while I delved into dungeons, looted various treasures, and partaking in a sea excursion in-game. There’s never a dull moment in-game: From building houses, to beating up a terrifying tree monster, to getting one-shotted by a Deathsquito. You can choose to hunt, breed fish, build fantastical structures, craft weapons/food/clothes/portals, steer a ship (and hope to god the winds are in your favor). You can also explore new biomes, explore dungeons, crypts, and takedown colossal bosses that do extensive damage. And by the gods, they will be adding more to this as the game is only 50% complete. Once completed, there will be 9 biomes and 9 big bosses in-game. There will also be an extensive list of mini-bosses too!
…So, let’s chat about the graphics then! The poly rendering is reminiscent of a PS2 generation game, and it is a Unity run engine, but don’t be put off! The backdrop of Yggdrasil and scenic background is really something to behold. Each section, or each biome, has its own beauty and charm There is fantastic attention to detail to the environment, to the items you have, to how the creatures look. In saying that, the game is early access and there are sometimes moments where animals clip onto the floor. I haven’t seen anything too crazy yet! There have been no issues with rendering assets, (at least not for me), and the game looks and feels amazing. The interface is clean and easy to use/understand.
We will meet again, in Valhalla.
And now, for the music. It really enhanced my overall experience while playing Valheim. Different areas, times of the day, bosses, and events all have distinct soundtracks truly brought the world to life for me. Sometimes the track can be upbeat, and sometimes it can be ominous, from relaxing in your abode to summoning a boss. The soundtrack compliments the overall feel of the situation your character is currently in. Each animal has its own distinct sounds, so it’s easy to tell when certain creatures like deer are nearby. Attack sounds feel crisp and clear, no matter the weapon you or your enemy use. The boss battle music is hype! I would like to thank the composer Patrik Jarlestam for helping bring the project to life with his music. For anyone running an MSI laptop and is having issues with not hearing the audio, try uninstalling Nahimic. It’ll likely work!
And now for the verdict.
Get it. Get it, get it, get it. I haven’t had as much fun playing an early access game since Minecraft days. For $20 and for the number of hours and things to do in-game, this is a steal. The game is only 50% complete, and yet it feels more complete than some other titles that I have seen in the past that are already “complete”. You can put hundreds of hours in and only make a small dent in exploring this massive world. There is still quite an extensive roadmap for the developers to tackle. There are some glitches and it is still incomplete. But, in saying all of this I am beyond excited to see further updates on this title.
You can purchase Valheim on early access through PC (Steam) for $20.