The Viking people have interested me for quite some time. Obviously in recent years that interest has increased due to the success of the TV show Vikings (note to self – finish those last few episodes!). So to find a game being released on Xbox which revolves around a sole Viking trying to find his way into Valhalla was something that had piqued my interest.
Niffelheim released fully on PC back in September 2018, after being in early access since early 2016. And as with many smaller titles over the last few years has found it’s way onto the Xbox platform. I’ve found that the [email protected] program has been a major benefit to the platform, introducing the console gamer to many titles that they would usually miss. while I hadn’t heard of Niffelheim before getting the opportunity to review it, I had really hoped it would end up being a hidden gem.
In Niffelheim your character is a warrior who has fallen in battle, and finds his soul stuck in Niffelheim. You need to survive the this harsh world and find your way to Valhalla. This is a side scrolling survival affair, with elements of Terraria style mining gameplay. You will need to craft, cook and create potions to assist you in your quest of survival. I’ll be honest at this point and tell you that this sort of gameplay isn’t a draw for me. I’ve touched on games like Terraria and other survival titles like Rust in the past, and the gameplay loop just doesn’t appeal. And unfortunately it is no different here.
That’s not to say that this is a bad game. From what I know of the genre this hits a lot of the expected notes you’d want of it. Though I would say that the game doesn’t do a good job of telling you what to do. In fact, it does a bad job. There’s a total lack of any sort of tutorial and you’re expected to figure it out on your own. You need to build your base, constantly improving the buildings and workbenches within using your gathered resources to give you better quality of items to improve your chances of survival. There’s some rudimentary combat, which will require you to craft better armor and weapons to better the more difficult enemies as the game progresses. There is also a need to complete smaller quests within the world, aswell as forge alliances with the different factions.
Visually it’s a decent looking game, with clear and crisp characters and environments that are hand made. Though the animations do look a little dated, they do suit the feel of the rest of the game. The controls are also fairly simple too. The challenge of this game is not in the difficulty of mastering it’s control systems, but more the mastering of its survival systems. Combat is a one button affair, the fights only become difficult if you haven’t got a good enough weapon or armor, rather than the skill required to swing the weapon.
If you’re looking for a new survival game with a heavy reliance on resource gathering and crafting then this could be a good consideration for you. If like me you want a fun Viking game, and don’t get on with those previously mentioned things, then it’s best to avoid this.
Developer: Ellada Games
Publisher: Ellada Games