Ever wonder what would happen if four dead zombies were raised from the dead by the Norse god Odin in order to find his missing eye which was stolen by Loki? While most people haven’t, Zombie Vikings‘ plot is centered around this idea. It’s easy to tell from the title that this game might not be up there with the seriousness of The Last of Us but it does arguably have a worthwhile story to tell. While the focus of the game is to get Odin’s eye back as the game progresses you uncover each one of the four zombies backstories and you learn how they met their untimely end in a fun storybook fashion. Zombie Vikings overall is a silly game, and not always as funny as the game thinks it is, that has some fun levels as well as it being a classic side scroller game.
As stated above the game is a side scrolling adventure game where you fight enemies on a plane predetermined by the games creators. You can play as any of the four characters they introduce in the beginning of the game and the choices are conventional and a bit uninspired. There is the character who is the big muscular one (the tank), the middle of the road one, the fast but not strong one, and finally the small but powerful one. Yet in those characters the middle of the road character, Seagurd, is more complex than just his stereotype as his zombie self is combined with a squid. The backstory for that character is explained in the game and I don’t want to give a lot away but I think it’s the best out of the four and the aesthetic design is reflected in his gameplay as you can use his squid body to inflict harm on opponents.
I also thought that I would be able to button mash my entire way through the game; especially with the character that’s the tank called Gunborg, but that wasn’t the case the entire game. For a while I could as the smaller enemies would be pushed back and knocked down by most of my moves but as the bigger enemies became more prevalent you would have to use more than random attacks to get through the levels. The enemies are skinned differently depending on which backstory you are in and the bosses aren’t too difficult so the gameplay can get a little bit repetitive. There is one exception, and that is the level where you have to play a game called “soccer” and is similarly designed. In the “soccer” level where you have to beat a steroid-backed super team of “soccer” players the difficulty is way above any of the other levels in the game.
The best part about this game is without a doubt the story and the different characters are the real highlights. The backstories are fun and definitely creative while combing with the Norse pantheon’s mythos. The different gods and creatures that are incorporated into the story are caricatures that are expressly one dimensional but it fits with the narrative which made the game a pleasant experience. Now I shy away from calling the game funny because while I did find the game entertaining the jokes were juvenile and they became a little tiring after playing the game for a long time. Loki by far was the best non-playable character as his primary character trait of being a “trickster” fits really well into the overall feel and experience of the game. Again the characters backstory are explained throughout the game and that can be fun and an interesting way to tell a backstory rather than just telling it to us in a word bubble or at the beginning of the game. So overall the story was somewhat-funny and the Norse mythological characters that we met along the way were the best parts of the game.
One of the more silly things that added to the overall mood of the game was when the game was paused there would be a person that would sing the word “pause” over and over again at different pitches. At first I didn’t pick up on the lyrics in the pause menu because of the different inflection and tone of the music but after a few pauses it became very clear and even a little funny. The only bug that I found in my walk through of the game was that sometimes the voice acting didn’t match up with the subtitles during a few different parts.
So I didn’t know where to put this in the review but when there is a cut scene in the middle of the game where two business people pitch an idea to the Norse godless Hel and the design of Hel is really creepy. Hel looks like an even more intimidating grim reaper with magical properties and I know the game isn’t exactly full of flowers and rainbows but when I saw Hel there was a distinct difference between the morbid and the frightening (Hel was surprisingly frightening).
In Zombie Vikings there are some good aspects and some problems with the game but overall is well worth the time and money. The characters have fun backstories, the representation of Norse mythology was well put together and the story was not the worst considering the type of game Zombie Vikings is. Yet there was much to be desired in the realm of difficulty, the different characters to choose from, and the focus on multiplayer rather than the single player. Although when you look at the game at face value it delivers what you would expect; I mean the game is called Zombie Vikings. With all this in mind the game is perfect as a change of pace game or a silly easy to complete game (minus the one soccer level) that you could probably beat in a few hours of game time.