I think we all know what happens when zombies attack or whenever the Germans decide to invade – but what about those hard-hitting Vikings? This is a question I am sure developer Clever Beans is trying to answer with their new PS Vita and PS3 title When Vikings Attack. Whether you find that answer appealing is up to you but for this guy, it’s a mixed bag or hit and miss; but we can get into that below.
As you would expect with the title of this game, Vikings have invaded your neck of the woods and it is up to you and your fellow citizens to fend them off, Red Dawn style. Except in this case, you will not be using AK47’s, there is really no guerrilla tactics to be found, and sadly no retro Swayze available. It’s just you, your neighbors, and whatever you can find to pick up throw and your assailants.
When Vikings Attack features an extremely simple approach to gameplay and combat. In the game you take control of a single citizen who can find other people in the map and have them join your cause. The bigger you grow your group, the heavier objects you can lift. You can pick up anything in the game from tractors and cars, to street signs and park benches. There are also rockets to find later that can either explode or win over enemies to your cause. Once you pick them up, you simply aim at a group of Vikings on screen and throw your item their way.
You can’t just sit there and go offensive all day, though, as you will need to sometimes pay attention to 2 or 3 groups of Vikings and what they are throwing your way. You have to dodge out of the way or catch their item in mid-air, creating a very skillful mixture of defending and attacking. As you make your way through each level, you will come across sections of the map where you must fight your way through a ton of Vikings. Once complete you can then move onto the next section. Once all the sections are completed, you will then be faced with a boss for the level.
During your game time, you will come across various different kinds of Vikings to do battle with. Most of them will be straight forward, normal bad guys, but you will also have to deal with ones with shields who can block your attacks. For these guys, you have to use things like street signs in the level to make your objects bounce off them and hit these enemies behind. While on the surface it looks like rather simple combat, there is a fair bit of strategy underneath. However most battles still boil down to running around like crazy and throwing everything in sight.
As you make your way through the levels, you will start to find things a bit more challenging as the amount of people on screen doubles and the environments become more alive. There are levels like the pipe level where you can throw an item in one pipe and have it come out another. Yet another level has you fighting on a busy street, having to watch out for not only the enemy, but oncoming traffic. However, no matter how far you get, the game never gets too hard and is actually fairly easy to breeze through. It also features no difficulty options, so there is no place to jack up how hard the enemies are.
When you are not playing through the solo campaign, you can hop into an online lobby and play through the levels with up to 3 other people on the Vita or PS3. Online is really where this game shines, as you not only fight the Vikings for control of the levels, but also each other. You can do everything from stealing the other player’s items or taking them out from behind with a well-placed park bench. This ability to fight each other for points, while also trying to complete the level is a lot of fun. Add in voice support and just sit back and enjoy some hilarious online matches. Lag was also non-existent, even with all the players and enemies on screen at one time.
Aside from the online campaign, you can also take part in three different versus challenges; Gold Rush, Last Man Standing, and Vikings vs. Vigilantes. Last Man Standing is just how it sounds – the last team standing wins. The first person to win 3 rounds is crowned the victor. Vikings vs. Vigilantes splits the teams up between the two factions and has them duke it out. The first side to win three rounds wins the match. Finally, Gold Rush has the teams fighting to win medals and the mode continues on until someone wins all 5, which takes forever to accomplish, making it the least fun of all the modes for me.
Levels are not all about just finishing them either, as there are also unlockables to collect. However, these are as simple as just discovering a footballer, for example, in the level and finishing that level with them still in your party to unlock that look. It’s always cool to unlock things but these costumes don’t add any kind of stats to your group, just makes them look different, so I can’t really say it adds much to the game.
Visually, it is a decent looking game that doesn’t try to be too flashy but what’s there is solid. Environments look good and the objects you are throwing look and react pretty well to being thrown around. The music in the game is cute but changes to downright annoying rather quickly. Luckily, the game is completely playable without sound, so just turn off the music and play away. Characters themselves make random grunts or cheers whenever they throw an item or take out an enemy.
When Vikings Attack is a game that is best played in short spurts, beating a level or two and then moving on to something else. It is not a game with an extreme amount of depth with only 15 levels to complete and each one taking just a few minutes to complete. You can play it on both the PS3 and Vita but I found it a bit better suited for the on-the-go style of the Vita. At $9.99, $6.99 for Plus Subscribers, there is some real fun to have here, just make sure to find some friends with the game because the single player won’t last long, leaving you to hope the online community lasts awhile.