Thanks to Marvel I think we all have a basic knowledge of Nordic mythology. So to mix popular myth with Zombies was inevitable and sounds great on paper but is it any good as a final product?
Brought to us by the crazy evil geniuses at Zoink! (Stick it to the Man) we start Zombie Vikings with Loki stealing Odin’s eye. So Odin raises a group of legendary Vikings to get it back. Of course on the journey each Viking has a road of rediscovery as they have all lost their memories.
This is a side scrolling multiplayer beat ‘em up similar in style to Streets of Rage and Battletoads. Enemy types for the most part tend to be small infantry with a single weapon and medium types with dual weapons or a shield. As you go up levels enemies get new abilities and new skins that reflect the level design. There are the occasional larger enemies that are tough but nothing really challenging outside of learning to block attacks and throw bombs. There are boss battles but they’re also really simplistic and pretty much use bombs to beat.
It’s not just bombs that you will be throwing though. With a simple button press you can pick up any small objects, including basic enemy infantry. Pressing the same button will throw whatever object you have, holding the button will charge and throw it further and harder. You will use this a lot to stun and even break attacks by larger enemies. In co-op this ability can be used on other players to access hard to reach areas or create interesting attack strategies. You also have a basic attack and a special attack that costs health both of which can be charged for different effect. Combining attack with jump or run creates a powerful dive kick or charge attack respectively.
You can buy weapons and runes that will give you perks. Though I never went beyond a sword that gave life for each attack I made and a rune that gradually replenished health over time. Especially since I was playing single player for the most part and this game is obviously not designed to be a single player game. It’s not like I didn’t try several times to go co-op. I had difficulty finding anyone online and when I finally got someone the game behaved erratically. My character often got stuck in frames of animation and became useless. This is a shame because the co-op, when it works, is so much better than the single player. You can combine into a mega-zombie Viking. When you die, your head can puke on enemies. Your co-op buddy can either run around using your head as a weapon or place it back on your body to revive you.
The co-op priority is even more obvious when certain levels and bosses are designed for a group over a single player. There are also issues with attacking enemies being a little hit and miss at times. This is because in Zoink’s usual style the character models are all 2D. Which is fine when you are playing a point and click adventure. However, for a side scrolling beat ‘em up you need characters to have volume and hit boxes that reflect that. This is possibly the worst part of the game as it leads to needless frustration when you are constantly missing and enemy you’re stood right next to.
Overall Zombie Vikings is a fairly fun game that’s loads more fun with friends. It’s nothing really ground breaking though. Battletoads and Streets of Rage simply did it better due to simply giving volume to 2D sprites. Not to mention those games are just as enjoyable in single player. This game really suffers from an over dependence on the co-op experience. In fact, that’s where all the best ideas seemed to go. It’s yet another indie game that could have done with more time in the oven as glitches even game breaking ones randomly run amok. Even if they patch these glitches that fact remains due to design elements this game should be strictly co-op even if that means using AI bots as allies.
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