Build tents, altars, survive the wilderness, and fight for honor in Valhalla Hills. In this building strategy game you play a young Norseman named Leko. Leko and other outcasted vikings are trying to get back into Valhalla. They are stuck on earth trying to figure out how to get back into Odin’s good graces. They decide to elect Leko as their leader. Leko figures out a potential way for them all to get on Odin’s good side again and back into Valhalla. Leko along with everyone else decide to use their construction abilities to honor Odin. By building towns up the mountain and getting as close to Valhalla as possible you’re helping them regain their honor.
As the player it is your job to guide the outcasted vikings to glory and honor. It is your job to protect them, feed them, and help them in any way you can. The goal is to build a thriving community that will unlock the portal and rainbow bridge to Valhalla. You can do that in a few ways. You can use your military strength or economic strength to get to Valhalla. It is easier said then done though. You do not directly control the vikings. The vikings in the game have a mind of their own. There will be times when what you them to do things like build a tent and they will want to relax. You can only give them general commands.
Players control where to build, what buildings you will have on your map, and optimal paths. The village workers decide the order in which each building is built. Once you have figured out where you want everything built, assign enough workers to each task, and assigned what tools to make everything after that is left up to the villagers. Once I got to that point I was pretty bored. The main focus of the game is construction. Since you don’t control the villagers directly what is there really for the player to do? Just sit back and watch the villagers. To me the whole point in playing a game is to play the actual game not watch it be played for you. What makes it worse is that if your village gets attacked there is no command to use to get your villagers to fight them off.
If you do things right your villagers will build what you want, and when you want with no trouble. That is where having a strategy comes into play. If you build things first that will cause your workers to be easily distracted then they won’t work when you want them to. Another issue that can cause problems is not placing the buildings in the right areas on the map. If you don’t place the fishing lodge near water your village will starve because in order for that worker to fish their path has to be as close to the water as possible. That was another negative for me in this game. The whole path system just doesn’t make any sense, pointless, and makes the game needlessly complicated.
Each map is randomly generated and has its own difficulties. The overall goal does remain the same no matter what map you are on which is open the portal to the next world. You can also unlock things as you progress and hit certain milestones. Valhalla Hills has two modes campaign and open mode. Structures, game systems, and upgrades are introduced slowly in campaign mode. If you want everything available to you from the start then go with open mode. There is no proper tutorial either. You are left to figure things out for yourself or look it up. I experienced a lot of trial and error before I figured out how things works.
The whimsical, bright and cartoony backgrounds were quite enjoyable. It gives you the sense that the game doesn’t take itself seriously. Even the villagers have a cute cartoony look to them. Watching it go from night-to-day and vice-versa was a true delight. The characters don’t talk so there isn’t a lot of voice work excpet the narration at the beginning of the game. The soundtrack does change based on what activity is going on with the map you are playing. The soundtrack does a great job of matching the graphics and the activity of the villagers. It is a perfect blend of Celtic and Scandinavian music.
Valhalla Hills is well designed and quite charming. If you are into strategy and building type games you will get addicted to Valhalla Hills easily. It isn’t the type of game that just anyone can get into. There is no guessing when it comes to the controls. All you have to do is look on the menu to see what they are. Valhalla Hills offers light fun and gameplay. There isn’t enough for players to do in the game at the moment but plenty for the villagers themselves. If there were more for the players to actually do and not just watch Valhalla Hills would be a smash hit.
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