Valheim - A Ragnarokin' Good Time
Vicious Vikings, Mighty Monsters, and a Fight for Survival
An Early Access Game Enters the Big Leagues
Valheim is a challenging survival game created by the Swedish independent development studio Iron Gate AB and published by Coffee Stain Publishing. Available for PC via Steam, Humble Bundle, and the Microsoft Store, the game brings players into a sizable, immersive open world based on Viking culture and mythology.
Valheim is taking over the internet and getting an overwhelming response from the gaming community after selling two million copies in its first two weeks post-launch.
Prove Yourself Worthy of Odin
Valheim takes place within a procedurally-generated world heavily inspired by Norse mythology. Players take on the roles of fallen Vikings, who must fight for survival against ancient enemies and harsh environments to earn their place in the legendary halls of Valhalla.
Whether you play solo or in an online co-op with up to nine other players, you must complete Odin's bidding. Players build and customize strongholds, gather materials, craft weaponry, battle epic bosses, and much more. If successful, you will bring peace and glory to the Tenth Norse Realm of Valheim and prove yourself a worthy Viking warrior.
Concept Rating: 4/5
Pixelated Goodness With Synchronized Tunes
The visuals offer a unique blend of low-poly graphics with enhanced lighting and water refraction, creating a distinct aesthetic that makes the game easily recognizable. Although the art style is a blend of simple rendering and pixel art, Valheim boasts a beautiful environment that is simultaneously both refreshing and old-school familiar.
As you explore the vast world within the game, players encounter various settings, each offering a unique theme. Even the dark, dreary environments look great. Plus, because of the classic art style, there is no need for a high-end PC to run the game smoothly. That said, it is more than the graphics that have gamers praising Valheim.
Patrik Jarlestam, the talented composer for the game, has created a sound design that perfectly synchronizes the classical melodies and gameplay. The background music is relaxing, and the jump to a more hardcore guitar riff in the combat scenes is exhilarating, fluid, and complimentary. Overall, the combination of modern and old-school graphics with synchronized audio has contributed to the quality of the game.
Graphics & Audio Rating: 4/5
Surviving the World of Valheim
As a Viking warrior, players are dropped in the wilds of the Tenth Realm by a flying raven. You begin by gathering resources to craft weapons and armor to survive the harsh elements and terrifying enemies. Players can decide to play in single-player mode, but the multiplayer co-op mode makes Valheim so epic. The developers at Iron Gate recommend that although any given team can have up to 10 players, each team should try to scale back to 3-5 players for the best results in the PvE servers.
Prepare to be immersed in the game, gathering resources such as beehives, boats, and other materials in your attempt to progress.
If you are a fan of Norse folklore, you will appreciate this game. While scavenging for resources, crafting weaponry, and building ships, you must also battle ferocious mythical monsters. From trolls to giant stags -- the Norse mythos truly comes alive in combat. Players can level up their skills and have better odds of surviving if they are victorious in battle.
Although, players have the opportunity to level up in a variety of ways, not just winning battles. For example, if you cut down a tree with your fists, it increases your unarmed skill. This feature is the perfect blend between Runescape, The Elder Scrolls: Oblivion, and Mount and Blade because it is significantly more intuitive than the standard complex skill tree.
Each world is also procedurally generated, meaning players face new challenges and new experiences each time they play.
Even though it's in Early Access, you can already see the scale of Valheim is impressive. Indeed, this becomes apparent even before you beat the first of nine bosses. With a download size of only 1GB, it also features an impressively sizeable map to explore with *6 biomes (so far!). Each world is also procedurally generated, meaning players face new challenges and new experiences each time they play.
Valheim also shares similarities with other popular games, such as the 3D base building of Minecraft and the mechanics of Rust. It also has the boss-fight mechanics and material grind of Terraria, and the combat is reminiscent of Dark Souls.
You will like playing the game solo at first to get the lay of the land. Eventually, you will want to play with friends because that is undoubtedly the best way to play the game.
Explore a Diverse World
You begin by creating your customized Viking and using a map seed to create a procedurally-generated world. Each unique world in Valheim consists of several different biomes, such as swamps, mountains, forests, and oceans. Each biome features various items, bosses, and challenges, providing a diverse gameplay experience.
For example, the newest of these biomes is the Mistlands, which contains towering cliffs, sharp rocks, and lush trees, and as you might expect, much of the biome is shrouded in a heavy mist.
Gathering and Using Resources
To survive the dangerous biomes of Valheim, players collect and gather resources. Use your character's skills to forage, mine, farm, and hunt, and ensure you have everything you need to construct a shelter, craft tools, weapons, and other equipment, and prepare food.
Each biome in your world will offer different resources. For example, in the new Mistlands biome, the ancient giants that once roamed the Tenth Realm have left behind massive pieces of weapons and armor, which you can mine for metal scraps. Additionally, you can chip away at their bones for other resources. Each biome you explore will unlock new possibilities for your character.
While navigating the different biomes of your Valheim world, you'll encounter a variety of diverse and fascinating creatures.
One aspect that makes the gameplay of Valheim stand out is its sophisticated systems. For example, the food system allows you to gain a variety of regeneration buffs, health and stamina from eating certain types of food. Plus, there is the combat system, skills that can be increased as high as level 100 and directly impact your ability to use specific fighting techniques.
Perhaps the most unique of the in-game systems is its realistic building system. The game allows you to build anything from a small shelter to an entire village but ensure variables, such as the structural integrity and ventilation systems, are considered.
While navigating the different biomes, you will encounter many diverse and fascinating creatures. Some of these creatures are enemies you must fight in challenging combat contests, while others are friendly, neutral, or capable of being hunted for your next meal.
While navigating the different biomes of your Valheim world, you will encounter many diverse and fascinating creatures.
For example, several new creatures inhabit the Mistlands biome. There are the Seekers -- giant, heavily-armored insects who will not hesitate to get in your face. However, the Gjall are even more threatening. These massive flying creatures spit fire and will interfere with your efforts to build a shelter.
Six Bosses to Conquer
Ultimately, the objective of Valheim is to defeat the bosses in each of the different biomes. To take on these bosses, you must find their altars and make specific offerings to summon them. All of the bosses in Valheim feature strengths, weaknesses, and unique mechanics when fighting them.
When you defeat a boss, your reward is a collectible trophy, which you can use to obtain a permanent power-up that can benefit you throughout the remainder of the game. These boss battles get more challenging as you progress, and to defeat them, you need to have a strong character and a solid understanding of the combat mechanics.
Gameplay Rating: 5/5
** Check out our blog post - Valheim: 10 Advanced Gameplay Tips and Tricks to get started! **
Starting Your Journey
A beta version of Valheim launched into Early Access on February 2, 2021. The developers at Iron Gate plan to keep Valheim in Early Access for the foreseeable future. In the meantime, they are continuously updating, debugging, and adding new content based on feedback from the community. You can snag the game for only $19.99 on Humble Bundle, Steam, and the Microsoft Store, which is a solid deal for an open-world game with so much to offer.
A Bright Future
Valheim is a unique, engaging game that blends aspects of several genres, including survival, open-world RPGs, and action adventure. The graphics are creative and aesthetically pleasing, while the gameplay is diverse and immersive.
Between gathering and utilizing resources, hunting and preparing food, battling mythological creatures, building shelters, exploring the world, and defeating bosses, Valheim keeps you busy and 100% entertained. And because of the procedurally generated worlds, the replay value is excellent, providing players with a different experience every time they play.
Soon players can explore the land of the dead in the new Valheim biome -- Ashlands. With every update, the game only continues to get better.
Replay Value Rating: 5/5
The developers have already reported it will be in Early Access for another year to get more pertinent data from the gaming community, so you know Iron Gate will pay attention to any shortcomings early users report. For example, performance begins to drop in high-activity areas such as the Black Forest, and there is the occasional glitch and even a 'world-destroying' bug. However, these issues are not unheard of for an Early Access game -- keep this in mind and backup your data.
Iron Gate has already released a detailed road map and notes that there will be several new features, such as new biomes to explore and potentially a sandbox mode. The Viking simulator has adopted the qualities of other survival games but has many unique features, which makes it stand out in an overly saturated genre.
The bottom line, Valheim is only in Early Access and seems to have the ability to be one of the best survival games ever.
- Creative systems and mechanics
- Diverse worlds with unique biomes
- Engaging combat
- Pleasing graphical style
- Affordable price
- Challenging to the point of frustration at times
- Inventory management can get annoying
- Lots of grinding required
Valheim is an open-world survival game inspired by Norse mythology and featuring complex, addicting RPG elements. For a game still in Early Access, Valheim is not only exciting and worth the price, but it is also a surprisingly polished product with the potential to be one of the biggest survival games ever.