Dude, have you ever looked into Norse mythology? That shit is hot right now and it’s bonkers crazy. After the success of the TV show Vikings and the recent God of
Well, I say survival game but that’s not really fair. There’s a lot to Niffelheim and if I were to try and give it a genre it would be close to a side-scrolling survival dungeon-crawling RPG because all those elements are at play here. The game places you in the boots of a fallen warrior, someone who missed the train to Valhalla and is stuck in the icy wastes of Niflheim (the game uses a different spelling, I’m not sure why, so you close that Google tab you’ve viciously opened). Your only goal is to escape…somehow. Until then, you’ll have to survive and that means hunting for food, building up your castle and delving into dungeons for rare items, weapons and tools. It’s an addictive loop, venturing around the map to return with materials, constantly upgrading your base and utilities. As your fortress grows, so do you, levelling up in a variety of disciplines depending on where you’re spending your time around the world.
And what a world it is. Beautifully hand drawn backgrounds are crisp and defined, creating a cold and harsh environment that also ripples with a sense of discovery and adventure, while the dungeons are dark and dank, limiting your view and sending a wave of relief through your body when you see a glimmer of torchlight. Niffelheim ’s aesthetic is gorgeous and while I find many of the animations to be somewhat stilted and unresponsive at times, it doesn’t detract from the sheer effort that has clearly gone into making the game look fantastic.
It’s the sort of survival game that counts how many days you last. Now, I know that’s not a significant detail unique to Niffelheim but whenever I see that counter, I know it’s gonna be the sort of game that you’ll have to start over and over again until you’ve learned and mastered all the world has to throw you. There’s a really great tutorial screen, available at any time through the UI, to help new players get their bearings during their first few sessions, but after a few
THEY LEVELED MY ENTIRE FORT.
And just like that, 14 days of progress were gone. Niffelheim can be punishing and isn’t great at explaining some of its mechanics to you. It’s a problem I find in many survival games and Niffelheim is no exception. What starts out as a simply expedition into Norsedew Valley can very quickly escalate to full on warfare with random raids assaulting your base. Niffelheim’s combat does its job, but don’t expect the most exhilarating of fights. Click on the enemy well and you win. If there’s too many or your weapon is too weak, they win. It’s simple and uncomplicated, but it needn’t be anything else. Honestly, the most fun I had in this game was the dungeon crawling.
There are dungeons scattered all over the world, each far deeper than you’d initially expect, littered with resources, loot and enemies. Bosses lurk around every few levels and many of these can prove a challenge.
You know, reading back on this review, it feels like I’ve said a lot about this game, yet not enough. There’s so much in Niffelheim that it’s difficult to condense it all into words. I haven’t even mentioned the quests, the multiple starting characters and worlds or even the surprising amount of items available to upgrade and purchase. Hell, this game even offers 4-player multiplayer for when you want to pillage your
Last Updated: March 18, 2019