Developer(s) – Zoink Games
PEGI – 12
Following the immense success of their adventure puzzle game Stick It To the Man, Zoink games followed up with an adventure beat ‘em up title name Zombie Vikings, but was met with unjustifiably mixed reviews, at least as of now, garnishing an average Metacritic score of just 61. Personally, I found it to be much better than the former game for a variety of different reasons, and hope that other review sites that haven’t yet provided a review see the game for its many different qualities.
Graphics – 8/10
The general design of the game is extremely similar to Stick It To the Man, with characters and scenery hearkening back to the 2D hand-drawn style of the previous game. However, the conceptual design of the game is drastically different, taking place in a world inspired by Norse mythology as opposed to a world inspired by the trappings and intricacies of modern life. Even despite how weird and wonderfully outlandish their previous title was, this one is just as magnificently strange; if not more so. The game may not run on 60 frames per second like the former, but to me, that’s semantics.
Gameplay – 8/10
Taking a drastic departure from Stick It To the Man, Zombie Vikings presents players with a wonderfully varied linear beat ‘em up game reminiscent of the like of Streets of Rage or Final Fight, and packed with variety in weapons, abilities, character choices, and even side quests thrown in for good measure; something I’ve personally rarely seen in games of this kind, which after playing this, make this game seem as if a trick has been missed for many years. It all makes for a wonderfully fulfilling and addicting gaming experience, which in my opinion is much more satisfying to play through than Stick It To the Man.
Controls – 9/10
The game is a 2D side-scrolling beat ‘em up, so by default, I would have problems with its control scheme to a certain extent; but much to my pleasant surprise, nowhere near as much of a problem as I have found with many of the games of its kind that many other gamers consider to be classics. The main reason for this is that movement is infinitely more varied, and players can not only run but can dodge enemy attacks by rolling in different directions, which certainly helps to alleviate many previous frustrations I have personally had with other games of its kind in the past.
Lifespan – 7/10
As well as being bigger and better than Stick It To the Man, Zombie Vikings is also a much longer gaming experience, which always goes down well with me personally. Although the main story can take around the same amount of time to complete as the former, the increased amount of gameplay variety by proxy gives this title much more replay value, and of course, there’s also the multiplayer to indulge in afterward, which can make for many more hours of entertainment.
Storyline – 8.5/10
The story of Zombie Vikings revolves around four zombie Viking warriors who have been summoned by the thunder god Odin to retrieve his stolen eye from the trickster god Loki. The basic of the game’s story seems simplistic, yet outrageously abnormal in scope at first glance, but it is also made enormously interesting throughout with its references to modern life, breaking of the fourth wall, and quirky sense of humor. I was personally delighted to see that the developers had incorporated these same elements as they did in Stick It To the Man, and to witness them having built upon it. The game also excels in storytelling as well as gameplay, which is a market saturated with AAA games seemingly focusing on one and not the other, is always a breath of fresh air to me.
Originality – 8/10
This title is wonderfully unique in every single respect, from its wonderfully weird visuals to its staggering amount of gameplay variety to its coming together of many different ideas, which all form its own fully cohesive concept in terms of story. Ever since the start of the influx of indie games throughout the last two generations, it’s been fantastic to see so much depth and imagination implemented in the majority of these kinds of titles coming from many vastly creative developers, and this game is yet another excellent example of this.
In summation, Zombie Vikings are most definitely one of the best indie games I’ve played through 2015, and I would highly recommend it. It’s a vast improvement on what was a similar-looking yet exemplary game in its own right, and it makes me excited for what Zoink has in store in the future.