By Joseph Puntschart / February 3rd, 2017
|Genre||Casual Strategy RPG|
|Platform||PC (via Steam)|
One of the benefits of Steam is that the platform allows smaller games to get more exposure than if they were released on a console’s digital storefront due to higher costs of putting it on sale and the preference of the console market towards physical media, meaning smaller digital-only games would get ignored by a sizable amount of the potential market. Star Vikings is an interesting game to describe the concept from a story perspective. It is a game about explorers who go through outer space having to save the galaxy while fighting against an army of snails. This is due to some confusion that occurs after the protagonist has his prized table wedge “stolen” by a tribe of snails, when the table wedge in reality is a sacred artifact of some kind. It’s an interesting setting for a rather simplistic game.
The gameplay is quite simple. It is a grid based strategy game where the objective of your party of characters is to clear the assigned goal for each level. This includes advancing through a certain number of sections, defeating a certain number of enemies, or collecting a certain amount of gold. There are multiple classes that have different properties, such as the Shooter, the Tank and the Valkyrie. The Shooter can fire lasers onto a square of the player’s choice and damage the enemy from a distance, while the Tank can push enemies around and take more damage thanks to its higher HP. Furthermore, the Valkyrie can use a support spell allowing protection against one attack on the party member it is cast on. There are a few other classes of course, and a good amount of variety in the succinct experience that this game provides.
The game is fairly short, as there are only 3 main worlds to progress through after you complete the tutorial. There are several stages in each of the four worlds that you have to complete, with a few postgame stages also available within each world. The levels do get progressively harder though, with adding new party members essential to ensuring the endgame levels are easier. However for the most part with a bit of thinking the stages aren’t too difficult to knock out, which is a very good thing as this is what the game sets out to achieve. There are other gimmicks such as spike traps, NPC shooters and fog to add an additional layer of difficulty. To counteract this raised challenge, there is also a leveling system for the main characters including upgrade points to boost HP, SP and add powers to the special ability on each of the characters. There are also shops where you can buy goods to help you on your way, such as healing and offensive items and stat boosters. Admittedly, my playthrough of this title took longer than what I believe to be the average, as for some reason I encountered a glitch similar to the “Blue Screen of Death” when I entered a level in the second main world. Unfortunately I had to restart the entire game as I wasn’t able to get around this. So, while the game took me 20 hours in total to complete according to Steam, I would wager that had I not needed to restart, it may only have taken me around two thirds of that total time.
The music is average to good. While all of the OST is good quality, most of the tracks on offer don’t really stand out to me aside from the title and level ending themes, which are awesome rock-based tracks. The visuals also follow a similar approach, with the generic character and enemy designs outweighed by the attractive cartoon visuals of the world around them, especially on the world maps like the moon world. When the whole game is played out, the story isn’t anything to write home about as it only really serves to carry the game along and not much else. The story is admittedly funny, and that is helped by the well written English text (and there is also Brazilian Portuguese subtitles too if you can speak it). The other minor quibble is that the maximum limit of gold you can carry is too low for the majority of the game, meaning you will often have to offload on buying excess party members or items when you don’t need to.
To conclude, Star Vikings is a fun game that achieves what it sets out to do; being a casual strategy game with a fair amount of challenge. Simplistic budget releases can be as well-made as the bigger releases and Rogue Snail have produced a game that, in that respect, is a success, especially at its budget price of £6.99. It won’t break new ground, but it’s definitely worth your time. There’s no confusion with that.
Review copy supplied by publisher
casualIndieindie reviewReviewrogue snailRPGstar vikingsstrategy