Jotun: Valhalla Edition is one of those rare Kickstarter gems that captures what the developers set out to do, then exceeds it. The artwork is amazing, but I’ll get into that later. In Jotun you play as Thora, a bad ass Norse warrior with a battle axe. Thora unfortunately died an inglorious death and is unable to make it into Valhalla, that is unless she can prove herself to the gods. Sounds easy enough at first thought right? WRONG. These gods are massive and mercilessness. They will most definitely force you to prove yourself worthy of entry.
The controls are simple: you have two attacks, a light and a heavy attack. You also have a dodge move to avoid oncoming attacks. Through-out your journey you will gain God powers such as to heal, make you invulnerable for a bit, and one to create a doppelganger of yourself to allow you to get away and reposition yourself. There are others but I’ll leave those spoilers out. The individual enemies aren’t too bad until they start surrounding you. Knowing the patterns and movements are key to master in this game. The bosses though..damn. These are massive enemies that usually take up about a third of your screen making you feel quite dwarfed (pun intended 🙂 ). These massive, awesome bosses are difficult yet rewarding to fight against. Though they are difficult it isn’t too hard to notice the pattern and to plan a strategy around said pattern. One of the reasons why these bosses are difficult is the fact that you do not do that much damage. There are ways you can do more damage but you’ll have to look at the environment at times. Most of it is timing, when to power up your heavy attack and time it as it isn’t an instant attack and hope the boss hasn’t moved before you release it.
Now here comes the artwork. As soon as I turned the game on I was blown away by the hand-drawn characters and animation. I immediately posted to the GameOctane crew, “I’M IN A GOD DAMNED DON BLUTH GAME!!” Everything was beautiful and smooth. The backgrounds were amazing and the art direction was key to making this story memorable. At time you would walk to an edge or over a bridge and the game would zoom out or slide over to show you a much bigger picture or show the level on a grander scale.
The artwork alone makes this game worth looking into. The story and direction should push this into the must buy range. Though it is difficult and can be frustrating it is beatable. It is available on Xbox One, PS4, Wii U and PC.
Gorgeous hand drawn artwork
Challenging yet fun game play
Art and story direction is amazing
At times you can miss a heavy hit if moving
Only replay value is the Valhalla Mode, which is a boss rush mode.