When Vikings Attack review
- Posted November 8th, 2012 at 08:55 EDT by Steven Williamson
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Great value for money, solid multiplayer content and addictive gameplay.
- Instant pick-up-and-play appeal and accessibility. Fights are fast-paced and fun.
- Excellent replay value with co-op and strong multiplayer modes.
- Visually entertaining and creative with nice cel-shaded backdrops and tons of quirky projectiles to chuck.
- Weapon variety is visually impressive but they're largely just projectiles that have the same effect.
- Auto-target mechanic takes away some of the challenge.
When Vikings Attack is a multiplayer-focused PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Vita game from Clever Beans that succeeds in delivering an entertaining take on the brawler genre thanks to its simple yet engaging gameplay and solid multiplayer options. Revolving around the concept of a Viking invasion that takes place in 70s Britain and threatens to disrupt the traditional way of life of many civilians, When Vikings Attack puts you in the role of a group of civilians defending their territory.
Players control a mish-mash of ‘normal’ people from society, including businessmen, butchers, schoolboys and priests, as they defend their precious town from the marauding invaders by throwing any object that they can find at the baying mob. This isn’t a typical Viking invasion though, which would probably involve the likes of axes and spears, but the action actually feels more akin to a Euro football hooligan brawl as players fight outside cafes using tables as weapons and on high streets picking up dustbins and street furniture to hurl at their enemies.
The underlying mechanics are extremely simple. Though you control a group of approximately 12 civilians, they all bunch together in a circular formation so you move them as one entity with the left analogue stick. The brave bunch zip around the arena picking up objects to chuck at their attackers, from hay-bales and benches to large pieces of meat and ambulances. The weapon range is incredibly diverse, though most of the objects are simply used for throwing and have the same impact no matter what you pick up. The variety is largely for aesthetic purposes only, but it makes fighting much more fun and a standard weapon-set of pistols and machine-guns just wouldn't have the same impact.
The aim of the game is to throw these objects at the other group or groups of enemies who are also tossing projectiles at your pack. When you hit them, or vice versa, the group gets smaller. If they destroy your team, it’s game over and you start that arena again. You’re essentially locked into an area until you’ve destroyed waves of attackers before being allowed to walk up the street to the next battle arena.
There’s a good range of well-crafted, cel-shaded arenas that provide the backdrops to the action, from farms and village fetes to parks and shopping centres. They all have a distinctly British feel to them too, both visually with the likes of red post-boxes dotted around the high street, to the sound-bites that you’ll hear. Check out the regional accents from civilians, such as the Brummies shouting out ‘flippin ‘ell’, or the occasional ‘Alreet’ in a Geordie accent, which add to the humour that runs throughout the game. There’s also some witty public announcement videos from the Department of Vikings that are well worth watching prior to some of the levels.
Though there’s only two buttons you need to worry about, ‘X’ to dash and ‘Square’ to throw, each battle requires an element of strategy. While tossing a car at a group of bad guys can knock them all out in one go, a chair may only kill a few of them, so there’s a constant cat-and-mouse battle for the best weapons in each arena. The dash move allows you to dodge away from incoming projectiles and race towards your favourite items, but can also be used to steal the opposition’s weapons right out of their hands by bumping into them.
As you get further into the game you’re introduced to various new features, including different coloured missiles which can be used to cause splash damage, or even make some of Vikings flee from their own team and join your side. There’s also environment-based tactics that can be used, such as bouncing a bomb off a lamppost to get the right angle to get behind an enemy’s shield. You’ll also have to keep an eye out for wandering civilians who will join your cause if you brush past them.
Some civilians even have special abilities. While having a character who is strong on your side enables you to lift a limo over your shoulder and effortlessly toss it toward the pack, another may have a running ability that allows your group to pick up the pace, which can ... (continued on next page)
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