Zombie Vikings is a side-scrolling beat ‘em up that was developed and published by the fine folks at Zoink Games, same developer as Stick it to the Man. It all starts when the mischievous trickster god Loki interrupts Odin during his alone time and steals Odin’s good eye. Furious at Loki, Odin creates a task force to track down his thieving son and retrieve his eye once and for all. Now, this is no ordinary team, they are a group of undead Vikings that follow Odin’s every whim. Their perilous journey wouldn’t be complete without some weird and odd characters crossing their paths.
Similar to other beat ‘em ups like Castle Crashers, Zombie Vikings gives the players various weapons and special abilities to accompany them while they lead a charge and try to capture Loki before it’s too late. Each weapon provides different stats, whether it is for the better or worse, and many of them provide their own specific trait to assault the enemies. Some of my favorite weapons are the Trashblarg, which does nothing except lower every stat of your character, and Kitty Popnir, a cat tied to a stick that applies a damage-over-time effect known as “scratches”. This causes every consecutive hit to do more damage. In addition to the weapons, each character gets to choose a rune that gives the character more health or increased movement speed.
This title allows players to go solo or team up with up to four players on either local or online co-op. Playing both single-player and cooperative, I feel that playing cooperatively is the better way to go. Playing with some friends makes the game more interesting and allows some awesome teamwork specific attacks that just decimate the battlefield. However, the developers did a phenomenal job transitioning between the single player and the cooperative side of gameplay. The enemies and bosses are set for the number of players that accompany you throughout the level. Being a lone wolf when your friends are busy doing something else, bosses health bars look like nothing as your hits do a number to them, but invite your friends and all the enemies get a boost of health to prevent your team from steamrolling through the stages. This is a great system to use as it balances the game more while giving co-op a challenging edge to it. Just because you have four people does not mean that the level is a cakewalk. While a majority of the levels can be completed without much trouble, there is never a dull moment where you are just waiting for the level to end. The characters all have their own special heavy attack that goes together with their backstory. The four characters include the following: Seagurd, Hedgy, Gunborg, and Caw-kaa. I primarily played Seagurd throughout my playthroughs, who is a half-man, half-squid zombie that was revered for his seafaring abilities. His special abilities have the squid in his torso spitting poisonous ink at the enemies as well as revealing his tentacles to throw all combatants in the immediate area behind his head.
The most distinct feature of Zombie Vikings is the two-dimensional cardboard cutout styled character models. The characters are represented as flat, but lively individuals that express discrete emotional traits without even needing a third-dimension. The lack of depth provides an interesting way for the characters to move throughout the world. When the characters turn around, the model turns over like flipping a page. It is good to note that this game is also incredibly funny. The character’s dialog is full of funny quips and pop culture references. This game is extremely well written and I found myself laughing out loud at various moments.
I personally really enjoyed playing this title. The single-player provided a bunch of laughs and some fun gameplay whenever I didn’t have any friends on, but the co-op was the way to go with this one. Being able to run through a level with my friends made this game for me and is what kept me interested. The funny dialog also helped keep my interest high and helped the game from getting stale. This was an average beat ‘em up with an extraordinary storyline that in the long run made this game shine bright.
In the end, Zombie Vikings is an interesting title priced at $12 USD and I feel that the price isn’t too high. If you have enjoyed any previous game by these awesome developers, then it would be a no-brainer to pick this one up and even if you have not, you cannot go wrong by giving it a try.
Note: A copy of this game was provided for the purpose of the review.
Final Score: 8/10
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