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Trial by Viking Reviewed by Cyril Lachel on . Despite having a fun premise and a lot of things to buy, Trial by Viking falls short of being an involving action game. It's a game plagued by generic 2D platforming, floaty controls and a story that drags on far longer than it should. Worst of all, Last Life Games' turns exciting mythology into a boring and tedious slog. Rating: 40%
Trial by Viking
Trial by Viking Trial by Viking Trial by Viking Trial by Viking
  • Review Score:

  • C-
With so many stories and characters to pull from, you would think it would be nearly impossible to screw up Norse mythology. From epic fights that stretch deep into the cosmos to powerful gods with mighty hammers, it's hard to imagine a boring retelling of these larger-than-life stories. And yet, that's exactly what Last Life Games has done with Trial by Viking, a frustratingly long platformer that turns the exciting source material into a real snooze.

You play a simple Viking who gets talked into going on an epic adventure filled with mythological villains, frustrating dungeons and brain-teasing puzzles. As it turns out, Loki's carelessness is set to rip the cosmos apart, and Odin needs our brave Viking to make his way through dozens of treacherous levels and become the hero the world needs. The risk is high, but it's better than letting humanity spiral into an age of destruction.

While a quest through Norse mythology sounds like a great jumping off point, Trial by Viking squanders the killer concept by offering generic level designs and muted backgrounds. It's a paint-by-number 2D platformer where our hero has to endure floating platforms, bottomless pits and a bevy of boring enemies. And just when it start to notice how repetitive the tasks are, you realize that there are still 95 stages left to be cleared.

To its credit, Trial by Viking does attempt to add some depth to the typical platformer. Our hero will hunt down treasure in each stage, which he can use to buy new weapons and accessories between levels. This gives us a chance to not only equip a powerful axe, but also a spear and a ring for double jumps. There are a lot of different items to buy and swap between, though not all of them are the right fit for the level. Sometimes it will make more sense to bring along bombs or equip a more powerful weapon.

Trial by Viking (Steam)Click For the Full Picture Archive

Although it's handled in a clunky way, I like that the game offers a lot of items to buy and equip. What I don't like is the way the game handles. From the floaty movements to the imprecise jumps, I had a hard time moving my Viking through the increasingly difficult terrain. All this is made worse by the terrible combat, which is little more than our hero swinging his axe and hoping for the best. This is a game defined by cheap hits and frustrating deaths.

It doesn't help that the stages begin to blur together after a while. You'll run into the same textures, enemies and platforms from one stage to the next, something that quickly takes its toll. Everything is so dark and dreary, never once making the quest look inviting. Even with the addition of puzzles and different obstacles, there's a sameness that runs through every stage.

Trial by Viking (Steam)Click For the Full Picture Archive

But as much as I disliked the floaty gameplay and dreary visuals, the real problem with Trial by Viking is its length. There are simply too many levels to play through, with only a handful of them being memorable in any way. The padding turns what should have been a quick and painless romp into a real slog. Even if the developers fix every other problem in this game, the level designs simply aren't unique enough to warrant this much content.

Trial by Viking has a fun premise and a lot of cool accessories to buy, but that's not enough to save the terrible gameplay and overlong story. This is a generic 2D platformer with floaty controls, boring level designs and frustrating boss fights. And worst of all, it's stuffed with so much padding that I started to wonder if letting the world burn was a viable option.
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