Review: Viking: Sigurd’s Adventure
Review copy provided by developer via Curator Connect
With the overwhelming glut of indie platformers on Steam, it can be hard for titles to stand out. Some try to invent new mechanics, often with mixed results. Others put forth elaborate art styles unlike anything you’ve ever seen. And others go hard on the fundamentals and rely on pure quality to carry them. Viking: Sigurd’s Adventure does none of these things. It looks like a mobile port of a dead simple platformer because it is, a title that exists to let you collect things to unlock things that make collecting things easier. There are about a hundred platformers I would recommend before this one, but in the space it occupies, it’s one of the better time-wasters you can pick up.
Mighty Sigurd returns to his village to find it ransacked by a tubby dragon. The beast has flown the coop and left a horde of slavering monsters in its wake. The Jarl of the settlement took a beating in the process, and implores Sigurd to go after the dragon and mete out some justice. Turns out the road to said dragon winds through 45 stages of platforming, across rocky cliffs and snow-swept peaks and scorched firelands, all full of wolves and spiders and bees that hold deep grudges against Viking types. These places are also full of coins and runes that Sigurd can use to become yet mightier though, so if he keeps his eyes peeled and combs every location, he should have no problem keeping up with his foes.
Before you mistake that poetic license for an epic adventure, let me run down how this thing actually plays. Loading into the game drops you into a splash screen of the village, where you have buttons for a currency exchange store, upgrades for gear and passive bonuses, and a timed chest that serves as a daily login reward. Clicking over to the map gives you a long Candyland-esque road dotted with levels to tackle, and clicking on a level lets you know how many coins and runes you’ve found and enemies you’ve defeated. Once you enter a level you get a text cutscene with hand-drawn portraits, featuring a wild-eyed and possibly constipated Sigurd yapping about something in broken English before chucking you into the level.
Surely that all screams mobile port, and if the store actually let you pay money for coins or runes instead of just exchange them for each other the experience would be complete. But it is at least balanced for a cashless PC experience, as you will surely note from the incredibly baseline platforming. Sigurd (who now has entirely different hair and facial features in his 3D model) can scoot left and right, double-jump, swing his sword, throw axes, and pick up boxes to place on ye olde pressure plates to open gates. The game has that floaty, not-quite-aligned feel that mobile platformers often do, though the controls are more solid than you’ll find in most games of this caliber. You’ll use those moves to dispatch simple pacing enemies and scramble over platforms and bridges to find 60 coins and 3 runes per level, at least if you want to upgrade your gear.
That’s it! There are a few simple bosses in the game, and a few new enemies as you progress, but the gameplay is forever and always about collecting doodads on your way to the exit. It’ll take you hours to get through all 45 levels, but without powerups or setpieces to break up the flow, it’s going to become repetitive in the first 20 minutes. There are loads of games like this on Steam, and loads more that are richer, more varied experiences. But honestly, a game being simple or unambitious isn’t the same as it being bad. It’s like a grocery store frozen cheeseburger… no one in their right mind would pick it over the dozens of objectively better burgers out there, but sometimes some folks just get a specific taste for it or want some simple and familiar. I’m certainly not telling anyone to run out and grab Viking: Sigurd’s Adventure for their platforming needs, but if you have a specific taste for something basic, it’s a solid pick in its space.