Very few games managed to garnish so much attention as Valheim. Despite being in early access since early 2021, it managed to sell over 7 million copies, and for a good reason. There are plenty of things to love about Valheim and only a few that you can criticize the game for. It may not be everyone’s cup of tea but the Steam reviews do make a compelling argument as to if you should play the game or not. The reviews are overwhelmingly positive and most players that reviewed the game on Steam have invested tens of hours into the game.
What is Valheim?
Valheim is the 10th realm in Norse mythology. It is the place where the most deadly creatures known to both god and man live and the gods themselves fear these powerful monsters. You, the player, are sent by a Valkyrie to this mythological land to kill the most fearsome creatures in Valheim and make this land more hospitable. There are 9 creatures or bosses if you will that you will need to slay.
There isn`t much more to the story and this feels like a missed opportunity. Norse mythology is filled with amazing creatures, gods, and stories that could have been adapted to a certain degree and used to make the story in Valheim a bit more engaging. However, the story of the game is not the reason why so many players paid for an early access indie title in the first place.
A Continuous but Pleasant Grind
The game can be categorized as a third-person survival game with a dodge system inspired by the likes of Dark Souls. In the beginning, you will not have much to do. You can collect wood, hunt for food, and craft basic items. You cannot even mine rocks because you do not have a pickaxe. You will eventually reach a plateau as it is so much you can do with what is given to you and then it is time to attempt and kill your first boss.
One aspect that makes Valheim such an interesting game is the progression system. Your progress in the game only by killing the bosses which are 9 mythological creatures. The first boss is a giant deer and once you kill it, you can use its antlers which then you can use to mine rocks, copper and make more tools. With these new tools, you can craft new items. You get stronger with each new item you craft and each item you craft requires hours of grinding to gather materials. Again, you will reach a plateau or become as powerful as you can be with your current progression. Once that point is reached, you will need to kill the next boss that enables you to build more powerful items or enhance your settlement. Each boss provides some sort of value and means to progress in the game, making each session of grinding much more rewarding.
The crafting in the Valheim can be tedious. You have to gather resources for hours at end to craft consumables, weapons, armor and enhance your settlement. However, when you manage to craft an item, it is extremely rewarding as it helps you move forward towards your next goal.
Since it is a survival game, you will also need to build a settlement. Building settlements is nothing compared to games such as Minecraft. You need to build a strong foundation that will be able to support whatever it is you are trying to build. Having a weak foundation on which you are trying to build a large settlement will just cause it to collapse even before you get to finish it.
Basic Combat and Great Bosses
The combat in Valheim is very simple. You get to craft a few different weapons and each weapon you craft influences how to engage enemies and bosses. It is a simple as aim and shoot but each boss is unique and has special abilities which will require you to have a tactical approach and some sort of understanding about their abilities. There is a dodge system that is similar to the one in Dark Souls. Mastering the dodge system will prove to be a challenge but once you manage to get the hang of it, the way you engage encounters will change.
Rinse and Repeat
Valheim has a level of replayability that is unique. The world is procedurally generated. In the first few playthroughs of the game, exploration will be the main attraction. Once you are done exploring, the next playthroughs will be all about optimization and finding better ways of beating the bosses and crafting more efficiently.
The world itself has a unique appeal and despite being procedurally generated, nothing feels random. There are no areas that feel out of place and resources as always well-spaced out to ensure that you do not simply find a gold mine in one of the playthroughs.
Not Shiny but Pretty
The visuals in the game will not blow anyone away in terms of fidelity or realism. Textures are pixelated and it seems that Valheim is trying to be a more modern Minecraft. It manages to achieve this and surprisingly, the world looks and feels stunning. Exploring forests and different areas on the map will prove that the developers created a visually appealing world. It gets even more astonishing when finally managing to build a boat and explore Valheim by sea. What you should be wary about is that the waters are filled with giant monsters that you will have to fight.
It Is Still an Early Access Game…
Valheim is still in early access on Steam. It has received constant updates and there is a development roadmap and a schedule that the developers have shared with the community. So far, the developers have been prompt in addressing issues, and all the players that tried it notice are that bugs are fixed very fast. Valheim has fewer bugs in its early access stage than many full-release games. It does not feel like an early access game and for what you pay for to get to play Valheim, there is plenty of value and replayability. You can invest tens of hours into Valheim and still not be bored of it.
Written by: default_logon