Life sucks sometimes and when it does the last movie I want to watch, book I want to read, or game I want to play is something heavy and emotional. Sometimes a bit of comedy is in order, and that’s what stands out about this week’s Kickstarter game Valhalla: A Viking’s Beard.
Let me introduce you to Erik. Erik is a Viking…with an epic beard. So epic, that it has earned the jealousy of the god Odin, who is the only beardless god in Valhalla. Understandably upset about his lack of a facial rug, Odin strikes up a deal with Erik. He will give Erik shelter, fire, and food to protect against the elements while he is down on his luck if Erik will in turn give Odin his beard. It’s a tough decision, but with the threat of death growing ever nearer, Erik agrees. Unfortunately, he soon learns one of the most important lessons he will ever learn:
Never strike a deal with a god. They will always screw you over.
The pig was the runt, the campfire is but a few twigs, and the tent offers little protection from the raging blizzard. Disheartened but determined to make things work, Erik tries to kill the pig. A small pig is better than none, right?
But the pig is immortal and can’t be killed. Said magical pig pees on the campfire, instantly putting it out, and the fierce winds blow the tent away completely. So Erik sets about on the search for a shelter, only to find that the pig refuses to leave him.
Remember kids, never strike a deal with a god.
Understandably upset about the whole ordeal, Erik decides to get his beard back, whatever the cost. This sets him on a journey through the countryside in which he must battle eight of the Norse gods beneath Odin as he slowly regrows his beard and regains his powers.
Valhalla: A Viking’s Beard promises to be a silly, funny side-scroller game with a bright, cheerful art style. Given the nature of the main quest, I can only imagine what crazy, amusing side quests will be in store.
What makes Valhalla a no brainer is the simple fact that it doesn’t take itself too seriously. It doesn’t try to replicate life with its graphics, it doesn’t try to be dark or edgy, and it doesn’t try to have some mind blowing ending that will force you to sit around for days contemplating all you thought you knew about life. What makes Valhalla different from so many big names games (and even games that we tend to cover) is that it’s a happy, cheerful, silly romp that’s there to give you a good time. The game is there to be fun. And quite frankly, I love it.
But that’s not all. This Kickstarter game is a bit different from others because it’s not for just one game, but two. In addition to The Viking’s Beard, the single player game in which you attempt to get Erik’s beard back, is Valhalla: A Viking Battlefield which is the prequel and tells the tale of how Erik got to be so damn epic in the first place. A Viking Battlefield has single player and online multiplayer functionality which allows you to fight against either waves of enemies, or other players in a Smash Bros style.
Um, yes, yes I want this game. Again, what I love about Smash Bros is it isn’t meant to be serious. It’s so silly and so over the top that sometimes, with the right group of players, it can be downright hilarious to play.
When was the last time a game made you laugh aloud? Sometimes when analyzing the game market we spend so much time looking at the most epic, realistic, gritty games we can find and place them on these absurd pedastals saying that they are “what games should be”. But I fear in doing so we forget how games started. And while I certainly enjoy the progression of more mature and thematic games, it’s not at the cost of forgetting how games began. While you certainly could find a deeper meaning to Asteroids or Frogger, that isn’t the purpose of those games, and to say it is sells them short. What old school games understood that newer games seem to miss is that sometimes a game should be epic for its hilarity, its humor, and its ability to bring joy to the people who play it.
Let’s bring fun for the sake of fun back to games. You know the drill: find the kickstarter here and donate if you can, spread the word if you can’t!