Could it be – Volgarr The Viking is a Nordic version of Vulgar Knight? Alas, Volgarr The Viking had been living a humble life of mayhem well before the launch of this site.
No relation then, but it’d be foolish not to review my namesake.
That is, it’s super difficult.
Where is Volgarr from? Where is he going? Why are we here?
You can ask as many questions as you like, but you won’t get any answers from the game as it’s 100% gameplay.
No story, no cute outfits to unlock, no cutscene. Nada.
That makes this review quite brief then, so let’s jump straight to the gameplay.
Volgarr The Viking Switch Review
Volgarr The Viking is like playing a 16-bit title such as Super Ghosts N’ Goblins, Castlevania and a little bit like Gods, but without the merchant and style of puzzles.
The game doesn’t even feel like a retro version of one of these classics.
Instead, Volgarr The Viking feels like you’re playing the real deal: the graphics are spot on, controls are tighter than a duck’s arse (don’t ask), and the sound effects and dramatic score are fantastic.
To counter these positives, there’s a massive elephant in the room called Difficilis (that means ‘difficult’ in Latin. I looked it up):
The game is so brutally hard, that it’s a little too accurate to the games of yesteryear.
- There are no save points.
- One halfway checkpoint per level – these levels are big!
- No souls-like mechanic to level up.
- Ridiculously hard jumping sections, but doable.
If you’re going to get anywhere in Volgarr The Viking, you’re going to require a lot of skill and patience.
Volgarr the Viking is like one of those games that you would get as a kid (if you’re 25+) where you’d be stuck on it for days on end, going into school the next day asking your mates how to get past an area.
Or phoning a premium hotline for any potential exploits or cheats.
My good-looking friend that is not me did that a lot. Definitely not me.
It’s a simple process: Volgarr spawns in a mighty rage, throws a one-hit kill spear into the chest of a random enemy and then proceeds to move from left to right, jumping each obstacle until he gets to the end.
He’s armed with a sword and shield (the latter is useless) and with a simple tap of the Y button, he slashes with the sword.
With the B button, he jumps, and double-tapping creates a double jump.
The moves are very basic with a couple of modifiers: pulling/pressing down plus a button.
This allows you to roll when pressing the jump button, perform a simple lower attack with Y, or if you jump and pull down and attack, you can penetrate through breakable floors to hidden areas.
But it’s the spear that makes Volgarr The Viking unique.
Michael Caine Quote
Pressing the A button unleashes a spear with an insane velocity that embeds itself into walls allowing you to jump on top as a make-do platform to reach other areas.
It also kills.
This mechanic is excellent for solving the best approach to get through a section or to reach some elusive treasure.
Coupled with the double jump, this is classic platforming bliss, albeit, pretty brutal if you don’t get your timings right.
For a slightly more modern approach, don’t overlook Valfaris.
You don’t need to learn attack patterns of enemies much – including the behemoth bosses you encounter as they aren’t anything complex.
Enemies will continuously spawn, and while you can take them out with a hit or two, when you’re trying to get across a chasm, it’s just ruthless.
Add to the fact that when you die, you return to the start of the level, or if you make it halfway, back to the mid-point.
This applies to the boss battles too: lose, and you return to the halfway point.
Though difficult, the controls in Volgarr The Viking are very tight, except for being unable to turn around quickly enough if you end up button mashing waves of enemies.
Adjust The Composition
On occasion (the biggest understatement), you’ll find that you’ll need to plan during a section.
By pressing the L button, the camera will zoom out so you can see your surroundings better.
Like the lack of story, there’s a lack of menu options from when you start the game.
On the bright side, it’s fast loading, and there’s no faffing about, but press the + button, and you’ll find a few features.
The first is in-game achievements, but what’s more interesting is the speed run option where you can add a little timer to the bottom right of the screen.
Volgarr The Viking is an excellent, authentic retro title that is remarkably like the games some of us played in our teens.
The graphics and soundtrack are spot-on, and the controls are more responsive than its peers.
However, it’s incredibly hard, and while you could argue that every death is your fault, there is something about the difficulty that does feel somewhat cruel.