Gameplay, Story and Value:
Lost Vikings puts you in control of Erik the Swift, Olaf the Stout and Baleog the… uh… angry? These three vikings have been kidnapped by aliens and must now travel through space and time, working together to find their way home! Working together is the name of the game, as each of your three vikings has unique abilities you’ll need to use in order to traverse the game’s several levels.
Erik can move quickly, sprint into enemies, bash down walls and is the only of the three who can jump. Olaf can position himself in front of enemies or projectiles to block them, use his shield as a glider to handle long drops, or lift it over his head for Erik to jump off and reach higher areas. Baleog has access to both a sword and a bow, which he can use to dispatch enemies as well as activate switches from a distance.
This type of game would be a disaster without excellent controls, and luckily that’s exactly what we get. Switching between the vikings is as easy as tapping the L or R shoulder buttons and you’re not even required to wait for your active viking to finish their action in order to switch. This keeps everything easy and fluid, and it never feels like a chore moving between your characters. Other controls are all responsive and easy to use as well, making for a very enjoyable experience.
The story is fun and light, and mainly serves to frame the actual game. Luckily that doesn’t stop the dialogue from being fantastic when the vikings do decide to talk to each other. You’ll also be met with various jabs should you repeat a level too many times along the lines of “I feel like we’ve been here before…”
Stages in the game all follow the same formula, requiring use of all three of your vikings in order to reach the exit. Personally, I can only handle playing these kinds of games for so long, so it’s nice that puzzles aren’t so complicated you’ll need to consult guides or anything, allowing the game to carry on at a decent pace. What I don’t like is that in order to finish a stage you must reach the exit with ALL THREE characters, and there’s no way to revive a fallen viking. When one does die, the stage continues on anyway, allowing you explore more of the stage if you choose, but also meaning you have to manually quit and retry a stage each time.
Lost Vikings uses a password system, but the fact that each password is only four characters more or less makes that a non-issue.
Presentation, Music and Sound:
All in all the game looks great. Environments are fun and varied, characters are bright and expressive. Between the character design and excellent animations it could be easy to mistake Lost Vikings for a Saturday morning cartoon. Everything looks good and the details help make it generally easy to figure out what’s going on and what it is you’re supposed to be doing.
Music is pretty good and suites the atmosphere well, and sound effects are both fitting and also help you get a sense of what’s happening in the level.
My biggest problem with games like Lost Vikings is that while I enjoy and appreciate them, there’s just this mental block that prevents me from actually wanting to play them. Games like Zombies Ate My Neighbors and Bomberman fall into this category as well. Once I’ve wrapped my head around the core concepts of a puzzle game, I just can’t really stomach sitting in for another 40 levels of doing the same thing different ways.
That said, I really did enjoy playing it and it’s always great to look at such early Blizzard titles. The humor is spot on and the style is fantastic. It’s a game I may pick up from time to time, but ultimately it’s just not my genre.