Fimbul is a Norse comic action-adventure game by Wild River and Zaxis games. It follows Kveldulver after an attack on his home village and his quest for justice. During the attack Kveldulver is mortally wounded and is brought back to life by the Norns, female beings who rule the destiny of gods and men. Apparently.
The game is pretty heavy on the Norse mythology, and i’m not entirely sure the comic-book style gels very well with the actual gameplay. I also found it pretty hard to follow in places and if i’m honest, just started forwarding through it to get back to the game proper.
The game itself is actually very good looking. the Art style and the way the characters move and interact all looks good, and the snow in particular can be quite beautiful. I found it quite nice walking around the world looking at the scenery. That is when the camera isn’t trying to hide everything behind a tree.
Granted you don’t often get long to enjoy the scenery, as you’re pretty much constantly under attack. Be it from raiders, natives or giant trolls- there’s seemingly always someone who wants to split your noggin open. Luckily the combat is one area where this game excels. It’s fast, intuitive, and you can manage large encounters quite easily. The special attacks you can unlock often result in limbs and heads flying through the snow leaving stark patches of blood on the pristine white floor. The fact that that kind of damage is limited to the specials means it’s not overused and the sight of a limb or head tumbling through the air is always gratifying to see.
Yet again though, the opaque nature of the game starts to get in the way . You’re often left to figure out things for yourself, such as how to heal. I spent 20 minutes repeating one section because i’d managed to get into it with only a sliver of health and had 3 large group encounters to get through where I literally couldn’t be hit once. Granted, by the end of it I was very good at the combat, but I still had to resort to re-loading an earlier save to try it again with more health.
Turns out you heal by plonking down a giant banner which gives an area-of-effect healing increase because of course it does. Now there is a section later on in the game where it tells you how to spend these action points you earn, and in there you can see how each stat works; So you’d realise about the healing then, but unless I missed it, you’re not actually told about this earlier and that is a big issue. If we were told about it then it certainly wasn’t highlighted enough.
This is a bit of a misstep and I feel it is endemic of the game as a whole. The art and style has gotten in the way a bit of the game. The gaming tropes of tutorial levels and easy run-through of each skill you’ll need early on to let you get used to them are there for a reason; they’re needed. And don’t even get me started on the giant monsters with searchlight-eyes. As I literally have no idea what those sections are about, or why they’re there.
The boss fights though are really good. You’re given weak areas to exploit, attacks to avoid and they all feel pretty organic and well pitched. I enjoyed the Troll fights enormously for example. And that there is the pattern of the game, good things at regular intervals with periods of confusion and fighting against the interface or design. There’s enough there to make it worth playing, but just be prepared for a certain degree of frustration.
The Verdict – On Target
Platforms Available – Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, STEAM
Platform Reviewed – Switch
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