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When Vikings Attack Review (PS3/Vita)

Alan MacMillan says, don’t lock up your daughters, throw them at the Vikings!

When Vikings Attack can be summed up as a very simple but very fun little game. Out for download on PS3 and Vita, this début gem from Clever Beans will let you download copies for both platforms for the price of one. A great function because it also offers cross-play between the two.

The main mechanic in Vikings is throwing stuff at your opponents. You get a small mob of people that you control as one entity. Those who have played Pikmin or Army Corps of Hell will be familiar with this. You can bring more people into your mob, increasing your hit points so to speak as the more misfits you have in your rabble the more hits you can take. The aim of the game is to throw anything and everything at your opponents mob until they are wiped out. The bigger your mob the bigger items you can throw. And obviously the bigger the item the more damage you can do. Beach balls and buckets will only take out a few folk while a park bench or car is capable of wiping them all out in one clean hit. Having a smaller mob has it’s advantages though as you are harder to hit.

Items vary greatly, from barrels, hay bales, bee hives, tractors, penguins, pandas, tables, portaloos, giant doughnuts and shopping trolleys. There are also special items such as bombs that cause some of the enemy mob to switch sides over to you. The game is relatively simple but there is a degree of tactical play involved. You primarily have 2 buttons: throw and dash. The latter of which works both as a dodge and also as a means of intercepting the enemies projectile to use against them. So when up against human players or tough AI you have to choose whether to quickly grab the nearest or biggest item, or keep your hands free to intercept theirs. You also have the option to use the shoulder buttons to spin your object, giving you a chance of more points and a better hit.

The 15 levels on hand also vary greatly and each one will add environmental hazards and things to play off. For example, you can hurl a penguin off a sign post, bouncing it behind the enemy to hit their weak spot. Or my personal favourite is a busy city crossroads where you can hit traffic lights, causing them to change the flow of traffic directly into your enemy! Four player games on that level can be very very hectic! Different levels offer different items to lob and in single player also offer boss fights which sometimes have a small puzzle element in defeating them.

The gameplay is generally quite fast paced and a lot of fun. In levels where you’re surrounded by smaller items it’s great fun just standing there constantly bombarding your enemy with pots, pans, chairs and all sorts. But the greatest satisfaction is getting that perfect shot with a wide object that wipes them all out in one. Especially when you get that within 5 seconds of a multiplayer game for a nice trophy.

The Vikings element of the game is a minor one. The small story to it is simply as the title suggests; Vikings are invading Britain and the general townsfolk are banding together to fight them off. This gives us some amusing sound bites as each different townsfolk in your mob will have their own little saying. As such we’re treated to some regional accented shouts of “all the apples and pears!”, “Ave it!” and “Flipping Hell!!” to quote a few. This simple humorous addition kept a smile on my face all through the game and adds to the overall jovial feel of the game.

As mentioned before the game offers superb four way multiplayer cross-play between Vita and PS3. This can be done with 2 on 2, 3 PS3’s vs 1 Vita, 3 Vita’s vs 1 PS3 or any variation of the two. The games on hand let you team up and fight civilians vs Vikings or fight free for all. There’s a few gameplay options available like a requirement to defeat your opponent in a multitude of unique ways. I was won through the simple addition of an in-game lobby of sorts, where you can play about in a small arena, throwing stuff around as you wait for other players. Sure beats a “waiting for other players” message with nothing to do. I’ve often thought games lack stuff like this and should do more to keep the player from getting bored waiting in between games.

My only gripe with this game was a glitch that happened a dozen or so levels into the game. Suddenly it seems to have locked the right-directional button down so whether I’m in the menus or in game it keeps pushing me to the right. It’s definitely a game fault as it doesn’t happen outwith the game and strangely doesn’t happen on the first menu screen. I would try re-downloading it but as I’ve been playing on the Vita I don’t want to lose my game save. A small gripe but one nonetheless.

So if you’ve been looking for a fun party game to play with your mates or a casual muck about game on the go for your Vita; this is surely one to get. But if you’ve an aversion to ‘casual games’ please don’t let that put you off. Vikings is easy to pick up but will keep you entertained for hours. It’s simple mechanic and accessible nature though is possibly also it’s weakness. While I haven’t yet got bored of the game it is very repetitive and probably won’t have much replay value once you’re done with it. For the handful of pounds it will cost you though it will be well worth the money. Just don’t go donning a horned helmet…sorry, rounded helm, and go pillaging for it!

8 Vicious Vikings out of 10

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