We like a bit of originality in our games, so when we saw When Vikings Attack land on the PSN a couple of weeks ago our eyes widened considerably… Control a mob of townsfolk, and fend off waves of advancing Vikings by picking up anything you can cope with and lobbing it at them. Gather more people and you can start to pick up heavier stuff, get a few knocked out and you’ll be limited to smaller things. It’s simple, it’s adorable, and it’s great fun.
Not only that, it’s built for multiplayer mayhem. Four players can team up at once and take on the Vikings in addition to some competitive options. Giving it the full beans with 4 players is definitely the way to go, in fact at times you’re almost forced into it with some enormously tough bosses if you’re going alone.
Visually When Vikings Attack! is lovely, it’s bright and colourful without looking like someone has thrown up at a paint eating party (everyone’s been to one of those, right?). Environments and characters are nicely drawn and capture the 70s setting perfectly, and despite everything going a bit mental when there’s a lot going on it’s usually surprisingly simple to follow the action. There’s a great range of areas to fight through, from a farm and a town through to a factory with plenty of relevant stuff knocking around to chuck around the place. It’s weird that every item is much the same as any other when you’re launching it across the screen, and a chunk of Stonehenge will have the same effect as a park bench or stretch limo (all of which you’ll have chance to chuck about the place), but they at least vary from smaller items like melons and traffic cones, and there’s so much to use it’s easy to ignore.
Buy the game and you’ll get both PS3 and Vita versions, so not only will you get chance to take your mob-fun around with you but also play online with those on the other platform. This isn’t the first game to do something like this, but it’s always welcome and perfect for those gamers with both systems to hand. It won’t use any of the Vita’s fancy touch-based toys, but that really doesn’t matter when you’re having so much fun.
The fun does partly rely on having several players available though, and aside from the spiking difficulty when you play by yourself, it just feels more enjoyable if you sit down on a Friday night with a beer or twelve and a couple of mates before diving in and kicking off the chaos. The whole campaign can be played using either online or local multiplayer options, so there’s plenty to keep you occupied when you’ve got a bit of company. There are a few little bits to keep you going if you’re on your own – beating your high scores, unlocking new characters and friends leaderboards help a bit, but not as much as other folk to play with.
With When Vikings Attack! Clever Beans have done a great job at making a highly accessible and entertaining title which, with the cross-platform versions thrown into the deal, is a great value game to play with friends. To a lone gamer it’s slightly tougher to warrant the £7.99 price tag, but it’s very enjoyable nevertheless. If you’re the type of person who likes a night in with others you might have a new option to offer them, it’s simple enough to get to grips with, but a decent challenge and great fun – ideal for a group with mixed gaming abilities.
Reviewed on PS3