Valhalla Hills (Funatics Software)
Check out the official Valhalla Hills Website
Give the developers feedback on the Steam Discussion Page
Buy your Early Access copy on the Steam Store page
Vikings are normally associated with fighting, pillaging and sailing, but Valhalla Hills from Funatics Software drops these Germanic Norse seafarers in a city building setting instead. In place of raiding and trading, the Vikings are trying to get into Valhalla after Odin decided to close the gates. The Norse god was clearly in a bit of a bad mood as he also exiled his son Leko for being more interested in building than the family business of battles and booze. This is good news for the Vikings though, as with the help of Leko they might attain enough honor to get to Valhalla.
Valhalla Hills is currently out on Steam Early Access and is already in a very playable shape. The developers behind this title has worked on The Settlers 2 and Cultures series, which definitely shows. Although it is a city-building strategy title, it is very accessible and gets straight to the fun without having to micro manage everything. Instead, you are given randomly generated levels where your goal is to reach and open a portal to move on to the next island. Before doing so you’ll want to prepare your Vikings first as they’ll have to deal with the portal guardians before they can move on.
Building your village is as easy as selecting structures from the production, logistics or military menus and then letting your Vikings get on with the construction. You don’t have any direct control over your Vikings and instead they will automatically assume whatever job openings are available. All you need to do is create housing, harvest resources and keep your Vikings fed. If you want to take the exit portal by force you also need to amass an army, but with sacrifices it is also possible to move on in a more peaceful manner. The game features three speed settings, so you don’t have to sit around and wait for things to happen either. Completing each level unlocks a bunch of new buildings, skills and variables to make the next one a bit more challenging and interesting. There are tutorials that explain everything, but it doesn’t take very long to master the basics.
Since the game uses the Unreal 4 engine it looks impressive and features some very detailed visuals. The randomly generated islands look great, as does the Vikings and animals roaming about. The day/night cycle really shows off the lighting effects and you can zoom in to really appreciate the attention to detail. The map can also be rotated to a limited degree, but always snaps back into place. We didn’t encounter any major bugs or glitches during our time with the game and the developers have already released an extensive update to address issues reported by players.
Valhalla Hills is definitely shaping up to be a very entertaining game and there is already plenty of fun to be had in the Early Access version. The game is streamlined enough that even players who are not normally fans of complex strategy titles will be able to appreciate it. This doesn’t mean that the game is dumbed down though. Since the basics are already in place it will be interesting to see how Funatics Software continues to build upon the idea.
*Preview based on Valhalla Hills Update 0.10.16.