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Donuts and penguins are weapons of war When Vikings Attack (review)

What you won’t like

It’s visually overwhelming
As you might imagine, sometimes things get too busy on the screen. Vikings are running all over the place, objects are falling from the sky, and bombs are exploding. It’s a bit of a mess, really. It’s tough to see what’s going on at times. The colored circles are a nice touch to help distinguish your mob from your opponents or partners, but these are not always enough. I found myself losing track of my little group more often than I liked.

Repetitive gameplay gets boring
While I really enjoyed puzzling through some areas, many of them are simply themed iterations of earlier levels. Clearing these stages is no different from clearing others, and the environmental challenges are simply new items to toss. This is more true for the later levels; I can see how designers might have started to run out of gameplay ideas long before they ran out of wacky theme ideas, like tossing penguins or giant donuts.

Multiplayer favors the twitchy
I dropped into the vs. multiplayer for a bit, to see if it might rise above the standard. Sadly, the mechanics clearly favor those special people who can press buttons faster than I can, rather than balancing out for more thoughtful gameplay styles. I definitely found the cooperative gameplay far more fun, as we could toss items at each other while we ran from stage to stage, laughing our fool heads off the whole time.

Conclusion

When Vikings Attack isn’t a long, complicated, involved game with cinematic cutscenes, a storyline, an orchestral score, or any of those other hallmarks of bigger games. It’s a cute, easy-to-play, innovative brawler presented with humor and a well-developed sense of fun. It’s even more fun played through with a partner or two, and though the vs. multiplayer isn’t to my taste, I’m sure many gamers will like it.

Bottom line, this is a fine use for $10. When Vikings Attack brings a unique gameplay mechanic to humorous life with enough joy to keep you playing it for a long time to come.

GamesBeat Score: 90/100

When Vikings Attacked released for the Sony PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Vita on Nov. 6. The publisher provided a non-retail downloadable code for the purpose of this review.

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