Zombie Vikings follows the story of four unfortunate Zombie’s known as Gunborg, Seagurd, Hedgy and Caw-kaa.The Zombie Vikings set-off on an adventure to retrieve Odin’s lost eye. A simple premise of a story and it works really well due to the fantastic comical writing that is throughout the entire game and it never offers a dull moment. All the characters are unique and have their own characteristics that you will experience as you progress through the game as there are set levels where you will have to use a certain character. However, if there were four of you playing you won’t encounter the need to change, as all characters will be present. It’s a nice feature for those that may be playing solo or co-op, giving you the opportunity to experience each character on certain levels. It’s nice to have a couch co-op title that has interesting set of characters and a humorously-decent story.
The controls are very solid and are responsive, making you feel like you are dealing the heavy blows to our unfortunate foes. The game uses the Square for normal/charge attacks, Triangle for your special attack, which is unique to each character, Circle to pick up enemies or allies, X to Jump, R2 too run fast and can be combined with Square, and lastly L1 or R1 to block/roll. The controls are really easy to pick-up and the slow pacing at the start of the game will help you get use to the controls for the first few levels of the campaign until you start encountering more and more enemies.
Zombie Vikings offers a beautiful soundtrack with catchy music throughout the game, it also has excellent voice-overs from the characters too, however the voice-overs can sometimes be very faint and out of sync. One of the best audio inclusions is the pause menu, whenever you go into the pause menu you will have the opportunity to listen to some lovely comical melody’s about pausing. It would be great if more games took a similar approach.
The gameplay itself is pretty straight forward, brawl, smash some crates for coins and health, and continue. Zombie Vikings does offer something interesting though and that’s with its side-quests. These side-quests help break away from your generic hack and slash moments and set you off on quests to retrieve items, save people or to capturing gnomes. There is a nice variety of the side-quests and it does help break-up the game. These can be accessed during the level itself or once you have completed the level. This adds to the replay value in my opinion.
However, the gameplay can be a bit tiresome if you are playing solo, it certainly isn’t really an experience I would recommend. This certainly needs to be played through with another person as the repetitiveness can take its toll; I think this is mainly due to the enemy designs than anything else. There’s not too much variety and if there is a different variation of an enemy, they’re not too much different. There are of course a few enemies that are well designed, the boss battles are enjoyable and range from easy to puzzle-esk battles. Sadly, they’re not too challenging especially if there are 4 players joining in on the action, perhaps it would have been an idea to have the boss difficulty taken up a notch, depending on how many co-op players there are?
The level designs are beautiful and offer a wide range of different environments; I love the pop-up book effect the design offers as you progress through each level, similar to Stick It To The Man. It’s a very unique art-style and each character is designed very well and as the story develops for each character, you learn a bit more about the characters and it explains how they gained their abilities. As I mentioned above briefly about the humorous writing, the writing and voice-overs in the game are brilliant and offer a very comical experience. I think a lot of what is said in the dialogue is helped by the design of the game. Just be prepared for a fair share of swearing, so if you are planning on playing this with siblings. Avoid.
Even though Zombie Vikings is very enjoyable and offers a great couch co-op/online co-op experience, the game has a lot of bugs and glitches, framerate issues and screen tearing. The main issue I have with the game is that even after the most recent patch (1.02) there are still game breaking bugs. Myself and my partner have experienced a fair few game breaking bugs that are utterly frustrating and will require you to restart levels. We have had issues with a few levels when there were a lot of enemies on screen, not only does the framerate struggle, but enemies end up disappearing. This makes it impossible to progress forward as all the enemies on the screen need to be killed to progress. This has happened roughly 5 times throughout various levels during my playthrough and 3 times online.
The framerate issues are a big problem with this game and sadly does happen more often than not, because at times there can be a lot going on in one screen. It’s a shame, but because essentially button-mashing is key to this game, whilst the framerate drops you can still do that, just a bit slower. The screen tearing can be seen too in the corner of the screen flickering here and there, not too noticeable but still an issue that needs addressing.
Overall, Zombie Vikings is an excellent co-op experience, be it via the couch or connecting to friends online, Zombie Vikings is a must have co-op title (when it works). It offers a lot of enjoyment when there is more than one person playing, as a solo game I do not really recommend it. It’s been designed for multiplayer and that’s where it works best. The replay value is there, especially if you wish to get the platinum trophy. The game offers interesting characters, a funny story and excellent voice-acting, a brilliant soundtrack and all-round the design is just like a pop-up book, one in fact you don’t wish to put down. There are sadly too many bugs and glitches in the game, especially game breaking bugs which cause painful frustration, which has stopped Zombie Vikings having a higher review score. Once update 1.03 releases I will re-asses the bug situation with Zombie Vikings and see if the issues mentioned above have been resolved.
+ The writing is excellent
+ Unique characters and decent story
+ Controls are solid
+ Imaginative design
+ Couch co-op at its best
+ Fantastic soundtrack with comical pause menu melodys
+ Side quests help break up the repetitiveness
+ Online co-op works well, can suffer from a bit of lag
- Frame rate drops very often
-Minor audio syncing issues
-Game breaking bugs