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REVIEW / Zombie Vikings (PS4)

 

Zombie Vikings tells the story of Odin raising some vikings from the dead to get his eye back from Loki, ever the trickster. It’s a side scrolling beat ’em up with an interesting art style that feels almost like animated paper. In each level, when you aren’t required to be a specific viking, you can choose one of four vikings to play. In the upcoming Zombie Vikings: Ragnarök Editiön, the physical release due out later this month, there will be 2 extra playable characters: Frostbjörn and Raybjörn. Ray is actually the main character from Zoink’s previous game Stick It To The Man!. Zombie Vikings actually uses the same art style from Stick It To The Man! and it looks really good. The rest of the game, however, does not.

 

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Zombie Vikings’s story tries its hardest to be funny. The problem? It’s not. The jokes fall flat due to poor writing and bad voice acting.  I didn’t care about the story because the cast didn’t seem to either. And how could they, having to deliver lines such as “I’m going to write a tumblr manifesto about this” and “If I’m going to be an undead then I want to be a vampire. The sexy kind, not the sparkly kind.” The way the dialogue is delivered never feels appropriate to any of the situations, even in a humorous way.

The game tries its hardest to make you laugh at jokes you’ve heard a thousand times already, lacking even an ounce of seriousness to balance things out. The stale jokes and strange world never come together to deliver a compelling story to drive you toward the end of the game. The sense of humor feels like it’s for very small children or adults who have never gotten past bathroom humor. There are pop culture “jokes” but none of them are well executed or written. Instead of laughing during this game, I simply groaned at every attempted joke.

 

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The combat in Zombie Vikings gets old pretty quick. The attacks are pretty standard with a basic attack, a special, and a charged up and partially charged version of both. That being said, some special attacks are pretty useless. At least, they appear to be because I still don’t know if Seagurd’s throw does damage. The combat isn’t as responsive as it could be and this leads to frustration. The dodging is awkward and doesn’t always work. Blocking is a mess because there’s no clear indication of what can and cannot be blocked. Some of the attacks will stagger larger enemies out of their special attacks but other won’t.

There’s no real reason to care about the extra swords and runes you can unlock unless you are playing with friends. The effects range from situational to useless. Playing solo is a chore and I ended up sticking with a sword that healed me after each attack and a rune that regenerated my health over time. These two effects are almost required when playing solo.

 

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Zombie Vikings tries to be really fun and funny. It has four very distinct playable characters, with two more on the way in the upcoming Ragnarök Editiön, which also adds five bonus Versus Arenas and a digital artbookIt has a unique art style and score that lend themselves to its quirky sense of humor. The problem is combining those aspects with the bland story and combat. Nothing in the game made me want to play it past the first five minutes. Zombie Vikings‘ potential is smothered by terrible jokes and lackluster combat.

 

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