We’ve all seen them on television, radio, the internet and in magazines. You know those public service announcements warning of possible threats and how to deal with them. Whether it be smoking or tornadoes many of us have seen them. But have you ever seen one on how to deal with Vikings? If not, then you should try “When Vikings Attack!” (WVA), from a newly-formed studio called Clever Beans.
The gameplay for WVA is rather simple. You control a single citizen who collects other citizens as they come wandering onto the screen into a large group. As you do this, Vikings will be invading the screen and doing the same thing. When these Vikings attack, there are various objects to pick up, all varying in size and scattered throughout the level which you can launch towards the enemy. The item you want to pick up will be determined on how big your group is. So say you only have three people in your group, you will want to go for smaller items like trash cans and chairs. When your group hits about eight to ten people you can grab small cars and phone booths. Once you have an object hoisted, your group can easily toss it at the opposing Viking hoard. Your group has the ability to catch objects but once again it boils down to the size of your group. You can also rotate the object you are holding to help take out the opposing group. The more Vikings you hit, the more enemies will be eliminated. Last man standing essentially wins the game. That is the goal of the game in a nutshell.
There are fifteen themed levels in the game ranging from farms, city streets, malls and even museums. There are special items in the form of bombs you can use to help get you past the Vikings. Bombs are thrown like normal items but some bombs will bounce, and some will explode paint on your opponents. Those hit by the paint will join your group. There are other power ups that citizens possess like faster running speed, strength and throwing skill. They are represented above the head of the character so when you see that character with icon above their head run onto the screen it is always best to grab them as soon as possible.
The only problems I had with the gameplay was that in some instances I found myself losing sight of my group on the screen. These instances only seem to occur in the smaller areas where the action can get rather crazy. It was not a major issue but more of a small annoyance.
In terms of the modes of play you are given two choices, Quest mode and Multiplayer. Quest mode sets you out on a series of locations with a wide range of themes. Each location will span a number of screens each flowing into the other once you have taken out all the Vikings in your path. At the end of each themed area you will be presented with a boss of sorts. I didn’t expect this at all and found them to be a tad too easy. This mode can be played either solo or up to four other players online or offline. There is also an option to set the online feature off and on in case you don’t want anyone joining your game.
During the quest mode you can earn medals for achieving certain goals like number of kills and time it took to clear the stage. You can also try and collect all 69 unique citizens in the game that show up on the screen. Some of them just don’t show up and are hidden in the background somewhere. So keep that in mind if you are hunting for all 69. You can view your collectables between rounds and also the PSA movies can be re-watched from the collectable area too.
The multiplayer side of the game gives you three modes of play. You have Gold Rush where the first to win all five medals wins. To earn these medals you need to win rounds in certain ways like win in a certain amount of time, take out your opponents with bombs, etc. You don’t get the whole medal right away but earn portions of it to stretch out the matches a bit. Another mode is Last Man Standing where the last man standing is the winner once you win three rounds. The last mode is Vikings vs Vigilantes where the first to win three rounds win. I played a lot of multiplayer and encountered no problems at all which was nice. Matches only last a minute. So the games never seem to drag. You can have up to four people playing in the multiplayer either online or offline if you have the controllers for it. This would make a great party game for those who want something quick and fun plus with twenty different arenas to play in, it doesn’t get boring.
For those with a Vita the game supports cross platform play. So you can compete against people who are playing on their PS3. Also when you buy the PS3 version you get the Vita version free. Now that is what I call a bonus. Your saved games are also cross platform supported too so if you start your game on the PS3 you can pick it up on the go on your Vita. There is also the ability to chat from your Vita to people playing on the PS3.
The overall look of the game is very cute. It’s a cross between a Raving Rabbids game and a playmobil set with a cell shaded look and a bit of dry British wit thrown in. The PSA which plays before a few new areas that show new skills are awesome and are in a 1970’s type style The areas are really nice to look at and easy on the eyes but I did find a few where I was disappearing into them losing sight of my group. Items in the game that you throw around are well animated and react properly like the real thing.
Music is a mixed bag. There are some definitely upbeat and catchy tunes but there are some that repeat way too much and some that will have you looking for the volume button. The sound effects fit perfectly and feel rewarding. Voices of the little characters are cute but very stereotypical of British people as they will pipe up with quotes like “Hip Hip!”, “Cheers”, “Ta!” which is ok since the game was made in the UK. The Vikings in the game seem to have gotten the short end of the stick with just being able to emit a series of grunt and yells which work.
Overall, “When Vikings Attack!” is a cute and fun little party game that is perfect for those looking for some mindless entertainment. Granted, the game does get a bit repetitive at times and it does lack some of the depth that many other PSN games offer. At the end of the day when you consider the cross platform abilities (PS3/PS Vita), low price tag and enjoyability, in a mindless cute way, I think it is safe to say Clever Beans did a good job for their first game out of the gate.