Impressions

Published on March 23rd, 2017 | by Graham

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Viking Brothers 2 Impressions

Impressions are based on a time-limited free demo of the game - they're not reviews and don't have a score.

Viking Brothers 2, released later today, looks set to be a brilliant new addition to the crowded time management genre.  It follows the story of Everand and Boromere, the eponymous brothers, as they – well, do viking stuff.  Does anyone play these games for the plot?  There’s some stuff about buying fireworks to impress the visiting Viking gods, but accidentally knocking their airship out of the sky, and having to follow it into the mountains, and later Asgard, the realm of the gods.

On the way you’ll be sending their willing workers – you start with just one, and the maximum so far has been two – around a series of attractive screens, picking up resources, erecting buildings that create more resources, and using said resources to get past various obstacles.

It’s pretty standard time management fare, but what I really like about the game is the small scope.  Other games (such as the recent Weather Lord: Graduation, which I enjoyed a lot) will give you half a dozen workers and umpteen resources to collect, which means strategy often goes out the window in favour of frantic clickclickclickclick.

Viking Brothers 2 is slightly more relaxed (by genre standards, anyway – it’s still a clickfest).  The game pauses at the start of each level to let you plan your route a bit.  Once you’ve built a resources building it’s fully autonomous and there’s no need to collect resources from it, or replenish them.  And with just two workers the focus turns into what do I need to click rather than how quick is my click?  It’s a little more strategic, a little more of a puzzle, and with the short levels (each has taken less than four minutes to complete so far), I’m going to be a lot more inclined to go back and hoover up the maximum score on each level at the end.

Difficulty-wise it’s pitched around right for me, e.g. a little tricky but possible to acquire the top score first time around.  And when something went wrong, it was usually pretty clear what my mistake was.

The presentation is lovely, with catchy jaunty tunes and beautifully drawn scenes.  There’s a good range of terrains as you progress through the world map, which helps keep things fresh.

The objectives are pretty standard for the genre – repair these bridges, talk to this guy – but there are some nice exceptions, such as when I’m trying to impress a dwarf by carving a statue of him… except that, each time, he’s unimpressed and demand I build one “More handsome!  Taller!”, until by the the third iteration he’s finally happy with his image as a towering figure.

Another objective that stuck in the mind, though for rather more negative reasons: at one point I was asked to light some fireworks, with the throwaway comment “We just need to make sure we don’t blow ourselves up – the fireworks were made in China!”  There’s no need for the casual racism and I hope the developers patch this line out.

My only other real concern about picking up the full version at this point is over longevity.  In the one hour demo I reached world 15, out of a total of 45 shown on the world map (unless there are some hidden bonus levels).  It’s possible the levels get a little longer, and, as mentioned above, there’s going to be a bit of replayability to nailing the full three gold on each stage, but still – this could be a rather short game.

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