Die For Valhalla, a 2D beat-em-up rougelite by Monster Couch, is a game that succeeds in many ways, but does not make a great first impression on the player.
When I first started playing, the possession mechanics and combat seemed a little too generic, and the combat at first largely resulted in a button mashing competition between me and the A.I. After a little bit of play, I discovered a very intricate souls-like 2D mechanic to the game. I was dashing all around the map, using my possession and abilities, evading incoming fire, and tactically using my weapons at the right time. Die For Valhalla is a relic of a time where games were made to have fun, and not show off technical ability, new control mechanics, or next generation graphics.
On the outside, this game does not resemble something very out of the ordinary for the slew of indie games being self-published on to the PlayStation store and Steam, but on the inside, this game features a gameplay gimmick that carries the majority of the game, which is the ability to control fallen vikings through possession as your character, a Valkyrie. This adds some very interesting aspects to the gameplay, where soldiers are expendable, and when to send them back to Valhalla and when to keep them in the combat for longer.
Although the gimmick is fun at first, I got bored within an hour, as it is the same gameplay concept over and over. First, you attack the enemy, then you dodge their attack, and you keep on doing this until one of you are dead. The only exceptions to this rule are the shielded enemies, who require you to hit them from the back, or break their shield with a charged attack, and boss characters, who are very powerful, and break up the mold of the combat with some more heavy attacks and boss specific powers.
While the game is randomly generated, the level design is very repetitive also, following the pattern of running through a level and making it to the end, and then fighting off waves of enemies until a timer runs out.
This game is not very well optimized, and freezes a lot. This mainly happens on loading screens, but there are sometimes in combat where the game drops into the 15 FPS range, which makes input lag and extra difficulty for the player.
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