Day of the Viking [Android, iOS]
Price: Freemiun on Android, $2.99 on iOS
Developer: [adult swim] games, Vorax
Genre: Casual TD
IAPs: $0.99 to $21.99
Day of the Viking was released for Android about a month ago, and we spotted it right away due to its gorgeous looks, including it on one of our February roundups of awesome new Android games. Time has come for a thorough review, and if you are looking for a top-notch time killer, Day of the Viking is right down your alley. Bear with us as we lay out its virtues on neat, little shelves.
Despite being a casual tower defense, or rather a castle defense, Day of the Viking has a good deal of story to go along with the action. You are responsible for the defenses of a beautiful and peaceful kingdom, which may not be too big, but very proud. The kingdom is ruled by a charmingly goofy Princess in Pink, adored and worshiped by her loyal folk.
Alas, not all is cool in the Dutch kingdom because savage vikings have run out of their food, fur and women supplies, and have launched an ongoing assault against this peaceful matriarchal nook of Paradise.
The inhabitants of the kingdom speak in funny gibberish while their dialogues are laid out in neat translation boxes for you to understand the simple instructions, as maybe have a giggle or two listening to them talking.
The vikings are big, smelly and fierce, coming in endless waves of ever increasingly smart assaults. At first, they just come in pairs or in fives, but before long they come in dozens of shielded warriors, ready to jump, climb, launch axes at your gates and archers. Soon after, you see them building fortifications that do not let your weapons hit them before they reach the gates.
Your Princess instructs you on how to manage her guards, and there are three types of them. First and foremost, you have the archers at your disposal. They will shoot arrows at the incoming vikings, and they are the most efficient warriors because they are basically the easiest way to eliminate those vikings who have managed to reach the gates.
Second, there are slingshot operators who bring the stones, or burning oil tanks to shoot from the slingshot. They are bit slower than the archers, but the slingshot lets you eliminate a group of vikings, even when you don’t achieve a direct hit – a rolling stone will smash a group of five easily.
Third, there is this little shy guy, who will run and collect coin, bonuses and rewards when vikings or stray birds drop them. He’s a funny, gentle fellow, and you will have to provide him cover because once he sees incoming vikings, he drops whatever he is carrying, and runs for his life. Makes perfect sense, after all.
Each guard type can be upgraded. You can buy more archers, slingshot operators and loot collectors; you can buy double, triple or fire arrows, long range arrows, fire bombs to shoot from your slingshot, faster reload times, and more. The number of upgrades is great.
So, the gameplay as such is a mix of a fast-paced twitch game, a literal rendition of a tower defense, and a funky cartoon.
The initial levels appear to be more difficult than you would expect. You may have to tolerate scoring one star during the initial levels until you upgrade your guards and then, return to the initial levels to score better.
Speaking about the stars – before each level, or assault, the game presents you with three objectives you need to accomplish to earn three stars. They include things like receiving no damage, killing a certain amount of vikings, using or not using a certain weapon type, or scoring a combo or two.
Don’t let that initial difficulty be a turn-off for you. Bear with the game for the first ten levels while you upgrade your men, and you will get the knack of the frantic, hilarious gameplay.
The game features 80 levels in Spring section alone, and there is much more coming in the other season sections, too. So, we have 80 assault missions, 10 challenge levels and 40 trophies to unlock, or buy. Upgradeable men and weapons, an endless assault mode, a few dozens of enemy types, war machines and obstacles for your men to overcome – all that goodness makes up for a good variety in gameplay, and a decent feeling of reward when you unlock them by playing.
Oh, and there is a pig! Rather, a bunch of pigs one of the guards started breeding, but when the vikings came, the guards had to catapult at them whatever they had, including the pigs. The latter turned out to be real freaks, eliminating dozens of Norsemen by simply rolling to their smelly feet.
Besides pigs, you get to throw balls, collect great trophies that enforce your defenses, and shoot stray birds carrying gift boxes.
The Android game is freemium, which means you can play for free, and buy certain power-ups, upgrades and boosts. The IAPs range from $0.99 to $22, but truth be told, you can play just fine by simply grinding, always and if you are ok with it.
I found that getting to level 14, without giving much thought to what upgrades I was buying, I could go back to the earlier levels and try to score higher. The grinding process is not tedious, but challenging, and the main challenge is to do everything fast enough to beat a level with three stars. In most cases, the vikings would get to the gates, so you are left without one star for sure. Sometimes, you would fail to keep them away without using archers, which would also cost you one star, if the challenge was not to use them. Overall, IAPs are not required to beat the game, but if you want to buy some, they are not overly expensive.
What sets Day of the Viking apart from the TD and casual games is its polished, gorgeous 2D design. I would say it remind me of Godus, but in flat 2D, with the vibrant colors and cartoonish shapes. It also implements some of the Badland elements, of black silhouettes on colorful backgrounds. The levels rendered in the black silhouettes/ colorful backgrounds style are the hardest to beat – the vikings use the night time to sneak past your guards, and they are very good at it, using the trees and bushes, hills and cliffs to go unnoticed. Even when they reach the gates, it is so darn dark, you can’t see where to aim. Even so, that extra challenge in the night time levels is not annoying, but just that – challenging.
The great sound score, funny gibberish language, hilarious dialogues among the guards and the princess create a really fun, entertaining and relaxing atmosphere, despite the intensity of the fast-paced gameplay.
You shoot arrows by tapping on the vikings, and you better aim well because arrows and archers are scarce at the beginning. You launch a rock from a slingshot Angry Birds style. The game also gives you a functionality to pinch and zoom, but truth be told, you are unlikely to have time for it, with all the Norse mess approaching your gates lightning fast.
Offering a refreshing, fun take on classical TD, good deal of levels, fine difficulty curve, a load of unlockable and upgradeable content and a brilliant design topped with its fair free-to-play business model, Day of the Viking is still a time killer. It will become boring during long gameplay sessions, but short, intense sessions make it a perfect getaway.
- Fun, entertaining, fast-paced gameplay
- Smooth controls
- Gorgeous design
- Hilarious heroes and dialogues
- Great sound score
- Good replay value for short gameplay sessions
- You can play it offline
- You can play it for free, without spending money on IAPs – no paywalls with moderate grinding
- Challenging difficulty curve
- Great deal of unlockable content and upgrades, trophies and weapons
- Excellent mobile time killer for adults and kids
- No explicit scenes of violence
- May become repetitive during long gameplay sessions
Is Day of the Viking a game for kids? Yes, but it also makes a wonderful time killer for mobile gamers of all ages. Its highly polished, sleek looks, moderately challenging, accessible and addicting gameplay make for awesome 5-15 minute getaways as you commute, or have a cup of coffee during breaks at work. It is free-to-play, and has no paywalls while its IAPs are quite moderately priced. Hilarious characters and fun dialogues glue the fast-paced gameplay instances into a fine, cartoon-styled story while the upgrades and unlockable content provide for greater replay value and variety. All things considered, Day of the Viking is a brilliant, free time killer for your Android. Get it.