Earn your true destiny – Jotun: Valhalla Edition

Jera

Jotun is a new indie title from Thunder Lotus Studios. You play the role of Thora, a Viking warrior who lived a glorious life but suffered an inglorious death, and you have been given a second chance to impress the Norse gods and earn entry to Valhalla. She must travel between 10 levels spread across 5 different worlds and defeat each of the Norse elemental giants called Jotun that rule each domain.

Kaunan

Gameplay

Jotun is an action/adventure game that pulls inspirations from famous stories such as David and Goliath and Hercules and any of the giant monsters he fought in Greek mythology. A majority of the game will consist of Thora trekking across multiple locations, each with their own biome, in search of sigils to unlock a door to fight each of the towering Jotun. Sigils are hidden in each of the 10 locations, so exploration order is up to the player; however, each of the locations also has hidden altars to empower Thora with new abilities for her journey. She is able to gain the ability to heal, increase her speed and strength via these abilities that are executed similarly to Skyrim’s shouts. While you can tackle them in any order, certain abilities will make clearing other locations a lot easier, so it’s recommended to search out these abilities if you’re struggling with certain levels or bosses.

Combat is simple but requires finesse and proper timing. Along with her trusty dodge roll, Thora starts out with a weak attack that can be used to clear out smaller enemies or deal minor chip damage to bosses and a heavy attack that has a lengthy charge time to deal heavy damage or manipulate obstacles in the environment. Utilizing the limited castings of your abilities, while avoiding hits, will be the difference between victory and defeat when facing off against the Jotun. Damaged incurred is similar to other games like Dark Souls, where every hit you take is equal to about 10 of your strikes. Battles of attrition end in defeat more often than not. Bosses do have weak points to exploit, but most will only become vulnerable after either landing multiple hits or taking advantage of environmental objects during the fights. The fights are difficult, fast, and deadly, but that makes the joy of victory even sweeter when accomplished.

Hagalaz

Highlights

Before you reach the amazing boss fights, and there are plenty, you will spend some time traversing the gorgeous world. The bosses, regular enemies and the environment are all beautifully hand drawn and really give you that storybook kind of feel that you want when playing fantasy-themed games. The Jötnar have their own unique look and design with beautiful attack animations that are as beautiful as they are deadly. Speaking of deadly, each of the Jotun battles is fraught with danger, but the greater the risk, the greater the reward, right? Since Thora is fighting for a chance to reside in Valhalla, it wouldn’t be worthwhile if the boss fights were pushovers. Each of these fights will test the player’s reflexes, strategy and wit. The boss battles make up about 50% of the game and are by far the best part. All of the bosses have tells for their attacks and patterns that the player must observe and adapt to if they hope to best the Jotun in combat. Because besting all the bosses wouldn’t be enough after completing the game, you unlock a new mode that removes the exploration and has you fighting all 5 Jötnar one after another. However, this time they will all have new behaviors, extra attack patterns and deal even more damage.

Isa

Final Reaction

Jotun does very few things, but what it does do is entertain and challenge the player. These are two important factors to any game, and all of the great games do both. Depending on your individual skill level in action games, these could take longer; however, since I play a lot of games with high-stake boss fights, it was about a 4-hour playthrough on my first run and closer to 3 on a secondary playthrough. I still would recommend it to fans of challenging action games such as the Dark Souls or God of War series. While it doesn’t have nearly the depth of either game, its boss battles are still enjoyable and come with that sense of accomplishment after besting each of the Jotun.

Final Rating: 3.5 /5

NR 3_5 Atoms - B-

*Jotun: Valhalla edition was provided using a retail download code from Thunder Lotus Games.

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