Status: Early Access
Developer: Funatics Software
Publisher: Daedalic Entertainment
Genre: Indie, Strategy, Simulation
Release date: Q4 2015
You and your Viking tribesmen have been banned from the majestic afterlife for displeasing Odin. The only way you’re getting back under Odin’s wing, and into Valhalla’s eternal playgrounds, is to build and fight your way through series of portals. If you are among the lucky ones, you will acquire enough honor along the way to fall back to Odin’s grace.
Think of Valhalla Hills a next-gen Settlers game. Because that’s exactly what it is. With simple yet deep mechanics that stretch far and wide across your virtual pallet of opportunities, to the gorgeous visuals which have always been something what Settlers strived for, Valhalla Hills really does have it all. Right off the start of this preview I’d like to say that Valhalla Hills allready looks, acts and feels like a complete product. Literally no glitches, bugs, frame drops or stuttering whatsoever. And that by itself is a really rare occurance for a product in Early Access state these days.
With procedurally generated maps (which are basically smaller or larger islands) every new fight for the portal(s) feel a bit different. Layout of the ground is never the same and resources are scattered around in a different passion. The goal is to lead your followers to the summit of Valhalla time and again, and gather honor along the way by the means of constructing buildings, fighting and making sacrafices. You start every game with just a few Vikings at your disposal and it’s up to them to lead the legacy that will reach the top of the hill and fight through the menaces it has to offer. First thing you would want to do is to build a decent village in which your subordinates will eat and sleep, produce all their tools and weapons, grow crops and cook food, fish, chisle and much more.
That city-building aspect is at the heart of the game, as fighting is just a cherry on-top at the very end. Every building has its distinctive cost in resources that need to be invested in its construction. Sometimes we’re talking about just a few logs and some stones for some simple dwelling, but many times it gets mzch more complex than that. In this preview we will take a more closer look especially at the construction aspect and attributable mechanics.
It is very important to have in mind that terrain dictates where you will construct you desired buildings. Rough terrain, like a cliff for example, will take more of your resources and labour. If the construction site is highlighted in green, the Vikings will spend fewer resources to complete the building than they would if the site is highlighted in orange or red. Also, all buildings have range in which the worker practices his or hers proffesion.
Wood is needed in almost every construction project. So you will want to build a woodcutter very early on to get your production going. Along with the woodcutter you will build a Toolmaker as it is essential to all your further projects.
Fisherman and Hunter will ensure that your Vikings are supplied with the most basic of food sources, and that they don’t just live off the land eating berries and mushrooms. Further on in the game you will construct a mill, bakery, kitchen and so on. Taking care to not deplete the wildlife stock in the forest is very important. Animals reproduce as time goes by. However, if you hunt and kill all of them, the ecosystem will not be able to regenerate.
Military and Army Camps are the places where your warriors gather. They are semi-permanent buildings, meaning that you can move them around the map as you please. Your warriors, armed with axes, bows or something more advanced, will follow the camp where ever you locate it. If a military camp is posted near an Armory, the warriors equip themselves with better weapons – provided there is some in stock. It your warriors spend time near a Brewery, Goldsmith, Courier or Storages, they will take the gold and drink malt beer they find there automatically, increasing their life energy and making them stronger in battle.
There is an alternative to the whole fighting scenario. Instead of fighting portal guardians, you can build Sacrificial Altar to appease them into submission with array of offerings. Once you erected sacrificial altar and commanded the sacrificing to begin, a worker will gather up required goods to serve as offerings. However, he will only find goods that are in the altars range. To perform several sacrifices at once, you will need several sacrificial altars.
By building Dormitories, you increase the number of Vikings at your command. Workers will also recover more quickly if they sleep at home rather than under some tree. If it comes to that, at least make sure to build them a campfire to keep them warm in the cold nights and so preserve their energy for a new day. Well rested, they work longer and more effectively.
Paths, lanes and roads increase the working range of buildings, influence your Vikings’ routes an thus boost general productivity. In many cases, they would never find their destination or raw materials without paths to follow. They will also make your Viking work faster. Used frequently enough, paths soon become lanes, and later, roads.
I’ve only explained some of the most basic of building, there are dozens more to construct. The latest patch added some amazing additions to the game. You can read about it here.
As things stand I already see Valhalla Hills as a finished product. You can buy three different versions of the game in early access through steam. Base game for 19,99 €; Premium Edition for 29,99€ which includes soundtrack, digital art book, wallpapers, dev video and two special in-game items; Contributor Edition for 49,99€ featuring all content from premium edition + 5 special items, your name on credits, first (unannounced) DLC i two games – Cultures – 8th Wonder of the World, Cultures – Northland.
You can read more about Valhalla Hills on official website.