Nidhogg grabs potential buyers right away from the first sight of gameplay with its simplistic, retro-inspired art design and graphics. Using a conservative amount of colors and techniques, development studio Messhof has managed to pull off one of the most purely fun games to release in recent memory for the Windows PC gaming platform.
Nidhogg as a title just sounds so funny, and the game itself delivers on the promise of comedic value. The gameplay consists of a very basic amount of functions that are cohesive and fun to master. Players face an objective of running through a level which contains multiple rooms or scenes, each time fighting combatants who must be murdered with a fencing style sword. Often times the player will drop their sword and scramble to pick one up, jump in the air and kick their opponent knocking them down but only delaying the inevitable. If they’re unable to grab that sword, they’re probably going to end up impaled by one. Other hazards are presented in the form of levels designed to be tricky to maneuver while under the influence of enthusiasm from your last kill. One level might feature a floor made of clouds that will dissipate if players stand in the same place too long for example, while others feature conveyor belts or tall grass.
The controls of Nidhogg feel responsive and never gave an issue, while all of the characters and enemies are essentially pixelized silhouettes. Players can pick where they are aiming their sword, lunge forwards, throw their sword at an opponent, run to the end of a scene (causing the enemy to spawn in their way in the next scene), jump, punch, and jump-kick. This title shines in multiplayer as well as single player which are essentially the same game besides the fact that one is against your buddy and the other is against the artificial intelligence.
Nidhogg is a race to the end, but something is very addicting about getting kills too. Each player has to go in the opposite direction, so the momentum of who’s winning at any given moment is clear and obvious. The entire game feels fair and extremely fun the whole time, bringing out a fair amount of adrenaline for such an unexpected and creative game that really comes out of the blue for an industry so hung up on existing concepts. Perhaps that’s why Nidhogg has received so many awards at this point.
The soundtrack sounds retro and that’s exactly what players want and expect to be paired with a pixel art style of graphics that the title displays. Sound effects and fast paced tempos seem to be purposely crafted in a way that keeps the player’s heart pounding and hopes high. For some reason I found myself laughing constantly and getting very intense during my time in Nidhogg. At the end of a complete match players jump into the mouth of a mythological Chinese dragon-looking creature floating mid-air which just seems to be the icing on the cake for over the top, spaz-tastic fun that this indie game seeks to provide (and does so well I might add).
Replay Value: High – Similarly to the way many gamers will never get sick of retro titles, Nidhogg presents an exceedingly fun experience that can be played over and over again. Even if some one put this game down for a week, a month, or even a few years – picking it back up is easy and just as intense / fun as it was when you left it.
Nidhogg takes a completely random concept and puts forward a compelling multiplayer and single player game that doesn’t need bells and whistles but instead relies on pure gameplay to win players over. After watching the official trailer below, if you like what you see then chances are practically 100% that you’ll love playing this game. The developers have clearly put fun factor above everything and struck a perfect balance between trying to look / feel retro and actually just being awesome. I highly recommend Nidhogg to every type of gamer who yearns for the experience of stabbing fools in its arena and running off like the champions they are.
My only detriment to this title is that it doesn’t have a sequel yet to utilize even the tiniest additions to the gameplay providing us with even more enjoyment. Nidhogg’s formula as-is comes off as incredibly fun, but I can’t help but wonder what could have been with maybe just one more weapon thrown in the mix. Of course this could ruin the entire experience, but now Messhof knows how to improve for next time around albeit while being very careful to preserve what makes this title special.
Official Score: 9/10
RGN Rating: Gold Game
Developer / Publisher: Messhof
Available On: Windows PC
Review Copy Info: A digital copy of the game was provided to RealGamerNewz by the publisher for the purpose of this review.