Vidar released on Steam back on 31st January – Please note that this title is still in Early Access, and has room to change.
Vidar starts off seeming simple enough; you are a traveller trudging through a snowy land where you are swiftly knocked out by a blizzard and awake in an inn surrounded by unfamiliar people, discussing how it’s hopeless even trying to save you and you are as good as dead, you then crawl straight out of bed as soon as everyone leaves. This is where my issues with Vidar started…
Within the first 10 minutes I managed to encounter 2 jarring bugs causing me to reset twice before I even stepped out of the room you wake up in, it felt like I was playing an early QA build over a full game to review, initial impressions were poor but I stuck to it and tried to play the game a little less hyperactive as to not break it again. Stepping out of your room and down the stairs you are greeted by the friendly innkeeper only referring to you as stranger, insisting you are still way too sick to be up and about and judging by the way everyone was talking about you passed in bed that seemed a fairly accurate assessment, but stubbornness be damned out character was not submitting to bed time, it was time to play! Innkeeper friend allows you to leave the building but only if you get a check-up from the doctor to prove you are well enough to be up and about. Venturing outside you are greeted by a tight cute little snowy village, off to the doctors then.
Wandering around the village I was trying to find the doctor as fast as possible without much interest in exploring, just wanted to get the tutorial part out of the way as fast as possible as I do with RPG games a shot in the dark and bingo into the doctor’s office, which is just one guy whom pretty much instantly says I’m right as rain despite everyone’s less than stellar opinion of my health not 5 minutes ago, puzzling.
Heading back to the inn to inform innkeeper friend of our clean bill of health we are rushed down by people barging into the inn and dramatic music! Lots of talking something about this guys kid has gone into the cave where the beast that kills everyone lives, how scary! Man with missing kid then makes a bee line straight for us requesting we help find his son in this cave and of course as no one else was willing to touch it without input we agree, I mean how scary can this beast that kills people all the time really be? I’ll fight it.
We head into the cave with missing kid man and this is where the true nightmare begins, missing kid man takes us through the icy cave up to what looks like some slippery ice and informs us that it is slippery ice and we will slide on it, be careful to to rush him down here or you will break his AI and you can’t get past his hand holding over the ice, another bug causing me to restart.
after your initial introduction to the main mechanic of the following puzzles you attempt to climb down a rope after the kiddo first only for it to snap and you to land in some cold as fuck looking water down below, prompting missing kid man to go fetch us a ladder.
We are unscathed and head off into the ice cavern to find the little shit.
Here we are introduced to the main gameplay of Vidar, randomly generated puzzles through the floors of this cave and the bane of my existence for the entire early game, SLIDING ICE PUZZLES.
A few introductory puzzles latter and you find the kid knee deep in a complicated looking ice puzzle and you are suddenly given control of both characters, a massive hike in difficulty from the baby ice sliding puzzles you were shown earlier. After fiddling around pulling switches with the stranger and sliding about as the kid I am in a good vibe getting the flow of it down and heading towards the end of the puzzle when the ice collapses and spoiler for the begging of the game, the kid dies.
I assumed this is intended because it happened at a point near the end that would seem like a trigger for such a thing, loading out of here you are prompted that the day is over and I was given a message that 3 or so people have died, what? Did I not do the puzzle right I need to save those people I don’t want to fail completely my first try at the game so once again I restart to try and do it good this time. Once again through the bugs mashing dialogue trying not to lock the game or make it crash back through some new ice sliding puzzles and back to another one with the kid once again randomised, this time I do it perfect and get him right to the very end and boom.
A triggered death with a slightly different scene. I was 2 moves off of it the first time and what actually happened is I ran out of time. Once coming out of this I am prompted that the kids father actually died in the night and my care for Vidar and it’s villagers were quickly wavering, I had a quick explore and talked to some people for some side quests in the caves and I was back in to the ice sliding. The givers of said side quests died on me so I couldn’t complete them and at this point I gave up on talking to anyone in Vidar and was just focused on the puzzles.
I always make an attempt when reviewing a game to go in as blind as possible so I can get a real raw experience and I somewhat regret doing that with Vidar, I was confused and lost through the early game because I missed the entire point of the game, the hook of Vidar is the randomized story based on people dieing every night and frantically trying to battle the puzzles in the cave to minimalize casualties by the time you reach the end. I did not finish Vidar, bad experiences left sour taste in my mouth and a personal bitterness towards the residents of Vidar that kept dying on me and I had utter discontent for them, I didn’t want to save them or talk to them or anything I was focused on the killer flaw of Vidar, the puzzles, ice sliding puzzles and later a bunch of light the torches in the dark quickly before they go out puzzles. I didn’t make it very far in Vidar but I really did tough through. Vidar is not a game for me by far, I don’t enjoy these types of puzzles and I find it hard to get this invested in a games story, I live for fun gameplay and fun games and unfortunately Vidar is not fun, it is grim and tragic and sad and I really couldn’t have a good time playing it.
Vidar lands a 3/10 in my books, I understand the appeal to others but horrid bugs and boring gameplay really ruined it for me