Viking Squad, developed by the lovely, lovely people over at Slick Entertainment, is a brilliant evolution of the much loved Castle Crashers formula; featuring four unique viking warriors, you’re tasked with stopping the demonic Loki, who has corrupted the various Jarls of the realm, making them greedy and dangerous…As your Jarl’s main line of command, you’re sent off to various parts of the world to secure ancient artifacts to appease him, and to find a cure to relieve him of his greed…
With this review, we wanted to do something a little different, so given the co-op nature of the game, we’re applying that nature to this review! I’m (Joe) going to give you my thoughts of the game, and then my partner-in-crime, Luke, will give his! So sit back, enjoy, and read as we delve into Viking Squad.
Upon booting up the game for the first time, I was treated to a well-animated opening, followed by one of the most metal main menu theme songs I’ve ever heard…Regardless to say, it got my blood pumping! So with controller in hand, I plunged into the world of Viking Squad. For my first run, I decided to roll with the Sword & Shield warrior, and to my surprise the character was a hell of a lot more versatile than I first imagined; going through the first few levels into the first boss, and to be honest with every single environment we ventured through, slicing through every enemy, and gathering every treasure, I was so drawn in by the breathtaking lighting, environments and backgrounds, and each animation from my character’s varied sword swings, to enemies being portrayed in a menacing, yet comical way; regardless to say I was impressed.
Gameplay as well takes a large inspiration from Castle Crashers, however, unlike it’s predecessor Viking Squad follows a lane-based format, with four lanes being present at all times throughout the game – You and your enemies can hop between lanes at any time, and perform attacks that cover multiple lanes; some people may be put off by this somewhat limiting structure, but given some of the hectic battles and difficulty spikes, this change of freedom is much appreciated, and allows you to methodically plan your attacks and dodges a lot faster than a free-moving environment.
That’s another thing that should be noted; the game does have optional difficulty spikes, in the same sort of vein of Crash Bandicoot, ironically, with you being able to access extra bosses, challenges and levels as long as you bring specific treasures to specific NPCs throughout each level. I for one really did love this addition, as it gives you a choice with gameplay: Do you carry your treasure to the ship for extra currency, or give it to an NPC in the hope of finding stronger equipment or an extra boss? These conscious choices that you have to make are what fuel Viking Squad.
Co-Op too is a treat to play, with each warrior having specific attacks and specials that benefit other warriors in very different ways (I.E. my Sword & Shield warrior can freeze enemies, allowing Luke, who was playing a Ranger, to easily snipe enemies with a charged attack); whilst there isn’t friendly fire, there is environmental damage, so you have to be careful where you’re throwing those bombs! The game also supports local 3-player co-op, however one minor issue I had was that you can’t do this AND play online, which was a little depressing since a game like this shouldn’t have these sorts of limitations.
All in all, Viking Squad is an exciting, engaging and often challenging romp through viking mythos, that looks, sounds and plays the part. Definitely one I’m going to be replaying over and over again!
I would rate Viking Squad a 9/10, but don’t just take my word for it, look below for Luke’s own small review of the game!
As a huge fan of side scrolling brawlers (Streets of Rage anyone?!) and an even bigger fan of being a fucking viking, I had a lot to look forwards too with Viking Squad on PS4.
The first thing I noticed when booting up Viking Squad for the first time and creating a game lobby for the game to play with Josephine was that the game only allowed 3 players to play co-operatively together; Why 3? I am certain 4 is the norm for this time of game. Once this confusion had finished setting in, it was time to start the actual game.
Upon being treated to the character select screen I could see that I was going to really enjoy the artwork. The different character builds were clear in the excellent hand drawn artwork featured throughout the game. I had the benefit of choosing first (Because I shouted at Joe until he let me) so I chose my rogue, dual wielding, archer and proceeded into the beginning area of the game. As I hit the first level, I instantly thought: “This game looks like Castle Crashers with Vikings” and this made me incredibly happy as I proceeded throughout the upcoming levels with the onslaught of hilarity. One of my favourite early memories of the art style being of Joe carrying a huge podium whilst I rode around on a huge, fat walrus biting and hitting enemies.
Which leads me nicely into the next section of the review; the gameplay. As mentioned above, I love side scrolling brawlers of this type so I thoroughly enjoyed the mashing of the square button on my PS4 controller through the first few levels and once this had grown tiresome (and stopped killing anything) I had unlocked some of the games many plethora of skills and upgrades to help myself and Joe take down the hordes of enemies. One nice little touch was the need to carry items throughout a level in order to access secret areas of the game which really emphasised the coop elements of the game as I selfishly tasked Joe with carrying a huge pillar away from enemies whilst I murdered and pillaged everything in site gaining more gold than I ever needed.
I LOVED my time with Viking Squad and feel that it seriously fills the gap where coop games used to be in a perfect way, there are a few little hiccoughs with gameplay ALMOST getting a teensy repetitive at times but it is worth pushing through into the later levels that break away from this.
If you are in need of a coop game, a party game, or simply want a good laugh; then I REALLY recommend picking up Viking Squad asap.
Together, we’d rate Viking Squad an 8.7/10!