Jun 13, 2011
If history tells us anything about the Vikings, it’s that the Scandinavian terrors were far from happy with their lot. Bored with ice, snow and inventing death metal, they set about plundering, pillaging, persecuting â€“ and doubtless countless other unpleasant activities starting with P â€“ their European neighbours. Of course, games hold historical accuracy in the same contempt that the Vikings held non-Viking human life, so Happy Vikings can be forgiven for seeming a little revisionist.
The game, as the title suggests, paints the Vikings as happy-go-lucky scamps, with huge ginger beards and big smiling faces. Sure, they’re out robbing, but look how cute they are, you can’t blame them for being a little boisterous. That boisterousness takes the form of a loot stacking puzzle game, which makes perfect sense if you don’t try and think about it.
You play a lone Viking, running around the bottom of a long boat as your comrades in beards catapult the spoils of war in your general direction. It’s your job to stack the herring, jewels, lumps of meat, treasure chests and barrels of mead into matching piles of three or more. This turns them into coins, which steadily fill up the boat.
Happy Vikings plays like a mix between Tetris and a classic 2D platformer. You jump around, collecting loot as it falls, whilst trying to figure out the best arrangement for all the tumbling goodies. The more loot you burst in a single go, the more points you receive. So, whilst you can finish each level by only chaining in threes, if you’re after the big score and the adoration of your Viking friends, then you have to think on your feet and plan ahead.
For some people, Happy Vikings’ constant cheeriness might be a bit off putting, others still may find the slightly clumsy control system too unwieldy. These are minor flaws, however, in what is a well put together and immensely enjoyable game.
Perhaps the most enjoyable aspect of Happy Vikings is the way it does something different. It may not be hugely original, but it’s far from a straight forward clone, unlike a lot of the titles that you’ll find on the Android Market. It’s fun, addictive and, best of all, won’t come to your village in the dead of night and slaughter all of your loved ones.