12 Days of Pros-mas - Day 2: Jotun: Valhalla Edition

Welcome back to the Stadia Life Christmas Cabin. Thank you for returning, it gets very lonely here. The masters won’t allow me to leave until the 12 days are done. They were generous enough to let me have 3 pieces of coal today though, so we’ll be nice and toasty in here!

 

Today is day 2 of 12 Days of Pros-mas! I’ve got yet another pro game I hadn’t played until today lined up for you, so let’s get started.

Jotun: Valhalla Edition

Today’s game is Jotun: Valhalla Edition, an action-adventure game developed and published by Thunder Lotus Games. What drew me to this game was the fact that the banner image had snow in, which therefore makes it vaguely Christmassy.

To begin with, I was surprised that this game didn’t support a 4k mode. I don’t like to be a graphics snob, but it doesn’t seem like an incredibly demanding game for the hardware so I didn’t understand the reason for this. It is 60fps though, so the gameplay was nice and smooth. What is lost in the resolution is in my opinion made up for with the art style. Jotun has beautiful hand-drawn graphics which are rather appealing. That’s aside from the checkpoints that let you restore your health and god powers which are horrifying.

At the start, I was told to find a rune by a disembodied narrator speaking to me in this lovely forested area. Well, lovely apart from the vines that would jump out of the floor and try to smack me, and the plants that released a toxic gas that’d kill me. One of these plants ended up killing me, where I was treated to this slightly disheartening death screen.

No matter, I pushed on. To be honest, I wasn’t really impressed so far. The vines and plants were just annoying me more than being a fun gameplay challenge. The map that the game gives you wasn’t incredibly helpful either to begin with as it doesn’t tell you where you are, so it’s hard to see whereabouts on the map you are. This only became more annoying later in the game.

 

The first real enemy I encountered didn’t really improve things, a monster that would grow bigger as damage was dealt. The way to defeat it was to let it swing it’s weapon then get too tired to do anything for a couple of seconds, where you could easily damage it. Not exactly revolutionary as gameplay mechanics though. I defeated this enemy rather easily and got the rune.

I was then transported out of the forest into the hub of the game where you could go between worlds, which took me to my first boss fight. Frankly, this boss was terrifying.

Now, aside from its terrifying design, there’s a couple of interesting design choices made about the boss. Firstly, if you notice the lines on the boss are more scratchy than the rest of the art in the game, and its movement was also noticeably a lower fps than the rest of the scene.

This is both where the game seriously annoyed me, but then when I started really enjoying the game. The boss was difficult, starting by just slamming it’s arms down to attack, then as damage is dealt it will summon vines to slam you and will produce a toxic cloud that can only be avoided by walking up to the blue flowers. At about half health it creates vine walls to restrict your movement that you have to use your heavy attack on to be able to get through. To begin with, these mechanics were very annoying, but as I learned the patterns and ended up doing better and better against the boss, the appeal of the game hit me. As I defeated the boss, I felt hugely relieved and happy.

Well, until I died from poison as the boss was doing its death animation and I had to restart the boss fight.

 

Anyway, at this point, I was really into the game. The next world was a beautiful night sky, with puzzles where you had to hit crystals to activate them and create the star sign shown.

This world wasn’t very challenging, but it was rather relaxing and I got a new power where I could summon mjolnir when I heavy attack, which increases my heavy attack’s range.

The next world was a large tree which I had to climb up, though I didn’t get to experience much of this due to the Google servers going down.

That being said, I would recommend this game to anyone who likes a challenge in their boss fights and a beautiful art style. It’s amazing how much my opinion changed on it over my time playing, as I was nearly ready to turn it off about 20 minutes in and never look back, but I pushed through so I could do this impression and was really happy with how it came out. I can imagine this is a game I’ll come back and complete after this event. That’s why this game is joining the nice list:

Nice:

-Monster Jam Steel Titans

-Jotun: Valhalla Edition

 

So, there concludes day 2. Tomorrow another pro game will be thrust upon you. Will it be naughty? Will it be nice? Will I be able to come up with an excuse as to why the game is festive? Check it out tomorrow to see…

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