Nidhogg review for PS Vita, PS4, PS3

Platform: PS Vita
Also On: PS4, PS3, PC
Publisher: Messhof
Developer: Messhof
Medium: Digital
Players: 1-2
Online: Yes

In an ideal world, I’d be giving Nidhogg an A+, writing a few lines about how it was pretty much perfect, and concluding by saying that you need to buy it RIGHT NOW. While — spoiler alert — I will be concluding by saying it’s worth picking up, I’m afraid that I can’t be quite so emphatic about when you need to do so.

To a certain extent, this is unfair on my part. After all, the reason I have nits to pick with Nidhogg is that, from a single-player perspective, it leaves a little to be desired. You can beat the game in under half an hour playing by yourself, and there’s not a whole bunch of replay value if you’re looking at it through that lens. This is unfair because Nidhogg is meant to be played by as a multiplayer game. Online, locally, it doesn’t matter; Messhof want you to play their game with someone or someones. The thing is, I couldn’t find anyone else to play it with, which meant I was stuck playing it by myself. That’s not the worst thing in the world — even in those suboptimal conditions, Nidhogg is still pretty fun — but it did mean I didn’t experience the game the way it was meant to be experienced.

Nihdogg 1

The good news is that, even in my limited time with the game (limited only in the sense I was able to beat it three times in about an hour), I found plenty to love about it. It’s a quirky, original game that somehow acts as the lovechild of Proteus and Divekick that I never knew I needed to have in my life. The graphics could easily pass for Atari 2600-era (5200 if we’re being generous), the gameplay is best described as a hybrid of platforming and fighting (but with fencing and one-hit kills), and the goal of each level is to get eaten by a giant worm. As bizarre and as simple as it all sounds, somehow it all comes together really well. It’s a game that calls for good reflexes, and a good sense of when to fight and when to run away, which means that even if you may be able to beat the game on a medium-length bus ride, you’ll still get a bit of a challenge.

Nihdogg 2

It’s just too bad that the challenge will be so short unless you can find someone else to play with. Get that, and I imagine you could have matches that take forever, but in the best possible sense of that phrase. Even without it, however, Nidhogg still has more than its fair share of charms, and it’s the kind of thing worth picking up if you’re in the mood for something unlike anything else out there.

Grade: A-