Poland independent studio Monster Couch brings its first project to Xbox One: Die for Valhalla is a beat’em up with RPG elements where you play as a Valkyrie, deities from the Norse mythology who are responsible for helping the bravest warriors reach the glory. To do so in the game, you must possess different classes of warriors (as well as enemies, brushes and objects, creating interesting situations during gameplay) and lead your Vikings to the ultimate magnificence! The battle waits for you, noble warrior! Pick up your axe, sword or bow and follow us into this review! For the Glory! For Valhalla!!
- Die for Valhalla has one of the most original mechanics for a beat’em up that I had the pleasure to play. Controlling your Valkyrie, you can possess live and dead warriors (yes, you can rise them from graves when possessing their gravestones) to fight your enemies. And, if you die while controlling one of them, you can keep fighting with your immaterial Valkyrie body or you can possess another warrior to continue the fight! While possessing an unfortunate enemy, you have two different attacks, a physical and a special one and, with them, you can link chains of combos to defeat your enemies. Every enemy defeated grants you glory, which is used to learn new skills and abilities each time you level up (more about that later). This same glory also makes your fighters more powerful (what can be seen in their graphics: more powerful Vikings have horned/more elaborated elms. The fancier their elm, the stronger they are). But there’s a catch: if your character dies, you can possess his body again, but he’ll be a rookie again who needs to earn glory to become a powerful fighter all over again.
- The glory you collect during your adventure can be used to level up your Valkyrie while on the map. Pressing the X button, you call the level up screen, where you must select one ability and your status (between attack, defense, spirit and life), granting a good level of customization to your Valkyrie.
- There are a good number of classes for you to choose from. Before entering a stage, you must select one of the clans (Iron, Wolf, Bear, Boar, Goat, Crow, Fox, Bull, Dragon, Eagle, Horse and Dear) that will spawn gravestones of 3 different classes of combatants (between Warriors, Berserkers, Hunters, Thralls, Völva, Jarl and Skald) that will be available for you to possess during the stage, along a special buff: The Wolf clan, for instance, deals more damage when the characters is low on life while the Goat clan (my favorite) has a lightning bolt striking the enemy when he’s down. Clans are unlocked as you progress during the game and earn enough currency to buy them. Each class have unique skills and abilities too: warriors have sword and shields, berserkers have a pair of axes, jarls use hammers and can summon more Vikings to fight at your side, for instance. You must try them all to identify which one better suits your playstyle.
- Graphics are quite unique in this game. Hand drawn, colorful and very well animated, both for your characters and for enemies. The game also has some level of gore, with plenty of blood and dismemberments to your enemies. The map, from where you can choose the stages, is also beautiful and detailed. Scenarios can become a little repetitive after some stages, but they’re good-looking enough so you won’t really mind about it. They display settlements, forests, caves, battlegrounds and many more environments! The funny cutscenes between stages also deserve a mention: some of them are great! My favorite was the one where one of the characters was guessing the password to open a sealed door. You must see that for yourself!
- Sound in Die for Valhalla is a blast! The Viking themed songs are simply amazing and the sound effects and shouts and grunts, although simple, are perfect for the game!
- The adventure can be played in coop with three other friends in local multiplayer. If things start to heat up between you, your differences can be settled in a deathmatch to see who’s the most valuable Viking of the group.
- If you think things are too easy for you and your fellow comrades, you can try playing in hardcore mode with permadeath: if any player dies while controlling a Valkyrie, you must go back to the beginning of the game. Is it hard enough for you now?
- The story of the game is kind of simple. You, playing as a Valkyrie apprentice, must earn a name to be allowed among the other Valkyries. And to do so, you must help your fellow warriors to reach the glory, in a win-win situation for both. Just think it could have been more explored.
- More variation to your combos would be great to the gameplay. Using the same few sequences over and over becomes tiring after some time. Thankfully, the different classes, although having the same sequence, do different things when you press the sequence of commands.
- Levels and gameplay become a little repetitive after some time. The mechanics for stages vary between fighting hordes (a lot of times), defending temples (sometimes) or facing giant bosses (few times). Some more variety (or more bosses) would do good for the game.
Die for Valhalla [Score: 89%] With fun and addictive gameplay, great art, challenging enemies and good level of customization, it is easy to recommend Die for Valhalla for every player who enjoys a good old beat’em up. It can become a little repetitive after some time, like every game of the gender, but the package is more than worth it. Now grab your weapon, Viking, and dive into this adventure. Odin expect you into the hall of the slain!
With a history of gaming that goes from his old man’s Atari 2600 to his Xbox One, Rafael or RAF687, our Brazilian editor, has a love for games as old as he can remember. He has already spent countless hours in many consoles (Mega Drive/Genesis, Sega Saturn, PS1, PS2 and Xbox 360) and is always ready for more (as long as his wife is asleep). Raf has been writing for LifeisXbox since 2017, with a passion for games of almost all genres – though we know he has a special place in his heart for RPGs, racing games and anything that includes pixel art. Writing about games has always been a childhood dream to Raf, dream that he has fulfilled reviewing games for you here. You can drop him a message at Twitter, Facebook or Xbox Live at any time.