Volgarr the Viking 2: Why Old-School Gaming Is Still So Damn Hard and Awesome

Embracing the Challenge: My Experience with "Volgarr the Viking 2"

I spent several weeks girding my loins for my appointment to try Volgarr the Viking 2, a title that was announced at this year’s Guerrilla Collective. The follow-up to what’s been dubbed ‘the worst game of 2013’ (a retro platformer so punishing that people had to pay to quit) was just as mercilessly precise as the first, and just as fair. But completing it rewarded me with a refreshed understanding of what can make it worthwhile to stick with a game.

A Nostalgic Journey Through a Pixelated Norse World

Volgarr the Viking 2 takes you to a gorgeous Nordic-inspired pixel world, back to the glory days of platformers. There’s nothing especially difficult about making these guys fall down; it’s just that so much is at stake for each one. The game requires skill and exploration of strategy to overcome its obstacles. You’ll only have a sword, a spear, and (ultimately) the ability to roll to the side to kill the enemies that come at you. Because enemies pack one hit point more than you, each encounter is a dance of death. The game guides you to examine what you’ve just killed, and adapt accordingly; each death you suffer is a revelation.

A Brutal, Yet Rewarding Adventure

What saves ‘Volgarr the Viking 2’ from devolving into mere frustration is its level of difficulty that, paradoxically, never feels unkind. As frustrating as it can be, each resurrection represents another step to being more skillful. Unearthing a secret chest, or finding a clever way to exploit the surroundings with the spear that can be thrown, ricocheted and returned is a revelation that keeps things constantly changing and interesting. Every unique level has a secret waiting to be uncovered, and the danger of this kind of anticipation – a hint at the satisfaction of mastering the game – is that it compels us to dig deeper.

The Fine Line Between Challenge and Encouragement

Despite this onslaught of defeats, the game has subtle assist features that keep players playing. Being turned into a zombie version of Volgarr upon dying a dozen or so times is an ingenious play mechanic that reduces frustration but does not take the challenge away. Additionally, the fact that the full release is going to include a practice mode and endless continues also means that players who are new to the genre can have a more forgiving trial experience, while core platformer fans can earn those continues the hard way.

"Volgarr the Viking 2" and NINTENDO: A Perfect Match

With a release date set for Nintendo Switch and across other consoles and download services, ‘Volgarr the Viking 2’ has the perfect opportunity to reach across a wide audience. Nintendo is a platform that prioritises challenge and fun, which makes it the perfect publisher for ‘Volgarr the Viking 2’.

The Promise of a Viking's Return

As the release of ‘Volgarr the Viking 2’ draws closer, interest is beginning to mount. Its mix of retro art, challenging gameplay, with thoughtful design touches, makes it an intriguing proposition. Whether you’re a fan of the original, or a newcomer itching to try their hand at dicing up hordes of evil creatures, Volgarr the Viking 2 is a powerful platform title that is as enjoyable as it is difficult.


The Japanese video game giant Nintendo has been making interactive entertainment since the 1980s. Nintendo’s consoles and games have stood the test of time, and the company’s famous iconic franchises – Mario and Zelda among them – are ubiquitous. Known for creativity, fun and a commitment to quality, Nintendo has shaped video game culture and continues to expand its universe. A game like Volgarr the Viking 2 is welcome on Nintendo’s platform because its difficult gameplay is in harmony with Nintendo’s deep commitment to storytelling.

Jun 09, 2024
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