The success of Valheim took me by surprise. Not because it’s fun, but due to the numerous core gameplay of other survival games that are found within Valheim. Yet somehow, it was able to blend together harmoniously and create a compelling and enjoyable survival experience. You know what, I take back what I said earlier. It’s because it’s fun.
Valheim is an open world, survival sandbox game. The immediate sightings of the low res poly graphic may lead you to wonder if the game is severely lacking in pixels or that it warrants a refund. Should you give it a try, the memorable cutscene of a huge eagle hauling your naked being into the world will forever be etched into your memory.
The vastness of the randomly generated open world of Valheim will leave you helplessly comparing it to Minecraft. Makes you wonder if you can explore the world in its entirety or even worth mapping it. But the immediate challenge upon your arrival is to fine stones. Thanks to no small part of the random world seed, it took a while to find them as stones are scarce within the forest and are more commonly found near water bodies. I do find a lot of berries and mushrooms though.
Valheim | Iron Gate AB
Food serves as a strong motivational force for you to venture out from the safety of your base in any survival games so as you won’t starve to death. Yet in Valheim, it served a greater purpose. Eating the berries and mushroom I had found buffed my base maximum health from 25 to 50 and I find this take of the hunger mechanic particularly interesting. As when you gain access to better food recipes and ingredients, increasing your max health to 50 is nothing but a measly number when you can get it over 200 in the later stages.
And it’s not a necessity for you to enter the higher difficulty biome should your objective is to just build a wondrous structure or an impressive little community. For the building enthusiasts, the materials from the starting meadow biome are enough for you to build a decent looking wooden village. The limitations of your impressive construction are being held back only by your creative mind and the lack of decorative furniture. Wanting access to more decorative furniture and to build structures out of stone, however, demands you to head out for other biomes.
It’s not that there aren’t any rocks lying around in the starting biome; the fact of the matter is that there are boulders all over the place. Yet the recipe to craft a pickaxe for you to mine them is gated behind the first boss. And this is the same for most of the other recipes as they remain unavailable to you due to the various bosses in Valheim. To get new recipes, you must gain access to the materials for said recipes. In order to harvest those materials, you need to craft the necessary tools for it. And to get those tools you need to kill the bosses that grant you access to it.
Valheim | Iron Gate AB
With that being said, the bigger issue now would be the possibility for a solo player to kill those bosses. And yes, it is possible, albeit it’s a challenge. In fact, you don’t necessarily have to kill the bosses to gain those tools. You can just take them from other servers, provided they have them of course.
And that’s one of the things I absolutely love about Valheim. Any item that you have on your body and inventory can be brought along to another server or world. If you have a friend who already owns Valheim, you can drop by your friend’s world and grab those tools which are gated behind the bosses, provided that your friend has beaten the boss, and return back to your world. Knowing this, it’s not a surprise that there’s hardly any public server at all. Do inform your friend when you’re grabbing their stuff, it’s only common courtesy to do so.
The only downside Valheim has currently is the lack of a Peaceful Building mode. Those who purely enjoy the construction aspect of Valheim will surely embrace such a mode with open arms. The periodic attack on your base is annoying when you’re fully devoted to creating a work of art. It’s like when you are almost asleep and you hear a mosquito buzzing near your ear. You tried to swat the mosquito with your hand only to end up slapping your own face and now you’re completely awake in the middle of the night. And this aspect of the game reminds me of 7 Days to Die.
The foundation laid in Valheim during its early access period is rock-solid. And any future updates for it is nothing but a supplementary element to its core gameplay such as more biome, more bosses and more recipes. You might want to get it during early access due to its lowered price. But there’s nothing wrong to wait for it to be officially released either.
Platform: PC (Windows[Played] & Linux)
Publisher: Iron Gate AB
Developer: Coffee Stain Publishing
Rating: 9.0 out of 10
Price: $18.50 (or your region equivalent, the price is subjected to change after leaving early access)