Remember when games were tough? Return to the Golden Age of arcades with an all-NEW hardcore action experience that pulls no punches. Volgarr the Viking possesses all the hallmarks of the true classics - simple controls, high challenge, and meticulous design - combined with hand-made pixel animation, an epic soundtrack, and buckets of...
User reviews: Very Positive (1,104 reviews)
Release Date: Sep 13, 2013

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Recommended By Curators

"You will die. A lot. Enter the world of Volgarr The Viking with that knowledge and accept it. Best of Indies 2013."
Read the full review here.

Reviews

“...you'll feel like the biggest badass of all time.”
8/10 – Destructoid

“There often comes a time when something magical appears out of nowhere and quickly battles its way straight to your heart.”
5/5 – AppFilm UK

“Crazy Viking Studios nails the concept...”
4/5 – Hardcore Gamer

Steam Big Picture

About This Game

Remember when games were tough? Return to the Golden Age of arcades with an all-NEW hardcore action experience that pulls no punches. Volgarr the Viking possesses all the hallmarks of the true classics - simple controls, high challenge, and meticulous design - combined with hand-made pixel animation, an epic soundtrack, and buckets of blood. Flex your gaming muscles and step into the arena with Volgarr the Viking. We dare you.

Key Features

  • Classic hardcore arcade action!
  • Seven worlds to explore across 30+ maps
  • 40+ unique traps and enemies, including screen-filling bosses
  • Thousands of frames of handcrafted pixel animation
  • Orchestrated soundtrack
  • Meticulous control design with full customization
  • Full controller support (including legacy DirectInput devices!)
  • Steam achievements and leaderboards
  • Multiple paths through the game and multiple endings
  • Awesome retro-style game manual!

System Requirements

Windows
Mac OS X
SteamOS + Linux
    Minimum:
    • OS: Windows XP, Vista, or 7
    • Processor: 2.0GHz
    • Memory: 1 GB RAM
    • Graphics: 256MB
    • DirectX: Version 7.1
    • Hard Drive: 200 MB available space
    Minimum:
    • OS: 10.6 or higher
    • Processor: Intel 2.0GHz Dual-Core
    • Memory: 1 GB RAM
    • Graphics: 256MB OpenGL 1.3-compatible
    • Hard Drive: 200 MB available space
    Minimum:
    • OS: 32-bit Steam Runtime-supported
    • Processor: 2.0GHz
    • Memory: 1 GB RAM
    • Graphics: 256MB OpenGL 1.3-compatible
    • Hard Drive: 200 MB available space
Helpful customer reviews
57 of 64 people (89%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
6.3 hrs on record
Posted: January 5
Overview: Retro Style 2D action Platformer

The Good:

+ The developers intentions were to create a retro 2D action game and in many regards succeeded wonderfully. This game is easy to learn but hard to master.

+ Great controls

+ The game is hard only because it requires memorization of the level and enemy patterns to succeed at the game. With only 6 levels each only taking around 10 minutes to complete...IF you know what you're doing. If you are playing for your first time then expect each level to take roughly over an hour to complete.

+ Only one checkpoint per level. (This is an old school 2d action game after all!)

+ The game has a normal path and a hard path to complete. You can only unlock the hard path by successfully collecting treasure chests throughout the level without getting hit.

+Three different endings depending on which path you took.

+ Great sound and music

The Bad:

- Warning! may cause stress, frustration, and other bad feelings.

Conclusion

A game like this is difficult to review in modern times because the developers intention was to create a game a few decades earlier. This game borrows heavily from Ghosts n' Goblins. It was "refreshing" to play an old school game, it makes you realize just how much easier games have come.
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20 of 22 people (91%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
140.4 hrs on record
Posted: February 18
Although some weak enemies respawn at a few set locations in each level, the majority of the enemies are completely predictable, appearing in the same locations and behaving the same way every time. This makes the game feel more like a puzzle-platformer to me. "Solving" levels requires figuring out what sequence of jumps, spears, and sword attacks to use, and remembering the enemy placement and patterns. Some reflexes and good timing are required, but learning the levels is the most important thing.

Some people complain about the fixed jumping. Don't listen to them. The implementation of the "Double Jump" makes the mechanic very flexible and versatile. You can initiate a double jump at any point in the ark, and in any direction, giving the player ample control. It all feels very natural and intuitive.

If you get stuck, keep persevering and experimenting with different approaches. Eventually you'll discover a viable strategy! I recommend NOT watching a walkthrough or guide before solving the levels for yourself, since that's where most of the satisfaction comes from. After you've beaten a level, then you can watch other people's solutions to help streamline your play.
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24 of 33 people (73%) found this review helpful
4 people found this review funny
5.1 hrs on record
Posted: November 7, 2014
The day I finish this game will be the day I become a man.

Highly recommended for anybody looking for a challenge in the spirit of Ghosts 'n' Goblins.
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19 of 25 people (76%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
3.5 hrs on record
Posted: December 30, 2014
The first thing that catches your attention is the old-school feel. The player controls a Viking that must fight his way through an army of monsters. By the way that the game looks and plays, it has a style similar to Taito’s Rastan, a classic from 1987.

One thing that makes traveling through the levels more interesting is that your weapons are for more than just combat. For ranged combat, you have a spear to attack from a safe distance. However, it is also useful for navigation. If there is a wall that is too tall to jump over, throwing a powered-up spear will cause it to stick to the wall acting as a ledge. By making the weapons multifaceted, it makes for some well-designed platforming.

Of course, the combat is the real draw of the game. With the simple and tight controls, fighting is as easy as it was back in the 8-bit days. As for the fighting, the action is as varied as the environments. In one stages, you are dodging spears while sliding down slopes. In another, you are fending off mermen while riding on a raft. With the action constantly changing, it makes you want to continue progressing throughout the game.

One problem about this progressing is that it is too generous with progressing. If your character dies, you lose half your treasure and return to the latest checkpoint. Otherwise, the game does not hurt you. With unlimited lives and saved progress, it makes finishing too easy. Having either is good, but having both takes away from the old-school feeling that the game was going for. In order to make the game play like it should, the player should stick to a lives cap. Otherwise, it is possible to finish in a single day.

Even though the combat is good, the enemies, while interesting, are not as deep as the combat. The stages have its own enemies to make each location visually interesting. The problem with this is that there are only a few enemy types in each stage. In most cases, it is only a palette swap to turn the same enemy into a new one. Once you see the first enemy, expect to see it repeat constantly until reaching the boss. This might have been acceptable in the 80s and 90s, but nowadays, more variety is expected.
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8 of 9 people (89%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
15.9 hrs on record
Posted: April 19
Do you remember those games you used to play 20 years ago, that were ridiculously hard and you couldn't get pass the 2nd stage ? Well, Volgarr the Viking is their grandson.
[TL;DR at the bottom as usual]

1) INTRODUCTION
This is a game that, for those who were born in the 80's like me, rings many bells (Ghosts 'n Goblins, anyone?). Volgarr is an old style 2D arcade platform that shares many aspects with games like the one I just mentioned, first of all: the difficulty. You WILL die in this game, so many times that you will reach new levels of frustration that you didn't even know they existed (unless you already experimented them by playing videogames during the 80's and early 90's ... I did). However, even as I died every 10 steps, I couldn't stop playing. The game purpose is to make you learn by your mistakes; did you try to kill that enemy by throing a spear at him but he killed you ? That must be the wrong approach then, keep that in mind and try again. Learning each level by heart is the key to achieve victory: one step too much, one hit of your sword that is not timed correctly, a double-jump too high and you're one step closer to your doom. Oh, I almost forgot, did you see that hole in the wall that shoots arrows ? No? Ow, sorry you're dead.

2)TECHINICAL ASPECTS
***GAMEPLAY 9/10
2D sidescroll platform, there isn't much you can do. 4 movements : Left, Right, Jump, Crouch and 4 actions: roll, sword hit, throw javelin, die. Ok, that was a joke... you can even block with your shield by standing still, so I guess there are 5 actions you can perform. Also, your javelins can be thrown at walls to create platforms (usually secrets are hidden high up in the levels). There is also a zoom key that will allow you to see further than usual and you can toggle it, it is useful for obvious reasons and you basically play with that always on, I don't see why you shouldn't.
Good thing about the game is that you can play with a keyboard or a joypad, and you can bind any key as you see fit. Speaking of actions and buttons, I wish there was another action you could perform, which I believe it's kinda coomon in games like this one. I'm referring to the action that allows you to jump down a platform by passing through it. Usually you can do that by pressing down+jump, but hitting those keys will make you roll instead. I guess this is a choice made by the devs rather than a flaw in the game, I admit that kind of action would have made my life easier in some occasions.
As I said before, you are challenged by the difficulty of the game, if you die you start from the beginning, no savegames, and no checkpoints until you reach the end of the level and kill the boss. Then you can start the game from the latest level reached (but with basic equipment).
Yes, you have some equipment and it represents your total hit points. You start with a sword, a wooden shield and unlimited javelins. You get hit once, you lose your shield (you can block attack with the shield but only 2 or 3, then it breaks); you get hit twice, you die. If you manage to find equipment, without getting hit, you gain more equipment and hitpoints: a better shield that can withstand unlimited hits, a helmet that will boost your attack speed and a flaming sword that does double damage. There is also a special item hidden in every level: Thor's Mjolnir. This is basically an ♥♥♥ saver in case you get hit; the power granted by the hammer will wipe almost everything on screen and you will lose its power but not your equipment.

***STORY ???/10
You are a viking raised from the dead by Odin, you go chop chop and that's all. No storytelling at all, this game is minimalistic [<---overstatement] on this aspect. That's the way it was in the 80's, the limited memory space available didn't allow for cutscenes or much text on screen and the game strengths were its gameplay and graphics. However, even though this game doesn't need a story to be played, I would heve been happy to hear something more than "Rise Warrior!" spoken by Odin. "Yeah I have risen, now what Odin? You want foot massage? Coffe? Ow, killing! Sure! Sorry, I should have guessed. Killing, ok, but what ? Everythig ? Well, allright, no problem, cheers mate, see ya later!"
Anyways, I don't think I can judge something that isn't there, but only the fact that is missing. The game seems to function perfectly even without a story, so it's not much of a bad thing, but still I feel it would have added some epicness to the game.

***GRAPHICS 9/10
Pure 80's 2D style, I like that. Sprites and animations make you go back in time (if you have been). If you didn't grow up whit games like Contra, Gosts 'n Goblins or any other similar titles you might not feel the same as I did while playing Volgarr. Animations are simple, both yours and those of your enemies, maybe a bit too much, but there is nothing wrong with that if you think about what Volgarr the Viking wants to be: an homage to the classical era of videogames.

***SOUND 9/10
I had goosebumps when I first heard Odin's words: "Rise warrior!". It reminded me of a game I used to play on the SEGA Mega Drive: "Altered Beast". In that game you were, like Volgarr, resurrected from your grave by some sorcerer who spoke almost the same words "Rise from your grave!". Maybe I'm too nostalgic, but I'm almost sure that's been done purposely as an homage to that game, which is much alike Volgarr.
For what concerns the rest of the sounds in the game, I can say that "Volgarr the Viking" is coherent with the 80's style even under this aspect.

3) TL;DR
If you have played hard platform games during the 80's and loved them, this is the game for you.
Volgarr will keep you playing for hours challenging your memory, your refelxes and, most of all, your patience.

Overall score 8/10
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7 of 8 people (88%) found this review helpful
4.3 hrs on record
Posted: January 23
Positive

+ Well-made pixel graphics
+ Successfully captures the essence of a retro game (difficult yet gratifying gameplay, memorisation of enemy patterns required in order to succeed, very simple controls etc.)
+ Wide variety of challenging enemies.


Negative

- Inconsistent difficulty curve: the first two levels feel like the most difficult ones, then the game gets considerably easier afterwards, the boss fights are also relatively easy compared to the levels
- The purposely designed controls (such as fixed jumping) leads to the occasional cheap death. [Note: This point is more of a nit-pick than a criticism of the game, the game is intentionally designed to emulate such occurrences.]


Verdict

“I’m not a big fan of retro games generally; with the lack of checkpoints/quick-saving, limited controls and very short gameplay. But this game managed to make these points a non-issue, and the game was more enjoyable because of it. A very solid retro platformer. You either get good, or get rekt.”

7.5/10 TJBs
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8 of 10 people (80%) found this review helpful
3 people found this review funny
1.3 hrs on record
Posted: January 5
Was Dark Souls to easy for you?
Do you enjoy finding new and creative ways to die?
Do you not like you're current Keyboard or Controller and want an excuse to throw them at a wall?

If you answered Yes to any of these question then this is the game for you! I mean, even if you answered no to them all... Still buy it!
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5 of 5 people (100%) found this review helpful
15.2 hrs on record
Posted: April 7
When a game like Dark Souls is praised as being one of the most difficult games ever made, people of a certain age will remember games such as Contra, Battletoads and Ghosts N' Goblins and then wonder what all the fuss is about. Volgarr isn't as difficult as these, but it certainly owes its existence to Ghosts N' Goblins and fans of that title and fans of punishing old school games should love homage to the "Golden Age" of arcade gaming.

Volgarr features hand-made pixel animation, epic soundtrack, simple controls and of course...challenging level design. It isn't a looker, but it doesn't need to be. Each level never changes, so when you die you will know what is coming and must try and improve for your next attempt. This meticulous design offers a highly rewarding feeling of accomplishment when you finally overcome a level that has been making you tear your hair out for the last 40 attempts. This is what the game is all about. If you hate dying, hate a challenge, need a story and dislike repetition then you must steer clear of this title. Otherwise, you will be able to flex your gaming muscles and really challenge yourself.

There isn't a lot else to say. It is a well designed homage to an older generation of games and will instantly appeal to fans of the NES platformer era. The game is never unfair, so if you are apprehensive about picking this up, at least look for it on sale and give it a chance.

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7 of 9 people (78%) found this review helpful
2 people found this review funny
2.0 hrs on record
Posted: April 29
You think Dark Souls is hard? how Cute! this game is brutal, old school hard and I love it! :)
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11 of 17 people (65%) found this review helpful
8 people found this review funny
6.4 hrs on record
Posted: March 15
2D Dark Souls
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4 of 4 people (100%) found this review helpful
107.7 hrs on record
Posted: January 7
If Ghouls and Ghosts and Actraiser had a baby, and they had a twisted uncle called Donkey Kong Country, then that's where Volgarr came from.

A new game done in the style of old, it really is quite a gem. Simplistic as can be in terms of gameplay, though that is not to say that learning how to control Volgarr is not an obstacle with a nice skill ceiling. Some may consider his controls rather rigid, but if you learn how to use him, he's fluid and most importantly, much like Ghouls and Ghosts, very fair. Remember guys, sometimes you have to jump back a bit before you jump forward to get to where you want to go -- little ghouls and ghosts tip for those not used to this jumping system.

From a level design perspective, I personally quite enjoy both paths of the game. However, I think overall the Valkyrie path has superior level design. The crystal path suffers a bit from too many enemies and not enough platforming, but, that may be your thing. Enemies are in and of themselves obstacles, but the game is at it's best when you have to manage both at the same time. So learn to Volgarr well and experience the bliss of the Valkyrie path.

The soundtrack is pretty good, but not good enough to warrant listening to it beyond your 50th hour of playing -- though I think most won't play it that much, so you're fine!

From a replayability perspective, the game doesn't offer much variety once you complete both paths. There are no alternative ways to play, so, once you've beat it, you can either stop there, or grit your teeth and become the best Volgarr player you can be. As a speedgame, Volgarr is simple, but very skillful and both a joy to play and to watch. It may not look particularly "fast", but, trust me, there's always time to save. So if speedrunning is your thing, by all means pick it up and grace the leaderboard -- please, I seriously wish more people ran this game.

RISE WARRIOR!

--

From a guy who has too many hours in this game, with only many more to come. (And, I should note, I have the GoG version of this game as well, so... there's more time devoted to this than just what steam wants to tell you.)
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4 of 4 people (100%) found this review helpful
2.1 hrs on record
Posted: February 21
This game is hardcore...
Old-school kind of hardcore. I am gettin killed everytime and I love it.
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4 of 4 people (100%) found this review helpful
1.5 hrs on record
Posted: March 10
I have been playing in fits and starts for a pretty long time, and after many months, I can die on the third level boss! That is a major accomplishment actually, and it makes me very happy. This game is so very good. I mostly play on XBox since they made it free, but I started out here on Steam. Either way, it is a fantastic game.
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4 of 4 people (100%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
1.3 hrs on record
Posted: April 30
originally i got this for free from xbox live ,but i had to buy it on pc so i could use a better controller on instead of the xbox (my sexy sega genesis pad)

this is one of the hardest frickin' modern release games i've ever played hands down ,reminds me of ghosts n goblins and those types of arcade games

you are forced to learn how to beat a level through trial and error and memorization with super limited checkpoints , no tutorial stuff and it is brutal at times.

You collect little upgrades in chests that add flaming spears , shield , armor etc , and you can only take like 3 hits fully upgraded and you lose 1 each time you are hit. so yeah its hard

the creators of this game are masochistic for sure , but thats why its so good. When you finally beat the part you died 9001+ times on , feels good man.
das it mane , das it









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6 of 8 people (75%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
14.0 hrs on record
Posted: February 4
One of the best recent 2D platformers if you're patient and not easily frustrated.
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7 of 10 people (70%) found this review helpful
4.0 hrs on record
Posted: March 10
Insanely unfair game, none of the challenge stems from well timed attacks, but from 100% memorizing the each level's layout. The visuals are nice and the controls are extremely responsive, but you will almost never feel like any of your deaths were your own fault. There are some gameplay elements that are just in the game simply to introduce unneeded challenge, rather than add depth to the gameplay. I can definitely see why someone would enjoy this game, as after memorizing the level's layout, running through the entire thing without getting hit once is extremely satisfying, but I for one did not really get my money's worth out of it.
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3 of 3 people (100%) found this review helpful
0.8 hrs on record
Posted: April 28
Reminds me of good old Super Ghouls 'n Ghosts I've played back in days on my console and because of that there was no hatred inside me while playing this game (most of the time), otherwise I would be ♥♥♥♥♥♥ by the difficulty and would regret even starting yet I highly recommend Volgarr the Viking as it is fine title for 2d side-scrolling platforming masochists. You just need to play calm and treat encounters as puzzles to solve them each time the same way because you will die a lot and that will help you, a lot. 8/10
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5 of 7 people (71%) found this review helpful
3 people found this review funny
74.1 hrs on record
Posted: February 7
You don't know what you are doing, sadly you die at the hands of the second enemy you encountered.

Restart

This time you think you know what you are doing, but yet again you ended up dying at the same spot you scrub.

Restart

You got past the point you died before, but you died again 2 feet from the previous spot.

Restart

You finally got to the boss! Yes ! This is your moment...unfortuanately you died yet again

Restart

You finally beat the boss and advance to the next level, but what is this ?! All the enemies are different, the first enemies killed you again...at this point you rage, brake your keyboard, delete the game and never try to play it again, cuz you are a scrub.
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2 of 2 people (100%) found this review helpful
6.6 hrs on record
Posted: January 8
Annihilated some bad ♥♥♥ lizard-men/women, slaughtered several giant jumping spider's, killed a shed load of giant wasps, get Killed by a plant -.-

This game is awesome, and very challenging, dont expect to be able to breeze through this game it will rip apart your very being in pure frustration but when you succeed you feel like you have been to valhalla and back and u have the t-shirt to prove it.

10/10 best game of the millennium (maybe not, but still awesome)
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2 of 2 people (100%) found this review helpful
6.9 hrs on record
Posted: May 2
I love my Volgarr the Viking, he is so bad!

Good:
- Well platform and enemy design
- Smooth action performance but controller is a must
- Clever attack and jump mechanic
- Feel very rewarding when progress to next world
- Multiple endings add replayablilty
- Lots of reference from 90's platform game such as Ghosts n' Gobins, Altered Beast and Sonic
- True spirtual sequel for Rastan series

Bad:
- Unimpressive backgrounds graphics compare to original Rastan
- No checkpoint before the boss fight could be frustrating
- Zoom level cannot permanently changed to far view
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