Verfasst: 8. Februar
Nidhogg provides some of the fastest and most enjoyable monochromatic bloodletting one could hope to experience. The premise is simple. You are a pixelated swordsman in a territorial conflict with your opponent, most often your best friend sitting right beside you. Each standoff is lightning fast, and invariably ends in a gratuitous splattering of blood. Kill your opponent with a well-timed and well-placed lunge, hurl your épée at his head, or just knock him down and rip his heart out. Savagery is encouraged, and provides a hilarious counterpoint to the civilized image of fencing. Once you have managed to kill your opponent, you can progress to your goal until just seconds later, he respawns and you must again defeat him to progress. Lose, and he gains ground on you. This ebb and flow continues until one of you reaches the final screen where the winner is given a true hero’s sendup: He is eaten by a flying worm.
Nidhogg is not just a circus of inanity and violence, but is some of the best fun you can have with your friends. Controls are responsive, animations are fast and smooth, and landing consecutive killing blows provides a jolt of dopamine that keeps you coming back for more. There are multiple arenas to choose from, each one visually unique and designed to make you rethink your strategy. Some corridors are too tight for jumping or sword throwing, so both your opponent and the landscape will make you think on your toes.
Visually, Nidhogg exhibits a unique combination of minimalism through pixilation and solid colors. It highlights the expression of characters through animation rather than textures. It is aesthetically arresting and securely has its own style. These visuals are elevated even further when coupled with an exceptional soundtrack by Daedelus.
Nidhogg could have provided only the core one-on-one experience, but if you look deeper there are a lot of extras. There is a tournament mode supporting up to 8 players. There is a multitude of variants in gameplay to explore. There is a single player experience pitting you against an increasingly difficult array of AI personalities. Additionally, there is an online multiplayer component, but at the time of this review, I experienced some unfortunate glitches. In several matches I experienced moments where I killed my opponent, but immediately the game changed states, and my character unexplainably died. It wasn’t often, but it was often enough to sour the experience. I’m told that the online component is still a work in progress, so if you don’t have a friend handy to play local multiplayer check the forums for progress.
Nidhogg was first shown in 2010, and since then Messhoff, comprised of Mark Essen and Kristy Norindr, have worked to shine the core game into a full-fledged release. Nidhogg is available today on Steam for 12.99€, and if you have friends, it is well worth yourmoney.