The PS Vita was supposed to be the pocketable console capable of performing the same feats of graphical wizardry as the hulking slabs of plastic and electronics you have sitting under your TV at home.
It’s odd then that while When Vikings Attack! can be played either on your handheld or on your PS3, picking up your save game where you left off on the go in the comfort of your own home, it fits into the innovative indie bracket of gaming, rather than the multi-billion selling triple-A end of the spectrum.
That’s not to say that there’s anything wrong with a bit of indie innovation. While at no point will your jaw hit the ground because of a sweeping vista, you won’t really care, because you’re going to be having too much fun throwing an ambulance at a horde of Scandinavian invaders.
The idea behind the game is a simple one. Vikings are invading England’s green and pleasant land, and it’s up to you to band together with other true and upstanding Brits to hurl everyday objects at the Vikings and send them packing.
You begin every level with a small pack of men and women, able to pick up objects like benches and fences, but as you battle through the Viking hordes your numbers will swell, letting you lob phone boxes, cars, and all manner of other objects at the blighters.
Of course the Vikings don’t just sit there and take it; they’ll be chucking anything they can find in your direction as well. Luckily you can swoop in and grab their projectiles out of the air with a tap of the X button, letting you use their ammo against them.
As you fight through the different levels you’ll unlock different pieces of weaponry that have been designed to counter the Viking threat. These take the form of bombs, some of which are just explosive, others which have intriguing properties such as convincing Vikings to fight on your side.
There are massive boss battles as well, although these often stand out as the weakest part of the game, placed at the end of a level to keep things fresh, but often breaking the rhythm of things and leaving you frustrated.
You can play through the single-player campaign with your friends as well, and it’s here that the game really shines. On your own it can all feel a little too simple, but when you’re dodging friendly fire as well as Viking attacks, the crazy scale ramps up about twelve barmy notches.
There’s competitive multiplayer too, which is just as frantic and fun, taking levels from the main game and letting you duke it out with your opponent in tense and hilarious battles to the death. Everything runs smooth, and the silky cross platform play means you can battle it out on PS3 and Vita.
When Vikings Attack! lacks the longevity of a full price title, and it can get a little repetitive if you’re playing on your own. But the madness of the multiplayer, mixed with chunky cartoon graphics and an irreverent sense of humour, make this a game that’s well worth more than a few of hours of your precious time.
By Harry Slater
Format: PS3, PS Vita
Developer: Clever Beans