Set in a bleak winter during Nordic times, Fimbul has a beautiful setting. Developed by Zaxis and published by Wild River this is a little indie game. Described with phrases such as ‘viking battles’ and ‘a deep story’ on the PS store, it sounds like it could fill a Viking brawler hole in my life.
You take on the role of Kveldulf, who at first viewing does not strike you as the Viking warrior type. However, as the game unfolds you soon learn that Kveldulf still has some warrior left in him after all. Groups of enemies, monsters, trolls and large Jotuns will put you to the test as you battle through the story. Expect to get through a single playthrough in 2 to 3 hours. Another quick platinum game if you need to add a few more trophy points.
So, let’s start with the fantastic visuals this game has to offer. The game is narrated by graphic comic book panels that break up the combat. The world follows a similar eye-catching comic book approach that sets the perfect environment for this story to unfold in. With no verbal narrative for the story, the game relies on these comic book panels to deliver the story.
The main storyline follows current day Kveldulf and his battle against his brother and trying to prevent the apocalypse. There are a few stealth missions in-game which took me a couple to realise that I was playing as a young Kveldulf. These missions help create a better understanding of your current day activities. During the story the choices you can make are limited and the trophies give away what the consequences are.
Switch between a sword, axe or a spear with a shield for blocking as your main weapons. String together light and heavy attacks to build up combo points to use on special attacks. Ground smash, health recovery, knockdown and execute are the 4 options of special attacks. From my playthrough, there were only two types of swords or axes and I couldn’t tell if they did any more damage than each other.
Unfortunately, this game has its fair share of negatives that put together stop this being a great little indie title. A small gripe with the game is the there is a complete lack of camera control. The game zooms the camera in and out during combat and travelling. It isn’t a major issue but at times it can be stuck behind trees when moving through the world.
Combat happens in set areas. Groups of enemies appear for you to kill and then you move on to the next section. You can’t move on till all enemies are killed. However, at times enemies can fall into rocks or the world. Meaning you can’t move on. Combat areas are surrounded by a wall of falling snow to keep you from running away. It doesn’t stop enemies running away though. Then you just have to wait till they feel like returning.
As you progress there are a number of boss battles to face. These might be trolls, monsters or the final boss. There is no real variation between these boss battles. As they perform an attack a weak point is highlighted. You have to throw a spear multiple times at these weak points to knock the boss down. Then you attack normally. Repeat over and over on each boss and that’s it. Not too much of a challenge.
The biggest annoyance with this game though is the framerate issues. Walking between combat areas is completely fine and the world maintains its beautiful appearance. Get into combat with a group of enemies and the framerate just drops. As a number of the bosses have ground slam type attacks you find yourself just getting caught over and over. I was playing on a PS4 Pro and it struggled with 5 large enemies on screen.
So, I know I have pointed out a few negative points but if I am being honest, I enjoyed playing Fimbul. If the framerate could be improved, then I would say this is a game you need to play. The world is a pleasure to traverse through. The storytelling through the graphic comic panels was great. The combat is simple but enjoyable away from the framerate drop.
Zaxis have developed the foundations for a good game. It is an indie game, so you come to expect some imperfections. The world Fimbul is set in could have provided much more but as a 3-hour game, I feel it’s worth playing through. Hopefully, something can be done to improve the framerate which would massively improve the review score. Don’t come here expecting a Skyrim deep RPG but instead a chilled simple button bashing combat game set in a gorgeous Nordic Winter.
*Code kindly provided by the publisher for review*