It would sound just like the title of a cute character from a generic platformer, however Fimbul is definitely the ultimate, brutal winter earlier than Ragnarök – AKA: Norse Armageddon. Which tells you an terrible lot about Fimbul the sport, each when it comes to its icy northern European setting and its grim, violent gameplay.
You play the a part of Kveldulver, a grizzled Danish warrior introduced again from the useless to hunt vengeance in your murderous brother, and to make use of an historical artefact to save lots of the world from destruction. The sport is steeped in Norse folklore, with giants and trolls stomping round amongst bloodthirsty Vikings and longboats that ferry you throughout icy oceans.
After a barely shaky opening stealth part, the sport quickly settles right into a rhythm of traipsing alongside largely linear corridors, periodically partaking in arena-like melee battles towards a number of opponents. At different instances you will set off a narrative scene, which may be rendered in-engine, or may take the type of a merely drawn sketch.
Battle, although, kinds the meat of the sport. It is a pretty easy hack and slash affair, with gentle and heavy assaults, protect blocks, and evasive dodge-rolls. Selection is added by the power to choose up and swap between swords and axes, in addition to spears that may be lobbed at enemies. You additionally get particular finishers and knockdowns, that are powered by profitable combos, as is a nigh-on important heal transfer.
The fights are surprisingly pacy affairs, however they’re additionally a bit glitchy and shortly develop repetitive, with the identical simplistic ways seeing you thru every encounter. Specifically, we quickly discovered ourselves falling into the rhythm of main mobs round on a merry conga line, Benny Hill type, earlier than turning to smack the chief within the bonce – maybe with a dodge roll or spear throw blended in.
Disappointingly, that is usually your finest wager for bosses, too. Certainly, the primary correct boss struggle turned out to be considerably laughable, because the fearsome warrior you’ve got actually waded by means of hell to trace begins swiping repeatedly and ineffectually at skinny air, his senses seemingly confused by a single dodge roll. Elsewhere, hulking troll encounters may be frustratingly flaky, to not point out protracted affairs.
Sadly, Fimbul is a bit far and wide from a technical standpoint. That is an evocative world with a particular tone, however it’s additionally glitchy and poorly optimised. The body charge is uneven all through, and parts of the background incessantly pop out and in of view. You’ll be able to nearly hear the gears grinding as the sport incessantly pauses and masses in a lower scene.
The digital camera, in the meantime, is a little bit of a rogue agent, mounted to unhelpful factors one minute and swooping round to queasy impact – or behind a bunch of bushes – the following. There are bugs, too, from an early sound bug that lower all audio out till we reloaded, to a pause display crash bug deep into the second world. At a couple of level within the recreation, we hit an invisible wall and couldn’t progress till we backtracked and located a lone soldier whom we had one way or the other uncared for to complete off.
It is a disgrace, as a result of Fimbul positive does create a potent environment. At its finest, and in the event you squint a bit, the sport nearly resembles a Nordic Breath of the Wild. Nearly. The audio is improbable too, and the comedian guide interludes add a flavour all of their very own – even when their considerably prosaic format clashes a bit with the softer in-game type.
These comedian guide sections additionally throw within the odd alternative that impacts the narrative later down the road, and there is a neat facility to revisit these decisions and play them out a distinct manner. Sadly, Fimbul’s flaky and repetitive gameplay does not make that as a lot of a enjoyable prospect appropriately.
Fimbul creates an appealingly grim Norse folklore-infused world to journey by means of, however its core motion is just too weak to seal the deal. Its pacy fight may be brutally satisfying, however it’s additionally shallow and repetitive, whereas the sport struggles from a technical perspective. There is a promising world on the coronary heart of Fimbul, however it must be married to a extra fluid and fleshed-out recreation.