From publisher and developer Thunder Lotus Games comes Jotun: Valhalla Edition, the action-adventure game of exploration that originally debuted for Nintendo fans on the Wii U back in September of 2016, but has recently made the jump to the Nintendo Switch. Boasting all new remastered graphics, a top-down gameplay style, and filled to the brim with Norse Mythology, this game seems has quit e a lot to offer in a genre becoming increasingly popular on this hybrid system.
In Jotun you play as Thora, the recently deceased Viking sister of Thor. Having suffered what was considered to be an inglorious death by drowning, she has landed in the Norse equivalent of Purgatory, Ginnungagap (The Void). With her ultimate goal of pleasing the Gods and entering Valhalla, Thora must explore each of the five different realms and defeat each Jotun housed within. These Jotun are larger than life and take on the form of the realm you explore and it is utimately up to you whether or not Thora can muster the strength needed to please the Gods and reach Valhalla!
Taking the form of a top-down adventure title, the gameplay experience of Jotun is a very segmented one. Each realm has clear-cut exploration areas where you will solve puzzles, collect abilities to enhance your character, and even increase your life capacity. One of my favorite parts about the exploration sections was how it seamlessly tied in major characters from Norse culture and mythology. Being a comic book and major Marvel fan, seeing these Norse characters represented in a way other than what I see in the movies and read in comics was a fun and enjoyable experience.
Upon completion of these larger areas, through the collection of runes that represent the realm you explore, you’ll unlock the Jotun section of each realm. These boss battles offer both an increase in challenge and in action as the areas you explore prior to the battle have very few enemies to confront you as you make your way through your journey. This difficulty spike isn’t necessarily a bad thing though, and was only something that frustrated me early on in my playthrough. When I was able to quickly figure out the pattern of each Jotun and use the full arsenal of abilities given to Thora, the boss battles became quite enjoyable and were amazing to experience based solely on the magnitude and scope (the Jotun are literally gigantic) of the characters you’re fighting.
After you defeat a Jotun from a realm, you’re teleported back to Ginnungagap to advance through a different realm. If there were things you missed from a previous realm, they remain dark on the map present in the Void. This makes full completion of the game very attainable, and was something I had to do in order to successfully beat the final few bosses.
One of the major factors that drew me to this game in the first place was the visual style. The beautifully hand-drawn graphics of the game show that the development team really cared about making Jotun, and this care is shown in the end product. While I enjoyed this game immensely, some of my favorite moments from the game happened when I stumbled on a special area where the camera would slowly zoom out and show you an entire scene. Not only did this unlock something I had previously not had, but it also served as a constant reminder of the scale of the environments you were exploring and working through. This was something that would happen during boss battles too, helping to show you just how insignificant you are in comparison to a Jotun.
Having made the jump from the Wii U to the Nintendo Switch, Jotun: Valhalla Edition is a beautifully crafted top-down adventure game full of exploration, mythology, and an overall great gaming experience. While the run time for the campaign isn’t super long, the added Valhalla Mode will satisfy any desire to replay the game as it serves as a boss battle mode where they jack up the difficult of the Jotun. Coming in at a slick $14.99, this game is worth that price for the visual experience alone. Fortunately for this Nintendeal, the visuals aren’t the only good things about it, making it essential for any Switch owner.
Platform – Nintendo Switch eShop Download
Publisher – Thunder Lotus Games
Developer – Thunder Lotus Games
Price – $14.99
Genre – Action, Adventure
Size – 3.7GB
A native of Minnesota, Brandon has been an avid Nintendo fan for as long as he can remember and enjoys being able to escape into the vast worlds offered in their games. Some of his favorite games include: Pokemon Blue & Silver, Earthbound, The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, Risk of Rain 2, and of course LoZ: Breath of the Wild.
Outside of gaming Brandon enjoys riding motorcycle, listening to music or podcasts, cooking, watching movies, and is a big sports fan. He is always carrying his Switch with him wherever he goes, so feel free to add him if you’d like to lose at MK8D.