The Lost Vikings is one of the most charming and unique puzzle games you'll ever come across, despite some console-style quirks. Three stalwart Vikings are accidentally sucked into an alien spaceship during one of their pillaging voyages... and find themselves in an unknown land. It is up to you, of course, to guide them home. |
Gameplay in The Lost Vikings is best described as puzzle-based platforming, similar to Lemmings or more recently The Humans: the goal in each level is to get all three Vikings to the exit. To do that requires co-ordinating and timing the use of the Vikings' unique skills. Eric can jump, run and bash through walls with his tough helmet. Olaf has a shield which can block attacks, function as an air glider or as a step to stand on. Baleog can shoot things with his arrows or kill things with his sword. He can also flip switches from afar by shooting them with an arrow. You will have to use the three Vikings as a team if you hope to get past the increasingly difficult levels and puzzles, switching back and forth between them as necessary. Needless to say, each new level is more difficult than the last, and timing as well as reflexes (i.e. quickly switching between Vikings) become critical to success.
Fortunately, help comes in various ways that keep frustration down to a manageable level. Hint buttons strategically placed throughout the game aid you through tough spots, especially in later levels. The Vikings have a "health bar" which can be regenerated by eating food found in the level, and can sustain some damage from the aliens' attacks. This allows for multiple solutions to some puzzles; for example, you can run Erik past the shooting aliens if you can think of no way to get him past them (and Baleog and Olaf are stuck somewhere), hoping that he won't die before making it through. There is of course the "optimal" way to finish each level without losing any health, but the possibility of finishing it in different ways is a welcome feature that any puzzle beginner will appreciate.
As icing on the cake, there are many different, diverse worlds to explore, ranging from Prehistoria, to Egypt, The Great Factory, Wacky World and more. The Vikings come alive as they talk, bicker, and fight each other in humorous cartoon captions between levels. The only bad thing I can think of about this underrated classic is the lack of in-game save slots. Some levels are very long, so when you get back to them, which you may via password, you may have to backtrack a great deal. Other than that, the game's flawless gameplay and great graphics will keep puzzle lovers entertained for hours. Two thumbs up!Reviewed by: Underdogs