Fimbul often fumbles, but its unique visual style and strong ties with Norse mythology provide a fresh take for fans of the era.


Last year, we were arguably treated to the best Norse-themed game ever made. 2018’s God of War saw the franchise move from its roots in Greek mythology to the nine worlds of the Viking era, with incredible success. It may be tough to bring a Norse-themed game to market this soon afterwards as the bar has definitely been raised, but developer Zaxis have given it a go, to mixed results.

The game begins as you escape a burning building in a small Viking village. Fimbul uses this brief intro as a way to teach basic movement and traversal mechanics, which work well enough for the gameplay style on offer. You are shown how to move around, dodge, roll and climb your way out, which will all come into effect further as the game progresses. In this initial stage, we found ourselves fighting with the camera somewhat, but fortunately, the wide open winter spaces that most of the game takes place in work better with the camera’s unpredictable movements.

Once you escape, you are thrown into a fight almost instantly. The combat is basic and follows a simple block, dodge and attack loop that is enabled by four pieces of equipment; your shield, sword, axe and spear. At this stage the enemies seem easy to defeat, as they often are as an introduction, but in Fimbul the standard soldiers never pose much of a threat. It’s often easy to button mash your enemies into a stunned state, defeating them with two or three hits, and the combat only increases in difficulty once larger enemies and boss fights are introduced. A special move-set is also introduced as you progress, but the healing station is the only ability we found very useful.

gaming, reviews, fimbul
gaming, reviews, fimbul
gaming, reviews, fimbul
gaming, reviews, fimbul

The combat is broken up by a few very short stealth sequences, and some exploration tasks. These sections boil down to avoiding the view of an onlooking troll as you make your way through an area and finding runes to activate, which then progress you to the next stage. Sadly, these gameplay styles are underdeveloped and unfortunately, hardly used. Although the stealth could do with more refinement mechanically, it was a nice change of pace to the often repetitive combat sequences and it was disappointing that these sections only cropped up twice.

Exploration suffers a similar fate. Once a combat scenario has played out, you are allowed to relax a bit as you find three runes to move forward. At this point, the game still follows a linear structure, but multiple paths to find the runes would have created a nice environment for some optional collectables and nuggets of Norse back story to flesh out the world.

Fortunately, Fimbul’s story does a good job with providing motivation for progressing through the game, albeit whilst being quite vague and requiring a basic knowledge of Viking themes, Norse stories and more specifically, the events of Ragnarok. The “cutscenes” are presented as comic strips, often of conversation between multiple characters and can be confusing to follow. The way that each character’s dialogue appears within the strip can often lead to instances where it’s hard to know which lines to read in which order, but we managed to get the gist more often than not. Proper cutscenes with voice acting would have been preferable, as they would have provided clarity to better understand the story.

gaming, reviews, fimbul
gaming, reviews, fimbul

The comic book style sequences are also at odds with the visual style the main game follows. Sitting somewhere between Ico and Rime, the game’s atmosphere has a lonely vibe with a pale, cartoony character sticking out amongst the more realistic backdrop. Although somewhat disjointed, we really liked the unique graphic style Fimbul shows off, but it is definitely an acquired taste, like that of the aforementioned Ico. We can only speculate as to the reasoning behind using the jarring comic style to present story cutscenes, as an aesthetic more similar to the game itself would have worked much better.

Although we enjoyed the art style, the game does let itself down slightly with technical issues. None were game-breaking, but we saw strange clipping issues, janky scene transitions and often a camera with a mind of its own. Dips to well below the 30fps target were also on display with one boss fight showing signs of huge slowdown. Luckily the lack of difficulty means none of these issues result in too much stress, but they do make the game feel a little rough around the edges even for a lower budget title.

Towards the end of the game, Fimbul begins to trip up over itself. An over-reliance on the same combat sequences with more enemies and frequent repetitive boss fights take away from the uniqueness the first half of the game sets up. The balance between combat, stealth and exploration is thrown off for a false sense of end-game satisfaction, which may work thematically but does little to serve the gameplay. There is fun to be had with Fimbul especially for those with a keen interest in Norse mythology, but technical issues, confusing comic book dialogue and too much hack and slash combat mean the overall package doesn’t quite live up its early-game premise.

gaming, reviews, fimbul
gaming, reviews, fimbul

Keyword: Fimbul


Obsessed with Mario Kart? Take it too far with these TAG Heuer watches

Watches TAG Heuer teams up with Nintendo for two limited edition timepieces Watchmaker TAG Heuer has teamed up with Nintendo to create two limited edition timepieces celebrating one of the best racing games ever created. A perfect, if expensive, gift for the Mario Kart-obsessed person in your life. The more ...

View more: Obsessed with Mario Kart? Take it too far with these TAG Heuer watches

The next big video game platform? Your BMW, apparently

Are you tired of fighting tooth and nail for a PS5? Wouldn’t you like to leave the fist fights and public brawls behind in favour of a more adult, more refined gaming experience? Well BMW, of all companies, may be your answer brave wanderer. Starting next year, owners of ...

View more: The next big video game platform? Your BMW, apparently

BMW turns its cars into games consoles

Gaming Use your phone as a controller to play multiplayer games With the recent silicon shortage making it hard to get both new cars and videogame consoles, BMW has decided to roll the two into one by turning the centre section of its BMW Curved Display into a fully fledged ...

View more: BMW turns its cars into games consoles

Weird crossover of the week: the Hummer EV is coming to Call of Duty

Gaming Hummer trades on its US military history by getting its new electric pickup into CoD Gather round all, for there is a new automotive/gaming tie up for you to be aware of. Yep, GMC has teamed up with Activision to get its new Hummer EV pickup into the upcoming ...

View more: Weird crossover of the week: the Hummer EV is coming to Call of Duty

Remembering classic games: Cisco Heat (1990)

Gaming Cadillac takes on Nissan in this classic arcade that pits police cars against each other The world of videogames is littered with examples of misuse of police budget, but arcade game Cisco Heat: All American Police Car Race has to be among the most taxpayer troubling. That’s because it ...

View more: Remembering classic games: Cisco Heat (1990)

Ian Callum on the Prodrive sim: 'most racing simulators are ugly'

Gaming One of the prettiest sims out there also happens to be a proper racing tool If one day in the future your toaster is built out of carbon fibre and boasts the structural rigidity of an F1 car, it’s probably because Prodrive happened. The British motorsport and engineering titan ...

View more: Ian Callum on the Prodrive sim: 'most racing simulators are ugly'

F1 Manager 22 review: the prettiest spreadsheet we've ever seen

Gaming First Formula One management game in 20 years challenges armchair strategists Sitting around on a Sunday afternoon watching the Ferrari F1 team’s title hopes implode in slow motion, it’s tempting to think that you could do a better job with one of the fastest cars on the grid and ...

View more: F1 Manager 22 review: the prettiest spreadsheet we've ever seen

The Ferrari 296 GTB is now in Rocket League

Gaming And honestly, it’s worth it for the engine sound alone. Have a listen here Is it just us, or does Rocket League kind of feel like it’s been around forever? Somehow, we’ve only had seven years’ worth of rocket-propelled high jinks and soul-crushing air swings. We picked it up ...

View more: The Ferrari 296 GTB is now in Rocket League

You can now drive a Pagani Huayra R in your living room*

This is the V10-engined £2.5m McLaren Solus GT, a real-life Gran Turismo racer

Grand Theft Auto 6 will set a new benchmark ‘for all entertainment’

Call of Duty adds Singapore Grand Prix map to Modern Warfare 2 Beta

The Lamborghini Countach LPI 800-4 is now in a videogame

Remembering classic games: Rock n’ Roll Racing (1993)

F1 22 review: racing, supercars and... interior design?

Forza Motorsport reboot is coming Spring 2023

The first official F1 management game in decades arrives 25 August

Volvo brings Fortnite graphics to the dashboard

Official: Sony is making a Gran Turismo TV series!

Remembering classic games: Daytona USA (1993)


Breaking thailand news, thai news, thailand news Verified News Story Network