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Android  header logo

Happy Vikings


For: Android

Thor square

Product: Happy Vikings | Publisher: HandyGames | Format: Android | Genre: Casual | Players: 1 | Version: Europe
 
Happy Vikings Android, thumbnail 1
If you ever want to release a game on the Android Market, remember to start with a traditional name.

Take an emotive adjective and add a bizarre noun - Angry Birds, Ancient Frog, Hungry Shark - then just base your gameplay around the name, and, hey presto, Bemused Sloth is born.

In a similar vein comes Happy Vikings: a title from HandyGames that marries Scandinavian marauders with the fleeting feeling one gets from matching three coloured objects together.

Befooled

The premise of Happy Vikings is similar to Bejeweled in that you have to match three or more blocks of the same item (gold chests, sheep, barrels, fish, and meat).

This loot falls from the sky and you control an eager Viking who has to carry blocks from place to place, combining them in the best ways possible.

It all takes place on a well-animated backdrop of a dock alongside a longboat, with your Viking tottering over a huge pile of gold that rises as blocks combine and disappear.

The Viking smiles at this. The Viking is happy.

Every few levels a new block type is introduced, increasing the difficulty a little. For example, there are stone blocks that cannot be destroyed or matched, and special rune blocks that can be arranged to spell God names like "Odin" for a sparkly multiplier bonus.

Thor play

The biggest difference from your average match-three title comes from having a character that has to run around and shift things.

Using the on-screen joystick, you can run from side to side catching blocks that fall or pushing as many as two along the ground (so long as they are side by side and there is nothing on top of them).

One button enables you to jump and double jump to get over objects as they begin to pile up. Another button makes you pick up either the block beneath you or the block facing you (if you're pushing against it).

The satisfaction you get from matching blocks is less immediate than in a standard Bejeweled clone, but this is because it takes longer to plan and execute your moves.

Depending on the level, you might get a lot of time between 'drops' of loot or you might get no time at all. If you're expecting a swipe-heavy game, you may lose patience with Happy Vikings. However, to everyone else the game will feel generally well paced.

Solvency

Of the 50 levels available in the first part, the best are those that have been designed with a very specific solution in mind.

Chaining together combos (to get multiplied scores) turns out to be quite difficult when you also have to concentrate on the movements of your character, and a lot of it ends up feeling like luck rather than skill.

Yet, in the carefully designed levels there is often a neat and satisfying solution that will get you a three-star rating on completing the level, as well as earn you a hill of gold.

Sadly, these levels don’t appear often enough and when they do, blocks that quickly rain down on important positions can throw you off big time.

The game is best when it embraces these structured puzzle elements, then, but it can get a bit repetitive, especially early on. Furthermore, it doesn’t feel like there’s any compulsion to get the three-star rating for all levels apart from some (admittedly funny) Valhalla ladies who sing "New hi-scorrrrrre!" when you beat your old record.

Happy Vikings isn’t as fast or as compulsive as its main influence but that shouldn't prevent it from finding a decent audience, who'll no doubt relish the game's more demanding take on the genre.
 
Happy Vikings
Reviewer photo
Brendan Caldwell | 10 June 2011
A lot less addictive than the usual match-three fare, but also more challenging. To some it could be cumbersome, to others it could be a satisfying puzzler
 
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