I picked up Valheim back in February of this year. I spent quite a bit of time on it with a group of friends initially, but then we put a pause on things. Recently, I picked it back up again and my after-work hours are flying by as I play.
Valheim puts you in the shoes of a fallen Viking, whose soul has been transported to Valheim by the Valkyries. It very much is a survival game, but there are many elements they’ve improved upon from other games in the same genre. It’s also been a while since I’ve played a solid survival game. Super excited to dive back in to one that’s so promising!
What does Valheim do that’s different from other survival games I’ve played? It offers a lot of flexibility in terms of what you as the player wants to focus on in your journey of “surviving”. You never truly die from lack of food—your character doesn’t have a hunger bar. Instead, the food bar helps boost your base stats for a certain amount of time. If you’re happy with having a tiny amount of health as you work around your base, that’s fine! You don’t have to expend any of your food resources! But if you do venture out, it’s a good idea to bring some food with you so that you have increased stamina and health to handle enemies.
They do have an interesting food combo system. Your character has 3 slots for food eaten. To maximize your additional health/stamina bonuses, you should eat a variety of food. This encourages you to not default to one type of food and rely on it the entire game. There are even guides for which foods you should consume before different boss fights! But at the end of the day, food boosts are only temporary and you won’t get excessively strong from just eating.
One thing that threw me off when I loaded into a Valheim game was how gigantic the map is. When you pull up your map with the “m” button, you quickly see that your character is a speck on the world. When you move around, you then realize you’ve barely make a dent on the world map! Not to mention, the game’s size is super small. It’s 1GB? The graphics aren’t the prettiest thing in the world, but who cares? It actually reminds me a lot of old-school Runescape, giving me a hit of nostalgia every time I boot up Valheim.
So what’s challenging about the game? Life on your base is nice, but not without dangers. It seems that nature is against you and at night, you likely will get visits from increased amounts of Greydwarves curious about your settlement. You’ll also be challenged with random “Events” if you’re in an area that has 3+ base structures built. These attacks will range from small animals to gigantic trolls. It keeps things interesting and makes it so you can never feel too safe.
I touched on the bosses briefly, but Valheim has some challenging monsters for you to defeat. You have to collect various elements to sacrifice at altars around the world in order to summon these bosses. Realistically, if you reach certain milestones in your base’s development (i.e. reaching “Bronze” age), you’re pretty set when it comes to the bosses. It’s neat to have these challenges to work towards continually.
Other aspects and features of this game that I like includes the ability to add custom map markers, building portals to travel from your base to different far off locations, a variety of biomes with their unique resources and challenges, and just that the team has been continually delivering updates!
I’m excited to keep working on my base! And glad that Valheim is a new contender in the survival/crafting game genre 🙂