Valheim: The Valiant Tenth Realm

Valheim has taken the gaming world by storm. The game was made by two veterans of the industry: Richard Svensson and Henrik Törnqvist. Within a couple of weeks of release, the game has sold over five million copies. Valheim even began to hit mainstream gaming population numbers, overtaking games such as PlayerUnknown’s Battleground and Dota 2. An even more astonishing feat is that Valheim is the first game developed by Iron Gate AB, a small company based in Sweden.

For twenty dollars, Valheim is a survival game in a saturated market of the survival genre. However, the massive map, Viking lore, boss battles, sailing mechanics, and many other features propelled Valheim to the forefront of survival games. As of April 2021, Valheim has five boss battles and six biomes. Since the game is in its early access phase—a phase used by developers to release the game before it is completely finished so funds from purchases can be dedicated to finalizing the product—the developers have planned more bosses, biomes, and further updates to buildings and sailing components.

Similar to most survival games, Valheim offers a multiplayer option to players. Instead of confronting the beasts and monsters of the night alone, the player can party with up to nine others in their own dedicated server. The game emulates Terraria character mechanics where different characters created by one player can carry over across several worlds and servers. In addition, the game’s difficulty scales according to how many players are on the server or party. To elaborate, the boss fights are not easier with more people, or harder when you are solo. As a result, Valheim encourages players to carry on alone or with their friends.

Another interesting aspect of Valheim is the leveling system. Other role-playing games (RPGs) such as World of Warcraft, Skyrim, and Ark Survival Evolved use skill-based leveling systems. These systems allow players to gradually improve their harvesting, combat, running, and various other actions depending on how much time the player invests in them. For instance, a level one run skill may only allow the player to run for a couple of seconds before it depletes the stamina. While a level 100 run skill could allow the player to run for a couple of minutes or hours before it depletes the stamina. The skill-based leveling system is another alluring factor for players to spend more time playing the game. Considering some skills can take dozens of hours to max out, a player could spend several hundred hours trying to max out an entire character.

Aside from the gameplay mechanics, Valheim also offers an interesting array of construction options. Players can build houses, mead halls, castles, and much more with varying materials and environments. Players can also construct ships from knarrs to imposing warships and other legendary vessels to explore the seas and discover new lands.

Overall, Valheim is a steal for twenty dollars. The content within the game is comparable to a $60 mainstream game from larger game designing companies like Nintendo, Ubisoft, or Rockstar Games. It is also important to reiterate that the game is in the early access phase, so frequent updates and additions to its current content and gameplay are expected. Hopefully, the developers at Iron Studios AB continue to surprise the gaming community with their experience and expertise.