Fight it? Or tame it? In Valheim, you get to make this choice, and many others, over the span of a lengthy, randomly generated adventure.
Valheim is Steam’s latest top-selling, out-of-nowhere indie game, and from some angles, it sure looks the part. Depending on what screenshots you stumble upon, you might get some serious PlayStation 1 nostalgia vibes, with characters, animals, and trees that look straight out of the first ’90s Tomb Raider game.
We’ve seen this before when it comes to Steam Early Access hits, usually because a game maker spends more time on gameplay and depth, not screenshots. Hence, it’s not surprising to notice similarities to other survival-creation fare like Minecraft and Rust, where glitchy simplicity is part of the charm. But starting and ending with the graphics in this epic, Viking-tinged tale misses the modern-gaming forest for the blocky-voxel trees.
To understand why the $20 Valheim has surpassed the 2 million sales mark in only 13 days, and why its Early Access buyers can’t get enough of it, you have to scrape a few hours beneath the comparison-heady surface level. Get that far, and the game’s allure becomes clearer. This is a survival game made by people who really like survival games—but don’t necessarily like the genre’s tedium.