Valheim starts with the player taking on the role of a Viking warrior who is being ferried in the talons of a Valkyrie to the tenth Norse realm.
The only way that you can escape this primordial purgatory is if you complete the task of slaying the gods’ ancient enemies to bring order back to this realm.
The player is granted total freedom of choice, as there is no obligation to kill the game’s main bosses, and you can spend the entire game just building settlements and farming if you wish.
Valheim’s world is massive in its scale as it is procedurally generated, consisting of a set number of biomes – such as the Meadows or Mountains.
Each biome has a specific feel: the Meadows are pastoral and beginner-friendly, the Black Forest is dark and menacing, and the Swamps are damp and eerie.
The unique soundtrack accompanying each biome helps immerse you in its environment even more.
It’s the tiny details such as this that make the world feel alive and immersive.
The water in the ocean is simulated, which leads to genuinely terrifying moments when you are being tossed about in your tiny sailboat amid a thunderstorm.
When chopping down trees, you must carefully consider your positioning or risk dying from the log falling on you, and when hunting deer, you must consider the wind direction so that they don’t catch your scent.
Valheim incorporates its building, crafting, and environmental mechanics into its survival system to create a rich, immersive experience.
For instance, you have to keep your house’s structural integrity in mind when building, or else you risk it falling apart.
Smoke can also collect inside your house if you don’t build a proper chimney, causing your character to die from suffocation slowly.
Valheim’s food system is equally important – different meals increase either your health, your stamina, or provide a balance between the two, so you’ll have to choose wisely.
A day and night cycle means you must carefully consider when you go out to forage, as venturing out at night means you will have more enemies to deal with.
The weather is especially important if you plan adventure across the oceans, as storms can easily lead to a shipwreck. At the same time, unfavourable winds mean you aren’t going anywhere.
The enemies of Valheim come straight from Norse mythology and range from terrifying Trolls that shake the ground as they walk to groups of undead Draugr prowling the swamps.
The combat is difficult enough that you are always engaged and ensures you keep upgrading your gear to make sure you aren’t caught underprepared.
You level your character’s traits with a similar system to Skyrim, where the usage of the skill will level it.
For example, the more you use a bow, the faster you can draw it and the more damage you deal.
The multiplayer experience
Undoubtedly, Valheim is one of the best multiplayer experiences I have had with a game in recent memory.
You can set up a dedicated server and have up to 10 friends join you in that world, with more players increasing the combat difficulty.
One of the best parts of playing with friends is building a massive communal settlement where you pool your resources and head out on adventures together.
That’s not the end of it
Valheim’s developers, Iron Gate Studio, continuously add new content to the game, like the recent Frost Caves update and the upcoming Mistlands biome.
If you haven’t had an opportunity to play this gem of a game, you can buy it on Steam for R130.