Review – Young Thor
Developer: Frima Studio
Publisher: Frima Studio
Release Date: July 20th 2010 | July 21st 2010
Price: $4.99 | £3.99 | €4.99
Rating: Everyone | PEGI 7
What I liked:
- A lot of content
- Varied worlds
- Spot on difficulty
What I disliked:
- The Banshee sound effects
- Repetitive combat system
I know some of you have been wondering how good Young Thor is, and I apologize for the wait in posting the review. The problem was that I was playing the game on my PSP for a long time, and with good reason. In Young Thor, you play as… a young Thor, fighting on both the mortal realm of Midgard and the realm of the Gods, Asgard in order to rescue three princesses (Norns) and restore balance to the world. The game follows Norse mythology, something I’m not well versed in, but a quick look at the Wikipedia page reveals many of the names and places present in Young Thor. While the Norse world-saving storyline is coherent, it’s not what takes center stage in Young Thor. Simply put, Frima has outdone itself with this Mini title.
Young Thor is, at its core, a 2D side-scrolling beat ’em up. At first glance, and as the controls seem to depict, I thought the game would allow Thor to move into the third dimension. However, the game constricts you to moving left and right, and jumping up and down. After a few minutes of playing, I began to forget about moving into the background, content with just checking out the scenery while smashing goblins in the face on my own plane. There are several points throughout the game when the camera will zoom out or pan behind Thor, adding a cinematic quality to game, an effect used often in the God of War series. This isn’t the only aspect that the game shares with GoW, but I’ll try not to dwell on its similarities for the sake of reviewing it as its own game.
There are four different worlds to conquer in Young Thor. Each one looks good enough (and different enough) to stir up the gameplay. You won’t feel like you’re hack n’ slashing through the same territories. After you beat a stage, 1-1, for example, it unlocks the stage above it (2-1 in this case) and a variation of the stage you just completed (1-2 in this case). Variations are just that: The enemies are different, the difficulty is higher, and new equipment can be obtained. Equipment is scattered throughout the game in different levels, giving reason to play new variations and unlock all of the levels. Obtaining a new piece of equipment boosts Thor’s abilities. For instance, finding the Winged Helmet allows you to double jump. Some of the items are actually pretty difficult to find and require a fair amount of exploration. The only slight problem I have with this system, though, is that besides for the ability to double jump, each item only boosts what you can already do. Your hammer becomes more powerful, you eventually regenerate health, but no real new abilities come from the items. Also, there is no concrete combo system, making for some pretty dull combat down the line (you’ll be ground-pounding Fallen Warriors over and over in order to defeat them while taking minimal damage).
An aspect of the game I especially like is its difficulty. It’s not as easy as its looks may convey. To the contrary, the difficulty ramps up slightly but surely, and if you’re ever stuck on a stage that’s too tough, you can repeat an earlier variation in order to level up. I died more than a few times on my way to beating all of the stages and finding all of the equipment. There isn’t any real penalty for dying, except for the fact that you respawn at the most recently reached checkpoint. This does become a real penalty later on in the game, when some of the fight sequences last a very long time. One in particular, in level 3-4, is too long, in my opinion. It took me over 22 minutes to beat the level simply because the ghost ship sequence takes about 15-20 minutes. To boot, it’s full of two of the more annoying enemies: Banshees, whose howl will drive you to turn off your sound, and Fallen Warriors, whose sporadic attacks will lead to many deaths.
The bottom line is that Young Thor is a game that, along with others like Coconut Dodge and Monsters (Probably) Stole My Princess, adds legitimacy to the Minis platform. It’s easy to pick up, fun to play, and hard to put down. The achievements in the game are many and actually feel like trophies. A couple of drawbacks hold it back from a perfect score, namely the fact that there are only really 4 different levels and the combat system is rather static. All the same, Young Thor is a game that’s well worth your $4.99. Check it out if you’re looking for some GoW-like fun on the run.