The difference between a good Vampire Survivors clone and a bad one is based on three important criteria: Combat, Progression, and Performance.
Ragnarök Survivors: Valhalla has one of the worst combat systems in the entire action roguelike genre; without any form of auto-aim or manual fire controls, players are forced to utilise slow-firing, inaccurate forward-firing long arc weapons for several hours before slightly better weapons unlock.
It is hard to describe just how bad these weapons are, and the combat system can be best described as trying to hit a moving target with a beanbag thrown by someone else at a 45-degree angle and hoping that the target is struck on the beanbag’s downward trajectory.
There is a reason that Vampire Survivor and its many clones use both auto aim and weapons that can fire in multiple directions: the genre and its intricacies almost require it, and even if a developer wished to try something new, players should begin with either a melee weapon or a weapon that can fire in a straight line, as this would allow them to target enemies in front of them, instead of having to run as far as possible and hope that the weapon would auto fire at the correct time to hit oncoming enemies before they were too close to fire upon due to the bizarre angle projectiles are fired.
While Ragnarök Survivors: Valhalla does allow players to unlock various upgrades between runs, progression during each match is awful, with most upgrades being limited to uninspiring generic items such as gold, armour, or health potions.
While players will eventually be offered the ability to select various weapons that they have previously unlocked, these weapons feel static and unengaging, unlike most Vampire Survivor clones, which offer upgradeable weapons that can be upgraded and combined with other weapons to create legendary weapons with enhanced attack strength and in many cases, entirely new abilities.
On its own, Ragnarök Survivors: Valhalla’s progression system is lacklustre; when combined with Ragnarök Survivors: Valhalla’s awful combat system, it is a deal breaker.
This is one area that Ragnarök Survivors: Valhalla excels, and I encountered no performance issues during my time playing the game, in addition to enjoying rock solid 144 FPS for much of each level; however, this is hardware specific, and lower-end hardware may struggle to maintain a stable FPS as the number of enemies increases during the later stages of each run.
Ragnarök Survivors: Valhalla feels like a game that was created by either an AI or a developer who has never played Vampire Survivors and is trying to cash in on the success of the genre by creating a game that looks similar to it, even if the core aspects of the genre, and most importantly aspects of the genre that makes so it popular are ignored or utilised in such a way that the finished product is neither fun nor rewarding.
Ragnarök Survivors: Valhalla lacks the buttery smooth controls that are a cornerstone of the genre when hundreds and, in some cases, thousands of enemies are on screen at once; players need the ability to weave in and out of harm’s way with the grace of a veteran ballerina; however, that is not the case with Ragnarök Survivors: Valhalla, with players being given three equally poor methods of controlling their characters.
The mouse control scheme is highly inaccurate and can result in the character straying as many as 30 pixels off course, which, when combined with bizarrely high latency, is often enough to cause a character to walk right into an enemy horde and either die instantly to lose a large percentage of their health bar.
WASD causes characters to move like vehicles, resulting in characters zig-zagging and occasionally veering off course when attempting to move in any direction other than up, down, left or right.
While there is less latency when using this control scheme, the zig-zagging and limited range of movement more than counters this slight “advantage”.
While Ragnarök Survivors: Valhalla boasts of full controller support, that is not the case, and some menus are impossible to navigate with a controller, as in nothing is selectable, etc.
While I am a follower of Jesus Christ and will unashamedly say I all other deities are myths, I still have no problem enjoying a game or story set within the confines of these mythologies, as they are fiction, and like all fiction can at times point to a greater truth.
Norse mythology is a popular setting for games and is a very good choice; however, after playing Ragnarök Survivors: Valhalla, I am not sure exactly why the developer opted to base the branding and marketing of his generic off-brand Vampire Survivors clone off Norse Mythology.
Except for a few Viking-looking characters, there is nothing about Ragnarök Survivors: Valhalla that screams Norse mythology more than it screams “generic Unity asset store assets”, and I cannot help but feel that the developer chose Norse mythology as a way to attract interest in the title, instead of the setting, gameplay or narrative requiring it.
In short, Ragnarök Survivors: Valhalla is a generic Vampire Survivors clone in a Viking helmet.
Less than 24 hours after finishing my review of Culinary Survivors, a game with one of the laziest maps I have ever encountered, I have the dubious honour of playing Ragnarök Survivors: Valhalla, a game with the laziest map in gaming history, a single repeating texture tile per biome.
While a Vampire Survivors clone doesn’t need a complex map, there is zero reason to go this minimalistic. If you reduce map design to a single asset store texture tile on repeat, you might as well forgo the background and have a black void.
Terrible map design aside, Ragnarök Survivors: Valhalla is a pretty decent-looking game in all other areas. While it is clear that most mobs and heroes are asset store assets, they are fairly high quality and all you could want from a 2D indie game.
Ragnarök Survivors: Valhalla is available exclusively on PC.
The following peripherals are officially supported:
Ragnarök Survivors: Valhalla is unrated and contains the following:
While Ragnarök Survivors: Valhalla is one of the better-looking Vampire survivors clones on the market, and the developer spent time ensuring that there was a functional (albeit convoluted) progression system, Ragnarök Survivors: Valhalla’s moment-to-moment gameplay is just not enjoyable, with tiny maps, frustrating weapons and a complete lack of auto or manual fire, combat is reduced to a game of chance, albeit one with very little reward at the end of the tunnel.
If the developer implements either manual firing controls or auto-aim, Ragnarök Survivors: Valhalla will be a pretty decent, albeit ultimately bare-bones alternative to Vampire Survivors; however, if they continue on their current part, Ragnarök Survivors: Valhalla will quickly slip into complete obscurity and will likely never leave early access.