Review: Young Thor
Young Thor is a PlayStation Mini title that can be played on either the PlayStation 3 or PlayStation Portable. The game is a throwback to Norse mythological history which adds a cutesy-theme to the Action you can expect from hammering trolls, unleashing lightning attacks on arachnids, and more. In this brief yet satisfying title you are faced with a decent degree of challenge as well as re-playability and though the PlayStation Minis have no trophy support (at no fault to the developer Frima Studio) this game does feature a built-in Achievement system that will further extend the play for perfectionists and those who seek a higher degree of completion from their games.
The game-play in Young Thor is pretty straight forward. At first the fact that it is on a two dimensional plane despite the good looking 3D models and backgrounds being used will probably startle and throw you back a little bit if that isn’t what you were expecting, but overall it works with the mechanics in place quite nicely. Thor will begin with a pretty simple set of moves including jumping, running, dodging to the left or right (using the shoulder buttons), and a small set of attacks using his hammer and lightning magic. As the title progresses through the four missions it contains the equipment gained will include enhanced armor, a better hammer, and increased magical lightning attacks.
Leveling up in this game is key and Frima Studio has provided a great way to do that. Each of the game’s levels can be replayed at a higher difficulty level which will add more of an authentic challenge than most difficulty increases seen in games. This is accomplished by the addition of more hardcore enemies earlier in the level. More strategic approaches become required as the levels take on a new feel and even a new name. For example, a level with not many trolls becomes the ‘Cave of Trolls’ and the difficulty increases greatly and requires a whole new attitude to win.
The player will assume the role of Thor (of course) who must defeat the mythological entity Hel in order to restore things gone to hell (see what I did there?) by saving three of the entities known to reside over mankind’s fate. The music and sound effects in the game are pretty entertaining but nothing to really write home about. Technical issues are few and far between, but at some points you will fall into collision problems causing you to fall below the level and die when you shouldn’t have. These issues can also work to your advantage, but like I said they are few and far between.
Some notable features in the game include jumping from wall to wall in a fashion seen before in many titles. This adds an acrobatic feel to the title at times and gives gamers a more excited feeling freshening up the game-play. Enemies and their A.I. start out very simple but quickly change drastically to more difficulty. Battling ghosts on the ship scene gets pretty brutal and surprisingly this PlayStation Mini begins to feel epic in its own way at this point. The bosses are interesting but a little too easy to kill, often you will simply have to realize when to dodge and how to attack and take them out in the same manner over and over again. Regular troops become approachable with this tactic as well, but this is forgivable if you were just looking for a quick romp of fun.
One memorable moment included figuring out how to destroy trolls pretty early in the game. If you would like to discover this for yourself, skip to the conclusion paragraph of this review. At first you will go at these guys like the rest of the enemies in the game because you get used to the ease of play that is present early in the title when they first appear. However, simply hammering them up head-on will not do the trick. Death is imminent the first time you approach these guys this way. What you will need to do is hammer them in the back and this is achieved by double-jumping over them carefully, getting behind them quick and hitting them one time just before side-jumping out of the way before they quickly attack back. Do not spam the controls at this point for attack or you will wind up stuck in place and taking massive amounts of damage. You can use the lightning magic to defeat them faster (and sometimes this becomes necessary when you are trapped in an energy bubble and attacked by waves of trolls) however it is best to preserve this magical energy to get through the rest of the level.
In conclusion this title provides a basic and simple yet rewarding action experience. While light on content, the price seems right for such a title. You will only face a few different missions and types of enemies, but if you don’t mind playing this simply for the game-play (which is admittedly nothing new to the scene) then you won’t be disappointed. The concept is good, the quality is good, but there is really not enough depth to the story and characters unless you are already into Norse mythology. Keeping with the tradition of PlayStation Minis, this would probably be best for PlayStation Portable users on the go who need that quick pick-up-and-play fix of gaming here and there. If you are looking for something more you may want to look elsewhere, but this is definitely a fun game worthy of your time should you decide to pick it up.