Zaxis / Wild River Games (studio)
28 February 2019 (released)
05 March 2019
Norse mythology, revenge and plenty of questions on morality could be the winning mix for this latest indie game. Fimbul centres on the death and resurrection of a once famed warrior who’s been betrayed by his brother and called upon for a higher purpose. Featuring gruesome brawls, giants and plenty of pretty visuals, can Fimbul become the next top Viking themed game on the market?
As mentioned before, we take on the role of a renowned warrior living the simple life, until things are disrupted. His disowned brother returns to burn his home down and strike an axe in to the back of his head. Upon his death he enters the land of giants and guided by an all-powerful voice who commands him to return to the Earth as seek revenge. Once he returns, things start off normally enough for a tale of revenge but soon enough, things become stranger and the goal of the journey shifts into a more sinister endgame.
The story has a lot of emotional weight to it, with an underlining gravitas which will certainly keep you invested throughout. There are moments where you can decide the fate of various characters but these sadly don’t impact the endgame as much as I hoped. They feel like those multiple choice moments in Army of Two: The Fortieth Day where they seem quite meaningful and stride to make an impact by the end, but end up being cinematic flare. It’s a shame as the choices are tough to decide on but come to the end, they don’t mean very much.
Taking the forefront of Fimbul is its combat which relies on gathering weapons and equipment from fallen soldiers to progressively improve your damage and resistance. There are special moves and attacks which allow you to regenerate health and strike an ultimate blow on your enemies, along with a few others which come later in the story. Combat is simple with a light and heavy attack being the main forms of interactive during battles and of course you can throw spears for ranged attacks.
While Fimbul does include some intense encounters, with large scale confrontations taking place in a variation of locations, it can be a little repetitive in most instances. There is the occasional boss battle which are often well designed and rely on more than simply hitting your target. Then there are the aforementioned big battles which don’t happen as much as I would’ve liked. Apart from these, you’ll see an uninspired pattern after a couple of hours of walking into one area after another and fighting droves of generic enemies until the path unlocked for you to continue.
Thankfully there are other segments which rely a little more on lateral thinking, such as traversing a dark cave with a single torch while fending off man eating creatures. These are great moments but again not enough of these segments to break up the simple and repetitive combat. It’s not bad but rather it can feel like a grind at times and there could’ve been more variation in encounters.
It doesn’t help that the controls can feel rather cumbersome at times, with slow reaction speeds and some commands such as blocking never responding as well as they should.
In regards to presentation, Fimbul is a nice enough looking game with some neat cut scenes set up as comic book panels and some good sound design with some very atmospheric musical scores accompanying your journey.
Overall Fimbul is a decent Norse outing but lacks the brutality of God of War or the refinery and dynamic flare and scale of Jotun. But it does have it moments, whether they are fighting giant monsters, engaging in a large scale battle or partaking in one of few lateral moments which easily become the highlight. Fimbul is worth checking out but sadly may not be enter the land of other mighty Norse inspired games.
+ Good story
+ Some entertaining set pieces
+ Nice visuals and sound
- Clunky controls
- Receptive combat
- Multiple choices amount to nothing meaning by the end
A PS4 review copy of Fimbul was provided by the publisher for the purpose of this review.