None the Norse for wear
The Vikings were a pretty brutal lot; of that, there is no argument. However, life for them was in itself a pretty gruesome business, being at the whim of not only the natural world, but other tribes in the North Sea that would sooner stick swords in them than greet them with open arms. If you ever wanted to get a handle on just how tough the Viking life could be, you’ll be interested in checking out The Great Whale Road, recently released into Steam Early Access.
The road of rune
The game has players taking on the role of a leader of one such fair-skinned tribe and making decisions in their daily lives. Though several cultures are planned for the final product, you’ll find yourself currently only able to play as the Danes. Players allocate resources into the upkeep of their tribe’s settlement and keep mindful of winter and the hardships it brings. Of note is the religious aspect of your tribe’s existence: there are several instances where worship of a particular Norse deity or prayers of intercession are very serious undertakings.
Once you’ve bested the harsh winter, the real fun begins. The arrival of summer sees your tribe taking to longships and earning their reputation as ruthless barbarians. They’ll be visiting neighboring tribes and pillaging with reckless abandon, though naturally every incursion brings about its own challenges and risks.
Odin to a Nightingale
The game mixes up several elements of gameplay, including turn-based strategy, RPG, management simulation, trade and even cards. It’s quite ambitious and it comes together pretty well, though all sections need more options and refinement in order to stand out. There’s already a lot of content on offer and many hours of gameplay to be had, and once each part realizes its full potential, The Great Whale Road will be a game of epic proportions.
The game features an absolutely gorgeous, hand-drawn art style that completely pulls the player in and brings the world to life. It invokes a similar aesthetic to that featured in The Banner Saga. Every about the art, from the character faces to the menu layout, is clean and attractive. The audio department follows the same example and truly stands out for its attention to detail.
Ragnarok the boat
Though somewhat still lacking in its mechanics, The Great Whale Road shows a load of promise and a surprising amount of depth despite clearly still being a work-in-progress. The backbone is already present and quite solid, and the theme and presentation come together to create a memorable experience. In the end, you actually feel like you’re a part of this long-forgotten world and you end up truly caring about the characters and events unfolding. It’s definitely one to keep an eye on and we’re keen to see the finished project when it launches this winter.
Are you keen on giving it a go? Want to engage the developers and offer some feedback? Sail on over to its official Steam page to procure a copy of your very own for $14.99.