Tuesday, February 23, 2021
Valheim - Longevity?
Valheim on Steam is now at 3 million copies sold, with 96% of the 80,000 user reviews positive. Not bad for a $20 indie game in Early Access! Valheim has certainly set the bar higher for the survival crafting genre of games. I was chuckling at some video game journalists expressing their disappointment on the fact that there are no console releases for Valheim planned; the two guys in Sweden who made Valheim probably never even considered the possibility that somebody would want that. Not that I would recommend playing Valheim with a gamepad, I tried, and it makes some of the more fiddly aspects of the game even fiddlier.
I'm 66 hours into the game, and with using some shortcuts on metal transport I arrived at the 4th stage of the game, having killed the third boss. And this is the first time I actually notice the "early access" part of the game. For example I killed a stone golem in the Mountain biome, who dropped a crystal, material for which there is currently no use yet in the game. And I visited the Plains biome, which appears to be the last developed biome currently, and concluded that it wasn't really made for solo play, with monsters living in larger groups there.
Now I had a lot of fun with Valheim, and I would consider 66 hours of fun gameplay for $20 a rather good value for money proposition. But I don't think that I will play much longer. Last year I asked my readers what they thought was the best game about chopping wood, and Valheim most certainly comes close to the game I was looking for in that post. For example I much prefer Valheim over Animal Crossing, because Valheim has considerably more freedom, more space, and a far more involved crafting system. But while I do like the frequency and difficulty of monsters in the early biomes of Valheim, I found that the monsters get too hard for me to be enjoyable in the later biomes, even with optimal gear. I have to admit that I beat all three boss mobs with clever use of terrain and buildings, rather than fighting them toe to toe. And I didn't enjoy those fights, they were a bit of a slog. In other words, my perfect game isn't far from Valheim, but a bit closer on the peacefulness scale to Animal Crossing or My Time at Portia.
Where other people might get a lot more mileage out of Valheim than me is the aspect of building a base. I am not very creative in that domain. My buildings are functional, not grandiose. My house only has 5 x 5 "squares", because that is all I need to get my workbenches and furniture in. And although I have access to the tools that would allow me to build a stone castle, I simply wasn't very interested in building one.
I would still recommend that you try out Valheim if you haven't played it yet, or at least watch it played for a bit on Twitch or YouTube if you are on the fence. But personally I think I will move on, and then maybe come back later to see how the game has evolved by the time it is actually "released".