Valnir Rok is an online survival RPG title from encurio, an independent studio based in Germany. Inspired by Norse mythology, Valnir Rok lets you play as a Viking warrior as you cut down mythical beasts and mortal men alike.
You start off by creating your own custom character. The character creation system is fairly simple and allows you to change your hair, beard, body and dyeing your hair. It’s not possible to create some crazy characters like in some of the other survival games, but it does a good job of letting you have a unique avatar for yourself.
Valnir Rok starts off like many other survival games, with you waking up from a shipwreck. Your journey starts out with a humble quest that slowly introduces you to the brutal world.
Because the game is an RPG you will need to gain experience points, and gradually improve your character’s level to unlock new skills. You will need to unlock new equipment, building objects and tools from the fairly large skill tree.
There’s not a lot to the story, but then again it’s survival sandbox RPG. You make your own story, and how your character ends up is entirely up to you.
The mechanics in Valnir Rok require some getting used to, and the game absolutely does not hold your hand. Don’t go in expecting to punch giants and deforesting entire forests with your bare hands. The game is absolutely brutal and you will find yourself with a ticket for Valhalla if you don’t prepare yourself.
You will have to collect raw materials like wood, rock, and other stuff to make items. And like I just said, these will require the proper tools to harvest. You will also have to take care of your food and water needs. If you find yourself in the night, you better be wearing the proper clothes otherwise you will find yourself freezing to death.
You don’t get to click on an icon and magically create new weapons and tools, you will need to discover them. You don’t get to click once and find yourself with a hundred wooden logs, chopping down trees, mining and pretty much anything takes time and leaves you exposed. So when you hear a wolf howl, you better have a sword ready because they will tear you to pieces.
Of course, just like any other survival game, fighting and gathering resources are part of the package. Building mechanics is an equally important pillar of the game and the game lets you create your own Kingdoms complete with subjects and traders.
But of course all of that will take time, so you will have to start out with building small houses, and setting up perimeters. By the time you finally get to have your own castles and forts, you will feel the gratification and satisfaction that only comes from working hard to achieve something.
The graphics are good but a bit wonky, I found some of the combat animations a bit jarring and quite a few glitches. The map is fairly big but a bit repetitive after you explore every corner of the game. Several NPC villages and altars are scattered throughout the world. But it still ends up feeling empty, something that can easily be remedied with an increased population count.
Exploration rewards you with loot such as better weapons, materials, and tools that help you survive the world a bit longer.
So there’s a lot of PvE content here but there’s also PvP servers, which are unfortunately not really populated. But since I went in with my friends, and I highly recommend you do the same if you pick the game up, I had a blast. The combat feels meaty and it’s really satisfying going up against another human player.
Sound design is fairly well done, and most of the ambient noises do a great job of immersing you with the game world. The main menu music reminds me of Skyrim, and while I like the nod, I think the game could do with a more original soundtrack. There are some very abrupt interruptions to the music in some cases, like when moving from the forest to the fort and it feels very jarring. A more smooth transition would really help in keeping the immersion intact.
Of course, the game is still in early access, and a lot of the systems are mere placeholders. The game has its fair share of bugs, which I hope will get ironed out in future patches. I haven’t run into any game-breaking bugs but I did crash out in one instance.
Valnir Rok has the capability to be something great. It already has some of the best survival RPG mechanics and a lot of content for an early access game. A steady stream of content, bug fixes, and community support can turn this game into a real gem.
Since it’s an early access game, we are not going to give it a final score. Instead, I am going to list out the pros and cons and then give it a recommendation because the game is actually a lot of fun. It’s not for everybody, and especially not for people who want a polished product. But if you have a couple of friends that can join you on your journey and if you can get through the slightly rough gameplay mechanics, there’s a brutal and rewarding experience waiting for you.
- Great atmosphere.
- Good visuals.
- Lots of content.
- Combat feels great.
- The game feels challenging without being frustrating.
- Some of the deepest and meaningful subsystems in any survival game.
- Lots of ways to customize your character’s play style.
- Character creation is a bit lacking.
- Jarring sound changes.
- Some wonky animations.
- Some of the mechanics are absolutely barebones.
- The map feels a bit barren.