I fell in love with Nidhogg within the first five seconds of my first match. Nidhogg is a classic reminder that local couch multiplayer games should never disappear as a genre. It is just too fun of a game that should be played with a room full of people waiting for their turn to try their hand at virtual fencing.
Nidhogg is pretty much a fighting game with light platforming elements. It is a one on one fight using fencing swords to fend off and kill the opposition. Nidhogg is true to the fencing sport as players have to carefully move and slowly fight for positioning at first. However, there is always a chance where a match can go absolutely insane and completely random. That’s when Nidhogg becomes pure ecstasy.
After one player gets the first kill, they have to move across the stage, hopefully to reach the end of it. Ensuing that, the player who was killed respawns, and has to stop the other player’s forward movement, get a kill and move in the opposite direction. Like the real sport of fencing, you’re always vying for position.
Lunging your sword is only one of the basic forms of attack, you can also throw your sword, but it can be blocked or dodged, leaving a player vulnerable. If you find yourself without your sword, you can try to duck under an opponent’s sword, go for a leg sweep and snap their neck, then pick up their sword and continue on. Any player can also perform a divekick, and if you are familiar with any fighting game, you know how powerful divekicks can be.
This is where Nidhogg gets REALLY freaking good. To be successful with Nidhogg, you have to get creative and think smart. Whether if you are on offensive or defensive, one bad move can cost you greatly, since momentum is a huge factor in a match. Once you get a few kills in a row, you feel the adrenaline rush and it puts a substantial amount of pressure on your opponent. It’s all about getting to the end of the stage to win, to have the glorious honor to be eaten by a creature known as the Nidhogg (No joke).
Nidhogg even adds some “variants” to keep the game interesting. You have the option to turn off swords completely, disable divekicks, turn on turbo or slow-motion mode, set time limits, give swords a boomerang effect, and more. These options add flavor to the already zesty game and opens up more creative matches.
Don’t be fooled by Nidhogg’s basic graphics, in a weird way, it works better than realistic/high-quality graphics would have. Not only are the visuals simple, the gameplay is simple enough for someone who never plays video games to grasp within the first few minutes. It doesn’t sacrifice the quality of the gameplay either. Using just one button to jump, one to attack and the pad or analog stick to move, Nighogg has tight controls that plays like a dream for casual and hardcore players.
This isn’t a game that can be described easily with words, it is just a must experience title if you enjoy competitive games. Although it doesn’t have the aesthetics of a blockbuster title and it only has four maps, Nidhogg is special in its own unique way. Next time you have a grudge to settle with a buddy, start up Nidhogg, stab each other in the game, scream expletives in reality and just have the time of your life.
Overall Score: 9 out of 10