Jotun is a video game developed by Thunder Lotus Games. It was released for PC on September 29, 2015. The Wii U version releases today (September 8th, 2016) and PlayStation 4 and Xbox One gamers can get their hands on Jotun on September 9, 2016.
The story for Jotun is a simple one to say the least. You play the role of a Viking warrior named Thora who died an inglorious death and now is stuck in the equivalent to Norse Purgatory and must now impress the gods in order to move on to Valhalla by defeating the elementals known as Jotun.
Jotun is clearly all about the Boss (Jotun) battles. Each stage focuses more on exploration and slight puzzles to get through on your way to battle each Jotun, and the boss battles are the big payout at the end of each level. Thora is armed only with an axe the features two types of attacks, a quicker slight damage attack and a slower but increased damage attack to combat them with. Thankfully Thora can obtain powers from the gods if you seek them out to help along the way such as Frigg’s Healing, Heimdall’s Shield, Loki’s Decoy, Freya’s Speed, Thor’s Hammer, and Odin’s Spear. The bosses are MASSIVE on screen and can take multiple attempts to defeat even by the most skilled gamers.
Where this game truly impresses can be found in the animation and atmosphere Thunder Lotus Games have implemented throughout Jotun’s journey. Jotun features a hand drawn, frame by frame, art style reminiscent of cartoons from the good old days before everything relied so heavily on CGI. It really lends itself well to a story that features such a large scaled environment and boss characters. The voice acting for Jotun are 100% in Icelandic which supplies a more authentic flavor to the narrative. Don’t worry about missing out on the action, Jotun includes subtitles along the way if your Icelandic is a little rusty (like for me).
Levels are large in scale to deliberately show just how small Thora is compared to the surrounding environments. A favorite point in the journey, for both Jason and myself, was the below image which pulled back to reveal a massive Drago in the background. There are other similar moments throughout the game but we won’t spoil them for you as you need to experience them for yourself. The soundtrack found here is also well composed and enhanced my time with the game. The music of Jotun increases as the game reaches moments of action & tension and sombers when the gameplay relaxes; it was almost like having a live orchestra in a play type of experience.
Where the game lacks in my opinion was the movement of your character is a little slow, but that added to the challenge of the game. It is also a relatively short experience, I feel that was done as an almost homage to fairy tales, Jotun has a clear beginning, middle and end to its tale and like all great stories it will be one I will remember for quite some time.
Jason’s thoughts: Jotun is a game that I can only describe as an “experience”. What it lacks in total length, it more than makes up for in beauty and the lasting impression it leaves on its players. While the boss fights can be a trial in frustration, I never wanted to throw in the towel and felt a great sense of accomplishment with each successful victory. The hand-drawn animation is absolutely gorgeous and the music really makes you feel like you are taking part in an epic battle. I would gladly make this journey to Valhalla again any day.