Platforms: PSP (also PS3 compatible)
Developer: Frima Studio
Publisher: Frima Studio
Young Thor is a traditional side-scrolling platformer / beat ‘em up title. It follows the journey of Thor on his way to rescue four maidens from Hel, ruler of the Norse Underworld.
Combat is pleasingly simple and the lack of depth is hidden by the way you can attack enemies in different body parts for better effects. Numbers fly off enemies to indicate the damage done and when these numbers turn yellow, you know you’ve just discovered a weak spot. For example, the best way to deal with the tall trolls is to jump over them, turn around in mid-air and give them a crack to the back of the head. Another awesome attack is the ground pound where you shake the ground with a hammer blow from a jump, which lifts everyone up into the air for a bit of juggling. More standard moves include normal, strong, and lightning attacks which can also be charged by holding the button. Charing normal attacks results in a rising uppercut.
Enemies are traditional fare for this sort of title, namely goblins, trolls giant spiders, huge armoured knights howling banshees and undead warriors. Most of them can be quite troublesome in the later levels with their epic health reserves. If you are finding things a little tough you can always come back and get revenge later when you’re a bit stronger.
Under your health and magic bars you’ll find an experience bar. You can level up all the way to 99 and each time you do level up, you can instantly see how much stronger your attacks are thanks to the number indicators during combat. That’s about as complex as levelling up goes, there’s no stat tweaking but the game doesn’t need that at all. Keeping it simple works in its favour.
The game takes place in forests, caves, snowy cliffs, towns and even on rainbows. The four levels are considerably lengthened by the four variations each of them have. Each variation that is unlocked as you progress has different or tougher enemies and occasionally different routes on offer. The main reason for replaying them though is trying to find all the artefacts for Thor to wear, such as the helmet that gives him a double-jump, or better armour and stronger hammer attacks. Sometimes you may get sick of the sight of some levels, especially the one where you have to fight constant waves of enemies on a Viking ship. The fourth variation forces you to do this for over twenty minutes.
It can be a bit annoying finding the last few items as it’s not clear where they might be. On the level select screen it shows which levels you’ve picked up an item previously, others have a chest and some are blank. Sometimes when you finish a mission it says you found (for example) the gauntlets, but you don’t remember grabbing them and they’re not in your inventory. So be prepared to keep playing a level over and over until you accidentally stumble across them. On the plus side, you’ll be constantly levelling up for the later stages and bosses.
Boss fights aren’t too tough, well the first one is really easy against some sort of giant squirrel. The battle against a dragon will test your skills a bit more, but once you’ve worked out the attack patterns you’re sorted. You can even replay them for an experience points boost.
- Solid combat that somehow never really gets boring
- Precision attacks rewarded with better damage
- Good looking Minis title
- The four levels and their variations can feel a bit samey and repetitive
- Finding last few items can be frustrating
- Quite a lot of grinding required to face the last couple of level’s enemies
The Short Version: A fun title that will last for hours. It can get a bit repetitive playing the same levels trying to find all the required items and grinding to become strong enough for the later stages, but you’ll find yourself willing to plug away at it thanks to the tight combat and easy going nature. I’d definitely like to see this developed a little further though, perhaps into a PS3 version on PSN maybe?