(If you like what you see, go to camseyeview.biz to see more of my work. If you want to, consider supporting my Patreon on patreon.com/camseyeview. I was a backer to this game, but this will not change my opinion on the overall game.)
Shadow of the Colossus is one of the most heralded games of all time. Its design has bled into so many games that you would have to have a list of games that was 10 feet long. Some newer examples that come to mind are Dragon’s Dogma with how you can grab and climb giant monsters, Titan’s Soul since it’s just fighting giant bosses, Castlevania: Lords of Shadow with large bosses you can climb, and the upcoming Prey for the Gods has a lot of similarities to the PlayStation classic. So, should you be surprised that I am talking about a Shadow of the Colossus-style game in this review of Jotun? This is a top-down Legend of Zelda-style game with a lot of emphasis on fighting large bosses that launched on Kickstarter last year. I loved the idea and backed it instantly. I even got to play the game itself at a gaming event, and saw that my faith in this project was in good hands. It has a problem or two, but this is one of the best examples of good kickstarter video games, and one of the best indie games of 2015.
Jotun is about the tale of a female Viking named Thora. In an unfortunate event, Thora is killed in a less-than-honorable fight. She ends up needing to impress the Gods to get into Valhalla. So, what does she need to do to get into Valhalla? Why, kill Jotun of course! I mean, they are gigantic elemental beings that are hundreds of times bigger than you. It should be easy to take them down! The overall story of Thora is less about actual plot, but as you explore the different areas of the game, you will get little snippets of backstory about Thora. It’s more about the atmospheric experience, but I did find learning about Thora interesting.
Have you played The Legend of Zelda? What about Shadow of the Colossus? Well, Jotun is a mixture of both. The Legend of Zelda element comes into how the game is a top-down action adventure game where you explore these massive areas, gaining health power-ups and special abilities given to you by the gods, like healing, speed, protection, and so on. So, after you find said abilities, you go on the hunt. Well, you basically arrive into a huge arena and then go Shadow of the Colossus on the large boss. Sadly, you can’t climb onto the Jotun, but they will not be easy targets. This game is like Bloodborne where you need to basically dodge and attack. Each Jotun is varied in its attack patterns, and will make sure you die over and over again if you decide to tackle them head-on without a plan or any power-ups. The overall experience will take you about five hours. It might not be the longest game ever, but you will have such a memorable experience of satisfying combat and giant bosses.
Jotun is a beautiful looking game, with hand-drawn graphics. It looks like something by Genndy Tartakovsky. All of the designs are great, and while I did experience some slowdown, it’s a very fluid experience. The music is grand in scale, and atmospheric enough to engross you into the world of Jotun. If you loved the look of The Banner Saga, Bedlam, or any game with hand-drawn graphics, then you will love this game.
Jotun has some pretty big pros, but it has a few small cons that do bring the game down. I experienced some slowdown with the Cave Jotun, due to how many dwarves were on the screen and having to deal with them on top of the Jotun itself. I think if the main character had more combat moves that weren’t magical powers, it would be good. It doesn’t need to be Bayonetta-flashy, but it would have been nice if the melee combat wasn’t so limited. Not that this is a problem all the time, but it was something that irked me from time to time.
I might have had some minor problems with the game, but it didn’t ruin my experience with it. I love Jotun. It’s one of the best indie games I have played in a while. If you love top-down action games and giant bosses, then you owe it to Odin to get this game!
This game gets an 8 out of 10