Valheim came out of nowhere. The survival game that released in February this year set the world ablaze, selling more than six million copies on steam in less than two months.
Now, as someone who generally hates the survival game genre, I took it with a pinch of salt when a friend I play a lot of games with told me that he spent the entire weekend lost in a fake viking paradise.
However, thanks to burnout from my usual games, and seeing that it cost just under $20, I said screw it and made the purchase.
Let’s just say that I spent the better part of the last month and a half completely lost in Iron Gate Studios’ appealing virtual world.
I’m finally getting a chance to write about Valheim because I haven’t played in a week or so. That’s not the game’s fault, but more because the main group of friends I’ve explored my persistent server’s world with can’t seem to find a good time that fits all of our schedules.
We’re at the point where we’re ready to face the final boss, and that’s where we’re stuck in limbo.
For some reason, though, I don’t feel as big a sense of anxiety or pressure to kill that last boss. I think that’s what’s so brilliant about the game’s design.
In fact, after spending just over 160 hours venturing through the different available biomes, I feel like I’ve gotten more than my money’s worth.
Valheim got me enjoying a lot of things that I normally dislike in video games. Amongst our group of four friends, I became our town’s farmer, builder, and cook.
Instead of hating these tasks, I found them oddly soothing, especially building. Something about the simple-yet-robust building system within the game always gave a sense of achievement.
There are thousands of villages and homes that look better than the ones that I’ve built, but I still maintain a sense of pride about the seaside town that’s become our main base of operations.
I also found it relaxing to take all of the materials that everyone else gathered and use them to create the food and potions that powered us through the first four boss battles and all of our exploring.
The game also inspired my other friends to really get into the spirit of collaboration. We had one guy who took on the job of mining and providing us all of the ore for our armour and weapons, while another became our explorer who would set up forward portals that the rest of us could then go through to build our newer, smaller bases.
At the moment, I wouldn’t say I’m burnt out, but I’m certainly all right with taking a short break from Valheim. I still keep the server up, in case the others want to do more exploring, but I know that we’ll eventually kill that boss.
Funnily enough, once that happens, I think I might just start a brand new world, one that hasn’t yet unlocked all of the base invasion events that come after killing the game’s bosses.
Why, you might ask? Because I want to really focus on building my idyllic seaside base without being disturbed by anything. Before I bought Valheim, I wouldn’t have believed you if you told me that this game would turn me into a construction fan.
For now, I just want to build my castle.