When Vikings Attack hands-on Preview

Sony had a huge arsenal this year at the Electronic Entertainment Expo, featuring a lot of big franchises (God of War, LittleBigPlanet) as well as some newcomers that are likely to get some attention later this year (PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale).  But we shouldn’t forget the “little guys”, the sleeper titles that are bound to make an impact when they make their debut on the PlayStation Network.  Among these “sleepers” is a new game from Clever Beans called When Vikings Attack, and it has the potential to be a huge multiplayer success for both Sony and the developer alike.

Here’s how the game works.  In it, you don’t just control one person, but rather a mob of people.  These are pretty much ordinary folks who work their routine jobs, such as a plumber or a barber.  However, when marauding Vikings begin to infest their fair city, they have to band together to banish them, using whatever objects they can find – together, as a group.

So the game puts you in control of a mob, picking up everything from trash cans to vehicles to phone boots, which you in turn hurl at enemy Vikings, trying to take out as many as you can in one shot, or, in some instances, using trick shots off of walls to earn even more points.  The quicker you obliterate the Viking crews, the better you fare in the round.

When Vikings Attack sounds complicated, but it really isn’t.  Controlling a mob is quite simple, as you use the analog stick to move them around collectively, and hit buttons to pick up and hurl objects.  If someone from your group should be attacked, you can run over them to get them to rejoin your mob.  You’re still in the game until you run out of mob members, in which case you lose the round and have to start over.

The single player portion of When Vikings Attack offers plenty of challenges, including new Viking types that don’t go down so easily, but the real joy emerges in multiplayer.  Here, you’ll face off against fellow groups of your teams in a dodgeball-style event, where you have to dodge incoming objects while hurling your own to take them out of the picture.  Last team standing wins.  It’s an incredibly addictive versus experience that’s one of the best we’ve experienced from E3.

When Vikings Attack will also feature cross-play, so you can continue your single player journey – or compete against others – either with your PlayStation Network console or your PS Vita handheld.  The quality of the game appears on the same on both, with lively little animations, plenty of interesting locales around the city (take out someone near a church!) and a camera angle that really gives you a perfect view of the action, without anything getting in the way.

Don’t be surprised if When Vikings Attack becomes a huge party favorite on the PlayStation 3 and Vita later this year.  Clever Beans has really come up with something quite simple, and yet so innovative, to draw all sorts of players in.  Plus, it makes heroes out of everyday characters.  Who doesn’t like that?

Look for a review of When Vikings Attack shortly after its release.

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Robert Workman
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