Top Critic Average
As a singleplayer game, rushing towards completing its series of AI fights at faster and faster speeds is a pleasing diversion, sustained by the AI which seems as silly and quirky as any person. As a multiplayer game, it's destined to be brought out late at night, whenever you've got friends around. Don't worry, you'll say. Nidhogg is easy to explain.
Expressed in modest trappings, Nidhogg quietly aims to recast the mold of a competitive fighting game. A deliberate lo-fi aesthetic and input limited to the absolute basics cleverly mask engagement as hardcore and contemplative as any of its peers. By opening its boundaries past the usual static fighting arena, Nidhogg transforms from another one-on-one fighter into something more akin to a goal-oriented sport. It's a fighting game simplified without feeling dumb, a multi-staged combat arena with no particular advantages, and as much a battle of wits as an all-out brawler. Nidhogg is an almost-perfect competitive game.
So what we have here is a future-classic, old-school indie title for individuals and like-minded folk alike. The visuals are retro but work, the soundtrack by Daedelus is dynamic and ever-changing in tune with the onscreen action. The code is so precise the fighting is always balanced and true to your inputs - whether that is a disarm, throw of your knife and preference for fisticuffs, or a straight thrust to the chest (with a little wiggle up and down for that achievement) - that the result is always joy, whether you win or lose. Some might question the idea of paying for a game that's been available free in one form or another for a few years. The riposte to that is that the game is worth it. The developer deserves to be rewarded and this is the best version of the game you could ask for - tournament mode on the living room TV with joypads is, well, quite exquisite.
Nidhogg is yet more proof that a simple concept with a simple goal can work, and work well. In a way, it reminds me of a Super Smash Brothers Melee tournament; simple combat and pure competition, that's what makes Nidhogg so amazing.
Besides, there are worse things in life than being encouraged to get your money's worth from Nidhogg; to put the TV somewhere everyone can see it, to get some pads linked up and throw a local multiplayer party. Rounds of Starwhal: Just the Tip and Samurai Gunn, leading up to a Nidhogg tournament? That evening would be priceless.
To put it plainly, Nidhogg is incredibly fun. If you can appreciate the game's style for what it is and you don't have an ego as fragile as glass, you'll delight in testing your mettle against another's. And even if you lose, at least you didn't get eaten by some horrible beast.
Once you play either [Nidhogg or Samurai Gunn] for two minutes, you're going to want as wide a library as possible of games in a similar style, and you can believe that's the sincerest compliment my brain contains.
As the years go by, opportunities to shout expletives into the face of someone you call your "friend" become less and less frequent. Nidhogg brings that joy back into your life.
Nidhogg is fundamentally about that laughter; not the happy laughter you give to a good joke, but the manic and true laughter you use to break down walls in yourself. I think that laughter is why some people fight. I know it's why I play Nidhogg.
Nidhogg is definitely a blast if you have a few friends around, and it's easy to see why it has been hyped up over the last few years. It does what it sets out to do, providing plenty of thrills and laughs in the process. But if you don't have any buddies nearby who would be into swordfights, it's worth holding off until the online becomes more stable.
A superb multiplayer game with some of the best virtual sword-fighting ever seen, giving you the best reason to crowd round a PC since a kitten did something cute on YouTube.
You might want to stay away if you plan to play alone, but with its extremely responsive controls, lightning-fast pace, and easy-to-learn combat, Nidhogg is one of the most enjoyable and competitive local multiplayer games on the market.
From the wonderful 8-bit graphics (they move so LIFELIKE THOUGH), to the music by Daedelus, there are many maps, tournament styled gameplay, and special settings to really make the game your own in this quirky little indie gem from Messhof.
On top of this the local multiplayer is cracking but the online component doesn't come across nearly as well. Poor net code means bouts can often suffer fits of lag that can massively affect the outcome of a game, and a lack of options means this is pretty barebones. Still, despite the small niggles this is one game that is more than worth your time.
Nidhogg is a strange, unholy pastiche of lo-fi aesthetics and surprisingly deep, albeit minimal play; taking cues from decades of arcade-style 1v1 fighting games and modern indie darlings.
Nidhogg is a bit of a one trick pony in the gameplay department. It dresses up the idea of this running sword fight with a number of level modifiers, multiplayer modes, local tournaments matches and the single-player campaign; however, at the end of the day everything comes down to winning the virtual sword fights.
If you engage in regular local multiplayer with friends or family, then this is a no-brainer. Chip in a couple of quid each and you've got yourself a lovely little party title. But it's a bright-burner with a short wick, and you'll have to decide for yourself if that's worth a tenner.
Under the right circumstances, Messhof has established a new and shocking blood sport that'll captivate audiences and players alike. At home, by yourself and frustrated by searching for a multiplayer opponent, you might tear your own heart out.