Land of the Vikings Preview


Land of the Vikings by developer Laps Games and publisher Iceberg Interactive—PC (Steam) preview written by Susan N. with a copy provided by the publisher.

Estimated reading time: 9 minutes


Laps Games delivers a beautiful game in Land of the Vikings, a new relaxing colony builder. You begin the game with a nice fertile plot of land where you can grow crops, set up warehouses, and erect lodging for the people. Unlike most colony-building games that rely on the simple expansion of people, Vikings adds an element of conquest on top of that. While it is not without its flaws, the title has a lot of promise as it progresses through the early access phase of its development.

Gameplay

Like most colony builders, you can expect that it has expansion elements capabilities, resource management, and financial management. However, what makes Vikings unique revolves around two key features: the ability to create an army in search of conquest and surviving the harsh environment while choosing the outcome of conflicts between your people - which will be covered in the next section.
Aside from that, you can explore the surrounding area for the perfect location to settle with different mountains that are rich with resources to plunder. The area will have fertile ground perfect for hunting and foraging. Plus, expanding onto the sea will yield plentiful resources and allow for trade agreements that can boost your civilization.

That said, outside of keeping an eye on storage space, adequate lodging, and total coin on hand, there are other aspects of the game that are interesting. For one thing, you're able to decorate the colony with statues and shrines which actually provide a benefit beyond happiness augments. When adding beautification for your Vikings, placing crates will increase storage space by a small amount while other decorations boost Viking productivity or morale!


Harsh Environments and Viking Conflicts

Without touching on these two elements in great detail, Land of the Vikings has plenty of challenges for you to deal with. The first is the harsh environment colonists endure. People often die from starvation, lack of heat, or homelessness. Specifically, Vikings have to deal with fierce thunderstorms which can burn down buildings at random. You have the option to either rebuild (at the full cost of the original construction) or demolish the building.

This, in itself, is particularly challenging to the gameplay loop as those are expected issues. The part that makes Vikings interesting is the conflict popups between colonists. Often you receive three choices which include kicking a person from the colony, having them compensate the others, or forgiving them. In other cases, you might need to choose between sacrificing animals, donating money, asking villagers to help, or abstaining from a resolution of any kind.

Between the thunderstorms that can halt expansion efforts and the conflicts produced by a growing populace, Land of the Vikings can hold its own among other games in its genre.


UI and Graphics

One of the main gripes I have about Land of the Vikings is UI details that are critical for gameplay. For example, once players build the training facility they need to assign people to train. The issue with the UI is that the building itself doesn't need the resources physically present, nor does it need citizens to transport anything to the building for storage. While the Land of the Vikings removes the micromanaging requirement that is expected, it fails to display how many of your resources are on hand without opening the resource tab. It may be minor to most, but I actually thought this was going to be a fatal flaw.

Another small issue with the Land of the Vikings is the constant need to assign trees to demolish. Unlike other simulation games that allow you to assign specific areas for planting and demolishing trees, this game requires constant micromanagement. Perhaps the only saving grace is that trees regrow quickly and on their own. Having to assign the demolishing of individual trees is painful. Removing one irritating management aspect to replace it with another was not a great decision, in my opinion.

Aside from those problematic UI elements, the graphics and UI design are wonderful. The UI doesn't overly clutter the screen and each popup box can be opened and closed at will. Zooming in on individual buildings will show a great deal of detail on the structures and the people. What is neat about the Land of the Vikings is that most of the colonists don't look too similar to each other! Each character model is unique enough without feeling like they're carbon copies.


Grow Your Viking Colony in the Skill Tree!


As this is the Land of the Vikings, it's no surprise that the skill tree would be shaped like a tree. Each large branch has skills that are divided into the following sections: Trade, Military, and Colony. Any perks gained from the core part of the tree help fortify the colony itself by increasing production, speed boosts, or happiness levels. It will give access to certain buildings required to advance through objectives. One of the branches will boost or unlock the ability to trade with other colonies. The other side covers military building unlocks and upgrades.

Pros

The Land of the Vikings has a fantastic foundation to solidify its place in the colony builder genre. It has a number of handy elements that ensure the colony's survival like clean UI windows, random conflicts to challenge you, and army management. While the addition of conflicts increases the complexity of the game, it is further engaging by obfuscating the skill tree behind a fog of war. You will have to plan accordingly in order to fulfill objectives, which adds to the fun.


Additionally, the Land of the Vikings is a visually stunning game. The weather effects are realistic as they aren't instantaneous. For example, the snow gradually sticks to the ground as the season changes.


Cons

While no game is truly flawless, Land of the Vikings has a few small problems that may need addressing. Other than the items listed previously, another minor issue is the need to micromanage harvesting crops. While I understand that there are certain micromanagement aspects of colony builders that people dislike, requiring players to manually harvest basic crops is a pain in the ass. Why bother assigning people to the building if they can't perform a basic task? Why is it that the training facility no longer requires micromanagement of its supplies where the farming ones need attention? Please make it make sense!

The final issue with Land of the Vikings is the inability to upgrade one house to a better house. In order to get a better house, you must first demolish one building and then erect the better one!

Final Thoughts

Land of Vikings is a great colony builder, despite my minor grievances. It has a solid foundation as a colony builder because it has everything including military conquest. The game is incredibly well-polished and it is a great game to play, even in its early access state!


Anyone interested in the colony builder genre would not be disappointed with this one!


Score: N/A
 


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