Jotun is one of those excellent indie games that just makes you realize how lucky we are to live in a gaming world where it’s not only the AAA titles that rise to the top. Originally released to acclaim back in 2015, the Viking tale is now making its way to the Nintendo Switch (like so many Indies) this week. The Switch version is called “Valhalla Edition” because it also includes a boss-rush mode where the five titular Jotun are even harder than normal – sort of an “elite” difficulty mode, adding some much-needed replay value to the 5-6 hour adventure. It works to make an already great game greater – this is our Jotun: Valhalla Edition review for the Nintendo Switch.
If you’ve never played Jotun before, it’s kind of a Dark Souls-esque experience, but not nearly as punishing or difficult. Most of the game’s adventure is spent exploring the realms of the Jotun, learning what sort of dangers are there, and then facing off against all of said dangers at once in a massive climactic boss fight. You play the excellently strong Viking heroine Thora, a Viking warrior who died an inglorious death and must prove herself to the Gods to enter Valhalla. So you go through all of their realms, earn their powers, and actually fight the Jotun to impress the gods and make your way to Viking heaven.
It’s not a long game – about 5-6 hours total – but worth every penny at the low cost of $15. I wouldn’t say there’s a ton of replay value, except in speedruns, which happens to be what the Valhalla mode is all about. The boss fights in Jotun are excellent to begin with, with just the right degree of difficulty and learned gameplay mechanics providing all the knowledge you need to beat the giants. But Valhalla mode kicks things up a notch, making them harder in more ways than one, and giving players who loved the game a reason to try it again on the Switch.
It doesn’t hurt that Jotun is an absolutely gorgeously drawn adventure – reminiscent of Bakshi movies of the 70s. While its sound is simple, its music is excellent, and the hand-drawn animation of the Norse mythos is just plain gorgeous to behold. Jotun: Valhalla Edition may not be the longest game, but at a nice $15 price for a solid 5-hour experience, it’s more than recommended. If you’ve played it before on other platforms, it may not do much new that begs you to buy it again, but if you’re looking for an excellent adventure on the Switch you could do a whole lot worse.