Review: Nidhogg by Messhof

nidhogg screenshot - chandelier
Review: Nidhogg by Messhof

Platforms: Windows PC, Steam

Game Name: Nidhogg

Publisher: Messhof

Developer: Messhof

Genre: Action, Sports

Release Date: January 13th, 2014

Nidhogg: What We Think

Everyone loves a good sword fight. One of the most thrilling aspects of spectacle films like Star Wars and The Princess Bride were the sabre battles and fencing duels. Many recent games have tried to emulate 1v1 realism in swordplay. Others, like like Chivalry and Dark Souls, lean towards a more action-packed or methodical approach. Nidhogg, however, is a pick-up-and-play tug-of-war dueling game that serves as a casual title, and one that can be brought out for a good time in the company of friends.

nidhogg screenshot - dojo
I will fight you along this platform! En garde!

I Stab At Thee

Nidhogg has simple controls, a plain objective, but deceptively subtle gameplay. The core idea is to score a kill and then make a mad dash for your opponent’s side of the screen. If, while making your rush, the opposing player strikes you down, he is then allowed to run the other way, trying to make it across the landscape to his goal. This back and forth continues until a player makes it three screens past the middle ground to claim victory.

nidhogg screenshot - lake
Hunh hunh! I will duel you along this soothing lake bed! En garde!

To the Death? No! To The Pain!

The swordplay is essentially classic fencing: Your basic move sets are striking high, middle or low with your thrusting sword, sweeping kicks, or even a dive kick. Sword attacks are repelled when blade meets blade at the same height. But even so, you must take care to not impale yourself on a weapon held at the ready, for any contact with your opponent’s sword will prove fatal, whether he attacked with it or not.

Finally, you can toss your sword to catch an opponent by surprise and while a ranged attack seems like a perfect tactic, it will leave you weaponless.

There are a few more subtle maneuvers you can pull off. For example, you can tuck and roll to move in just under your foe’s blade, fire off a sweep kick, and then reach down to snap his neck. Or you can cartwheel and maintain some momentum as you lunge for a quick stab.

nidhogg screenshot - chandelier
You cannot defeat me upon this gigantic swinging chandeLIER! En Garde!

So how does it all come together? It’s incredibly fast-paced; the main battle will be fought not with your swords, but with your wits – with so many ways to sneak past an opponent blocking your way, you need to be one step ahead of them. Whoever has the edge (if you’ll pardon the pun) or the right to scroll the screen closer to their goal, needs to decide at each turn how to get past their warden. That is where the fun of Nidhogg lies.

Make Mine Mines

Of the 4 stages, I preferred the mines, mainly because there is a segment therein where you are forced to 1v1 your opponent with no jumping or sword-tossing. The castle and forest are fairly straightforward. The clouds, however, are crazy bright neon pink psychedelic hue with bridges that disintegrate when stood on, and it’s very hard to see. While they’re all laid out very well, it’s just too hard to concentrate with the overly bright colors in the clouds.

nidhogg screenshot - brightly colored background
Mine eyes! They art burning! En garde!

Nidhogg All The Glory

I enjoy it. Everyone I play with ends up laughing and yelling with glee as we vie for the edge. But be aware that there are just four small arenas on offer, and the price tag feels a little steep for what it is. That said, I would highly recommend it to anyone looking for something to play while you chew the fat with friends.

Get Nidhogg on Steam

[xrr rating=”4/5″]

Watch the release trailer for Nidhogg: