Have you ever wanted to live like a Viking and take part in epic battles against giant creatures? Well, thanks to Iron Gate Studio and Coffee Stain Studios, you can. Valheim is a sandbox survival game that was released on the 2nd of February 2021 for both Windows and Linux. Using Unity as its primary [...]


Battle Your Way To Glory in Valheim


By Mahesh De Andrado

Have you ever wanted to live like a Viking and take part in epic battles against giant creatures? Well, thanks to Iron Gate Studio and Coffee Stain Studios, you can. Valheim is a sandbox survival game that was released on the 2nd of February 2021 for both Windows and Linux. Using Unity as its primary graphics engine, Valheim was developed by a team of 5 individuals,  and has thus far gotten a host of positive reviews from the likes of PC Gamer, Washington Post, and IGN Nordic.

What exactly is Valheim about?

Gathering from the developer’s Swedish roots, Valheim draws inspiration from the sea-faring Norse people known as Vikings. More specifically, it revolves around fallen Viking warriors who are taken to a world where they must prove themselves worthy to enter the hallowed halls of Valhalla. The world, of course, is Valheim.

As one such fallen warrior (either male or female), you find yourself in a forest populated with various birds, deer, boar and other forest dwelling animals. You also encounter creatures such as Greylings, Greydwarves, Trolls, Ghosts, Skeletal warriors, and peculiar creatures called “Necks”, whose meat you can use to cook a meal. Your guide is Hugin, a giant black raven that gives you various tips and snippets of advice as you progress along in Valheim. As you unlock new milestones and achievements, Hugin will appear and give you more advice.

Having entered Valheim, your first order of business as a newly-slain Viking is to seek shelter, food, and clothing. This can be done by punching trees for wood (while you can use a more logical method of an axe later on), and building a workbench. From there, you begin crafting relevant components needed. There is no player level per se, rather you unlock new skills and crafting abilities based on the material you find. For example, collecting wood will give you the ability to craft items that use wood. Creating bronze will allow you to craft bronze pickaxes, swords, shields, armor, etc.

All of this is required to defeat the Forsaken; evils that plague Valheim. These creatures are the sworn enemies of Odin, and to prove your worth and ascend to Valhalla, you must purge Valheim of these evils. Defeating each of these Forsaken or “bosses” gives you access to better tools, weapons, armor, and even certain abilities. There are 5 bosses at the time of writing;  Eikthyr, The Elder, Bonemass, Moder, and Yagluth.They each live within a specific biome. These biomes range from mountains and the Black Forest to swamps and plains.

While traversing these biomes, you will invariably level up your stats. Run long enough and you can level up your running stat. Punch something with enough force, and you can level up your melee stat. Similarly, attacking with a sword or mace, and blocking damage with a shield will level up those respective stats automatically. There’s no real need to assign skill points to a skill/stat making the game a tad easier to manage in terms of character development.

What’s it like to play Valheim?

Honestly, Valheim is actually a relaxing game to play, as long as you know what you’re doing. If you’re in an exploratory mood, you can launch your own server and explore to your heart’s content. But be warned, there will be things out there that will try to hurt you. But you can hurt them back. And if you’re feeling lonely, you can have upto a 10-player co-op session for some hearty multiplayer action.

The beauty of Valheim lies in the fact that the game is procedurally-generated. This means that the map is generated as you play. This in turn also means that the physical size of the game on your PC or laptop is relatively small. In fact, the game takes only around 1-1.2GB, which is ridiculously small compared to how big games are these days. But don’t let the small game file size fool you. The map in Valheim is just huge. The first thing you will notice are of course the graphics. Valheim’s procedurally-generated world is low poly. This means the game uses a low number of polygons to visualize an object such as a tree, or creature.

This means less load on your graphics card, leading to  smoother gameplay. Again, this doesn’t mean that the graphics look bad. In fact, taking into account how shadows move, the particle effects of fire and how gorgeous oceans and rivers look, not to mention that glorious sunrise, the whole thing has a very Minecraft feel to it, but with slightly better graphics and a truly calming soundtrack.

The environment is completely reactive to your actions. If you chop down trees in the forest, those trees will not grow back or respawn and you will be left with a barren stretch of land (so make absolutely sure of where you’re building your base). You can also choose to abstain from all this and just live a quiet, peaceful life among the creatures as well.

Creating your base or house can be done anyway you want to. After all, if you have the resources, it’s up to you to be the architect of your own house. Once you’ve gotten your 4 (or more) walls, a roof, doors and windows, you can begin decorating the insides of your house. You can make a functioning fireplace where you can cook, a workbench to craft items, a forge to smelt metals such as copper, tin, and bronze, and a bed to sleep on so you can get a good night’s rest (and trust me, you’ll need it). Once you have crafted all you need, you are ready to explore the world of Valheim.

You can mark locations of interest on your map and return to them later on. This is especially useful when you find caves and are too scared to go into them alone.

Throughout your exploration of Valheim, you will also find ancient seeds. Collect enough of these seeds and you can make an offering to challenge a boss that dwells in a particular biome.

Defeat them, and you will be richly rewarded. You can also use this opportunity of victory to strike a pose and show off your spoils to the world.

If you die, you lose all your equipment and your death location is marked by a tombstone. If you can figure out where you died, you can retrieve everything you lost, but so can other players. So if you’re playing on a common server, be warned. Each time you die, you also lose a portion of your stats. However, Valheim has a “no skill drain” effect that stops you from losing skills if you die again within 10 minutes of your first death. So try to stay alive as much as you can.


For a game that’s still in early access on Steam, Valheim has a lot to offer. The overall story is

simple and the gameplay is engaging. It’s also an important reminder that your actions have

consequences and that your choices can make or break a situation. If you are fairly well versed

in Norse mythology, you will recognize the runes and symbols that are scattered across the

world of Valheim, which only fueled my eagerness to play the game even more.

If you’re in the mood for a somewhat laid-back survival game, I would highly recommend

checking out Valheim. It’s easy on the PC, and easy on the eyes as well. Valheim is currently

available on Steam for $19.99.

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