Preview code used with many thanks to HomeRun PR.
Land of the Vikings is a survival strategy game developed by Laps Games and published by Iceberg Interactive. It has been released on early access on Steam; I’ve spent some time trying to keep my Vikings alive and fed against the harsh and deadly cold of the winter season.
A Wise Jarl
In Land of the Vikings, you play as a wise Jarl tasked with building a settlement. You start by collecting wood and stone and making a few houses for your villagers. Your villagers will chop trees, plant and grow crops, hunt wildlife, and mine ore and fish from the surrounding seas and fjords.
On a gridless map, you’ll build woodcutters, a stone quarry, a market, and other buildings. The more basic materials your villagers need can mostly be made from wood and stone. But some will need more refined resources such as dressed stone and timber planks which stonecutters and carpenter’s process.
All buildings need to be staffed with villagers. This is where each of your villagers’ stats and abilities come into play. Each villager has 20+ characteristics such as luck, strength, speed and intelligence. So, you have to choose wisely who you give a position to. There isn’t any point in employing a weak woodcutter when they need to be strong for the job.
You must keep your villagers happy by providing them with homes. Newcomers to your village will request to join your settlement or you can choose to send them away if you don’t have enough resources or let them stay.
By building a market, you can earn silver, and it’s used for buying resources from other settlements. Silver is also used to build roads which increase the walking speed of your villagers.
You can unlock new buildings and bonuses by spending Fame points at the Yggdrasil, the Tree of Life, to advance your settlement. You collect fame as you play Land of the Vikings. Fame is an indication of how famous and significant your settlement is. Fame increases by the number of villagers you have in your settlement and with random events and their consequences.
Events can happen anytime; I had quite a few earthquakes and lightning strikes, one after the other, that damaged buildings in my settlement. In addition, you will have to deal with snow blizzards, and plenty of cold weather in winter, which are just a few other weather-related events. The game would benefit from a disaster slider the player can control, as the frequency of the earthquakes seems a little overzealous.
There are four seasons and a day and night cycle. So, if the winter season arrives, you’ll need to have stocked up on food and supplies for your villagers, or they will start to die.
Lagging and Bugs
I’m afraid, things could be much better in the Land of the Vikings. I encountered more than a few problems and bugs while playing the game. For a start, when I first loaded the game up, it ran like a wet potato.
I couldn’t see the game as it was really dark. I had to up the brightness settings, which are fine with every other game I play and usually don’t need to be adjusted. In addition, the game was extremely laggy, and even my mouse cursor was dragging across the screen; it was so bad I couldn’t even press anything on the UI.
My laptop has more than the recommended requirements to run the game, and finally, after fiddling with my graphics card and other settings, I finally got it to run.
In addition, once the game ran, it could still look better; the art style looks outdated. I’ve also seen better and more intuitive and responsive UI. Unfortunately, most of the time, it didn’t register that I had clicked on the UI, making the game a frustrating experience to play.
The games AI could also do with a lot of work. My villagers constantly complained they were hungry, yet I had plenty of food for them to eat. Additionally, the larger my settlement grew, the crazier the AI seemed to behave, resulting in my villagers walking around aimlessly instead of doing their allocated tasks and starving themselves to death.
I get vibes of Banished and Patron from the game. Underneath the bugs in Land of the Vikings, there could be a brilliant survival game. But as it is now it is hard to tell. Unfortunately, I can’t recommend you buy it at least wait for 6 months and it might be in better shape. If you are interested in the Land of the Vikings, here’s a link to the Steam page where you can wishlist the game.