Imagine yourself in a Zelda inspired world of exploration and mystery armed only with a shield for your adventure and you’ve got Skjoldur Story. A game of discovery and dungeon conquering on your path to slaying the source of evil in the otherwise whimsical world that has been overtaken.
As lightning strikes in the opening scenes players enter a world of bird like creatures who are seemingly living out a happy existence until an evil source corrupts everyday fauna around them. Transforming the countryside you’ll find slimes, cactus, mushrooms and all manner of other deadly evil forces that seem intent on attacking the player and stopping your journey of salvation for the various islands.
Gifted at the start of your adventure with a magical shield from a rune shrine this is your only friend and weapon for the adventure ahead in Skjoldur Story. While it might seem weak in comparison to the foes you face you’ll quickly realise it is infinitely powerful with the ability to not only block and bash but also steal the attacks of every enemy that you encounter for a limited period of time.
Acquiring this shield is just the first of many Steam achievements on your path to saving the world though and the useful in game map is invaluable in this regard with players easily able to track their location, any chests or other secrets that they have not fully explored and teleport to key locations. Gone are the Zelda days where you’ll have to use your memory to track all your unsolved mysteries with this map mechanic saving significant mental burden and ideal for the completionist who can always look back at their path and reaffirm they haven’t missed anything along the way.
Your ultimate objective Skjoldur Story is to locate the various dungeons, unlock them (through runestone like items) and defeat the dungeons to save the island. This is no easy task in Skjoldur Story though with a multitude of enemies and puzzles between you and the chests that hide the necessary runes. Enemies are highly diverse with the early portions of the game predominately inhabited by slimes and boomerang throwing bandits before progression to jumping cactus, turtle like spinning creatures, poison gas cloud mushrooms and beyond. Each of these enemies requires its own tactics and movement patterns to overcome so variety is quite high and this variation also carries over to puzzle design.
Environmental puzzles are what you’ll find as you travel the land with a focus on obtaining particular attacks from enemies to move or destroy block types, activating switches to clear paths and even dragging special creatures across multiple map chunks. These puzzles are not easy either and its non linear design means your path to progression is likely to be vastly different from another player although all dungeons must be cleared before the final challenge.
Along the way Skjoldur Story hides a number of secrets waiting to be discovered and also upgrades from various shopkeepers scattered across the islands to upgrade your available health pool, purchase a teleport repair or a character buff like speed or shield attack. On the topic of health you’ll find death a regular occurrence while exploring with your limited number of heart damage points adding to the sense of game difficulty with death returning you to the centre of the island or the dungeon start and having to repeat the puzzle actions and journey again. Exiting the game also acts in a similar way so players must beware not to quit in the middle of a puzzle sequence.
The only obvious negative along this adventure that you’ll no doubt encounter is the control scheme that takes some retraining of what you might expect. While the controls are simple enough to grasp it will take some mental retraining once you realise shield blocking doesn’t protect you from physical contact with an enemy and it’s designed solely to block projectiles. The other control element that will likely cause some frustration is the four directions your hero can face while projectiles come from all angles and can often side swipe your character even in their blocking mode if coming from a slight angle.
These frustrations aside (which will happen less overtime with gameplay as you train yourself to understand these limitations) Skjoldur Story is a delightful adventure of exploration and puzzle solving supported through fantastic visual and audio presentation.
- Explore a Zelda inspired universe of puzzles and exploration across varied island biomes with their own challenges.
- Use your shield to block projectiles and steal the powers of the enemies you face to use in combat or puzzle solving.
- A non linear game world that allows you flexibility in the order you undertake to solve puzzles.
- Upgrade your health, speed and abilities with coins dropped from enemies.
- Countless hidden areas lie in wait for the dedicated completionist with a game map to help you keep track.
Review Platform: PC