I love a good adventure game. I also enjoy a story involving Norse gods and early twentieth century Americana. Which is why I jumped at the chance to back Norse Noir: Loki’s Exile. A little bit over a year and some change ago the game got funded on Kickstarter and a new nearly complete build has been issued to backers at the beta tier and above. Obviously, I got my hands on a copy and with the blessing of the people at Kreativespill I decided that it’s a good time to take a look at the current state of the game from a player’s viewpoint.
First off, Norse Noir follows a currently hard on his luck Norwegian immigrant coming to the States to be a famous magician. Things didn’t pan out for our intrepid Lars and as of the beginning of the game he owes a sizable sum to a trio of sister loan sharks known as the Swahns (Sheila’s my absolute favorite with her foul mouth and bad temper). I guess they were feeling generous because they give him a total of three days to come up with the money or he’ll be wearing cement shoes. Sounds like fun.
I didn’t play through the full game, maybe less than half of the whole experience, but I wanted to get enough in to get a feel for the current progress. I know that Lars is the trickster god Loki, and I’m almost certain that his muscle-headed buddy Remy is Thor, but I couldn’t get far enough to see the Valhalla content. That said, what I did see is pretty impressive for the current state. I might try to get to the end, but I do want to be surprised when the final release is ready. I don’t want to spoil too much.
The backer only update announcing the build mentioned that there was still a fair amount of polish missing, particularly in regards to animation and some storyboard inspired cutscenes; and I can confirm that, but even with needing a few more passes I enjoyed everything. Having the voice work finally in Norse Noir most certainly ties things together and some of the characters I really dig. Other things that need work are some spelling and grammar issues and not all lines are spoken yet.
Despite being in a beta state a lot of the game is already there. Sure, I got stuck on some puzzles and I’m finding one particularly frustrating, but that’s pretty much par for the course with adventure games. At the very least the amount of “moon logic” is kept to a minimal of the sections that I’ve seen thus far. The artwork looks rough, but the design could be intentional, giving off a more rustic turn-of-the-century vibe. I actually do kinda like it the way it is and whether or not it gets another pass remains to be seen. I also really loved seeing backer portraits finally in the game.
There might be another build around the corner or this could be finalized just to whet our whistles until the final release, but I do have to say that Norse Noir is shaping up to be quite the adventure experience and one that I very much intend to enjoy to the fullest. And, for the record, I thoroughly enjoyed being an ass and pissing everyone off. Even those who wanted Lars’ hide.