Review: Jotun: Valhalla Edition (PlayStation 4)

Jotun: Valhalla Edition: Official GBAtemp Review

PlayStation 4 4,165 views 3 likes 7 comments
Reviewed by Raven Wilk, posted Sep 21, 2016, last updated Apr 18, 2018
Jotun’s old kickstarter page claimed gameplay is a combination of Zelda and Dark Souls, both series I quite adore. While Jotun can’t quite be said to be either, the difficulty greatly pleased my masochistic side.
Sep 21, 2016
  • Release Date (NA): September 9, 2016
  • Release Date (EU): September 9, 2016
  • Release Date (JP): September 9, 2016
  • Publisher: Thunder Lotus Games
  • Developer: Thunder Lotus Games
  • Genres: Action
  • ESRB Rating: Teen
  • PEGI Rating: Twelve years and older
  • Also For: Computer, Nintendo Wii U, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One
  • Single player
    Local Multiplayer
    Online Multiplayer
After leading a life of glory, viking Thora finds herself suffering an inglorious death. Granted a second chance by Odin, she hunts down the five Jotun.
Raven Wilk

Originally kickstarted in 2014 and released on Steam in 2015, Jotun now finds itself on consoles with a new feature to mark the occasion; “Valhalla Mode”. Steeped in Norse mythology, with inspiration drawn from the likes of Dark Souls, Legend of Zelda, and Shadow of the Colossus, Jotun follows Thora’s attempt to gain favour with the gods by fighting against giants.

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Inspiration from Dark Souls in particular stands out despite a top down perspective, as both axe swings and rolling have a notable delay to them. Thora’s axe has weak attacks and heavy charged attacks. As for rolling, a lack of invincibility frames makes it most useful for spacing but it almost feels overshadowed by Thora’s normal running at times, acting only as an effective means of canceling out of attacks. However Thora gains more tricks up her non existent viking sleeves as god powers found in levels help spice things up. These powers have temporary effects and limited uses which vary from healing, to defending, to buffing axe damage, to offensive spells. Levels have nice variety with each area feeling unique, serving mostly as a sense of ambience to the world Thora finds herself in. Each of these levels hold a health increase, god powers, and the objective to obtain runes to access fights with Jotuns. With the exception of the starting area, levels can be accessed and played in any order from Ginnungagap, the hub area.

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Fighting the Jotun is a highlight of the game, which each of the five truly feeling unique to each other. While they start simple and ease you into their basic attacks, decreasing a Jotun’s health will make them slowly change and switch up attacks, making for quite a delightful challenge.
At this point I would be remiss in not bringing up the new “Valhalla mode”. While originally a met stretch goal for “new game plus”, it would be more accurate to call “Valhalla mode” a boss rush mode. Unlocked upon beating the main story, you’re thrust back into Ginnungagap with harder, healthier Jotun with more brutal movesets. Levels are removed in this mode, but fortunately you start with increased health and all god powers from the very beginning. Once again, Jotun can be faced in any order you desire.

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It’s hard to deny the stunning aesthetics, with hand drawn sprites which make for a game that looks very reminiscent of a cartoon in motion, and the smooth animations of the game running at 60fps are a treat to watch. Music serves mostly as ambiance and the Icelandic voice acting, while not identical to old Norse dialect, is a nice touch.

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Jotun is a game that fills you with wonder before it crushes your spirits with overwhelming boss fights. While by no means a long game it certainly is an enjoyable one.​


+ Unabashedly difficult
+ Hand drawn sprites that in motion have an almost cartoon aesthetic
+ Truly atmospheric
- Thora’s sprite can get a little too small on screen
- Boss difficulty may require some patience
9 Presentation
Looks like a cartoon and manages to nail atmosphere down nicely, with it’s levels, music, and solid voice acting.
8 Gameplay
Offers a nice range of variety with each level playing slightly different to one another, as well as that variety carrying over to battles with the mighty Jotun.
5 Lasting Appeal
Fairly short at approximate 5 hours to beat the main adventure, with the new Valhalla Mode adding more time if you’re willing to take down the powered up Jotun.
out of 10
Overall (not an average)
Jotun is the very definition of short and sweet. Offering level and boss variety with well animated hand drawn sprites in a challenging, albeit short package.

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