The Horrible Vikings ($1.99) is one of the most entertaining iPhone games I’ve had the pleasure of playing. Its main gameplay mechanic, piloting a human cannonball of a Viking as he plows into enemies and gold, isn’t exactly a novel concept, but the personality with which the game attacks the premise is so strong that it becomes difficult to put down.
The premise is actually a bit sillier than my explanation lets on. The Horrible Vikings actually has you fighting a war with ninjas to steal their princess. Once you kidnap her, you apparently ransom her back to the ninjas only to steal her again. It’s this sense of silly humor that drives The Horrible Vikings to such great heights.
Even the game’s shop goes for laughs. The description for an invulnerability potion reads in part, “Do I really need to give you the hard sell on an item this awesome?” It’s quite refreshing to see a game with real humor and personality.
The gameplay itself is enjoyable as well. There are numerous (and varying) levels to fling yourself through, requiring you to use a different approach or gameplay skill, so proceedings don’t get stale. The shop, where you’ll pick up power-ups -- and eventually, a bigger ship to go onto more advanced worlds, is a nice touch. Even without it the game, would be a fun play on its own merits.
Graphically, The Horrible Vikings isn’t too shabby either. The app features an excellent use of colors that makes it feel very bright. The characters’ animation is similar to an odd-ball Nickelodeon cartoon and the backgrounds of levels are reminiscent of “Yoshi’s Island” on the Super Nintendo; vibrant and seemingly coming out of the screen, though without the actual 2.5D elements.
All of this adds up to a definite buy for any iPhone game enthusiast. If you enjoy unique, amusing adventure titles that you can pick up and play almost instantly, The Horrible Vikings warrants an immediate look.