Much like the two button fighting game, Divekick, Vikings on Trampolines is a game that manages to squeeze a ton of fun and depth out of the simplest of controls. It’s a 2D “bounce-em-up” game that is surprisingly self-explanatory: You are a Viking, you bounce off trampolines, and attempt to stay alive by avoiding the ground like it’s lava. It’s about as easy to pick up-and-play as a game can get, and based on my 15-20 minutes with an early build of the game, it’s a game that I definitely want to pick up and play much more of in the future.
The wild thing about Vikings on Trampolines is that it’s a game that’s played entirely with the control stick. Every level begins with you being dropped onto a trampoline, and from there you can only move left and right as you aim to land on another trampoline to keep yourself alive. You can hold down to drop faster, and you can hold up to slow your descent and give yourself a little flutter jump. And that’s about it. Those are all of the controls that you need to explain to someone who’s never played.
It’s the things that get between you and the life-saving trampolines that really make Vikings on Trampoline sing – whether that be other players, enemies that need to be bounced on and knocked out, or soccer balls that need to be smacked into the opposing goal. There was a ton of variety on display even in just the short demo that I got to play. The main attraction so far seems to be the adventure mode, which is fully playable both in solo and co-op, and pits you against a series of boss battles, challenges, and minigames. In one boss fight, we had to avoid getting crushed by a bird in a giant stone statue, timing our jumps so we could get above the statue to bounce on it when it stomped down.
In another, we had to precariously bounce on a constantly moving Viking ship, with trampolines that would slide along the deck as the ship got tossed by the waves, all the while trying to defeat a boss and his pet whale that will occasionally pop out from the water, and try to swallow the ship whole. It’s an incredibly dynamic boss fight, with the stage changing multiple times as the whale continues to progressively wreck the ship, causing it to eventually split in two with one half occasionally submerging, leaving us with only two trampolines to bounce off of as we tried to avoid falling ice blocks that would threaten to knock us off.
Beyond boss battles there was also a fun jump rope minigame, survival missions where we had to take on waves of enemies that would drop in from the sky, and there’s even a minigame that you can play on the world map that gives every player three balloons, Mario Kart style, and has you competing to be the last one standing as you try to bump your friends into the spike ridden edges of the map.
Vikings on Trampolines shines brightest in multiplayer, and in addition to playing adventure mode cooperatively, there’s also a competitive multiplayer mode for up to four players. I only got to play the simplest of maps, so it’s hard to say how wild things can get, but the addition of power ups certainly made for some chaotic fun. There’s an axe that immediately gets thrown towards the closest opponent and knocks them away if it hits; you can grab a hammer to increase your knockback power; a weight that makes you invincible, but causes you to bounce very low; and wings that let you fly up and avoid danger for a little while.
All in all, Vikings on Trampolines seems like a blast in the right environment. It remains to be seen if it sustain this level of variety throughout its whole campaign, or if the fun of multiplayer holds up in the solo experience, but in all other regards, Vikings on Trampolines has all the makings of an indie multiplayer darling along the same lines as Towerfall, Samurai Gunn and Overcooked.
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Author: Mitchell Saltzman