We all love a good Viking game, and Atone Heart of the Elder Tree looks to shake things up by presenting Norse mythology in the form of a colourful, hand-drawn rhythm RPG game – a far cry from the survival hack-and-slash worlds of games like Valheim.
The brainchild of Wildboy Studios and Untold Tales, Atone Heart of the Elder Tree is described as a “hand-drawn, story driven, rhythm combat RPG” that “blends narrative, exploration, and music all into one special journey.”
You take the form of Estra, the daughter of humanity’s last righteous leader. With Midgard being completely abandoned by the heavens on high, Estra is left to protect the Elder Tree, a sacred site under siege from dark forces.
While violence is often a last resort (no Valheim combat here), when you do fight enemies it’s to the soaring melodic anthems of Australian musician Luminist, who provides the soundtrack that you’ll have to synchronize your movements with. Each fight has its own melody and combat is “inspired by the mechanics of games like Guitar Hero and Dance Dance Revolution.”
There are puzzle elements too, but you won’t just be able to keep trying over and over again them if you fail. If you make one wrong move, you could lose valuable information that, in turn, will alter how your journey plays out.
In the trailer we see our protagonist traversing a myriad of different environments, lamenting that “if I had taken just a moment to think, I would do so many things differently.” What those things are remains unknown, but luckily you can try out the demo right now on Steam.
As someone who loves all things Norse and spooky, this game looks right up my alleyway. I’ve never seen such beautifully animated combat scenes, and the in-depth lore system looks really well constructed. It’s a welcome respite from the ‘GAHHH’ hack and slash-style games that the Vikings have become associated with, and I really can’t wait to dive into a hand-drawn world that explores unique cultures instead of just bloodstained battlefields.
If you’re a lover of all things Nordic (check out my surname, I sure am) we have a full list of the best Viking games on PC, but if you’re feeling more serene we also have a rundown of the best rhythm games on PC to wile away the hours with.