Take the sci-fi gameplay of Doom, inject with a healthy dose of The Binding of Isaac-like narrative, and wrap it with a thick layer of Norse mythology, and you have Gunnhildr, the newest video game from indie developer RatDog Games based in Dartmouth, Massachusetts. The game recently launched into its Steam Early Access development phase with a $14.99 price tag, and with an accompanying gameplay trailer on RatDog’s YouTube channel.
Gunnhildr features fast-action first-person shooter gameplay, but as its Steam page description states, there are also elements of “roguelite mechanics”. You’ll be exploring the dynamic realm of Niflhel, complete with a multitude of different and challenging rooms, weapons, resource management, and permadeath. Throughout Early Access, the devs will be adding items to that list, along with polishing and fine-tuning gameplay aspects based on community feedback.
The narrative story supporting Gunnhildr’s gameplay is solid right out of the gate. You take on the role of Gunnhildr, living in a polluted and dying Niflheim due to the dwindling supply of the valuable resource Raw Halite. You petition the gods for help, but are rejected. You then challenge the gods in an attempt to win their respect, but you are defeated, declared “The Damnation of Niflheim,” and sent to Niflhel for all eternity.
While making your way through and out of Niflhel, you’ll collect halite and use it to power your shields and weapons, as well as use it to unlock treasures, and as currency at in-game shops. You’re also accompanied by a guide named Lucky, who “will regale you with different legends from Niflheim’s history.” These stories are more than just interesting backstory dialogue; it’s also to build “context for the world and your actions as you build up your rebellion against the Primes.”
RatDog devs state they are currently expecting Gunnhildr’s full official release to happen sometime in 2021, but not before “both our team and community are happy with the project as a whole.” They also expect the game’s price to increase slightly with each major Early Access update, so if you’re interested in trying the game out, now would be a good time to get in.
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