At its core, Jotun can be seen as the other side of the same coin as Dust: An Elysian Tale. Both succeeded thanks to crowd funding, both focus upon rapid combat against countless foes, and both retain a very distinct hand-drawn artistic style. The difference here is that Jotun opts less for the high flying, rapid attacks seen in Devil May Cry in favour of a more methodical Dark Souls approach.
Immersed in Norse mythology, you play as Thora, whose life as a warrior comes to an inglorious end as she is drowned beneath the sea. Thanks to her unfortunate fate, she is promptly tasked with impressing the gods and earning her place in Valhalla. Unfortunately for her, this means hunting down and slaying the legendary Jotun…
The most distinctive point which immediately captivates the player is its atmosphere. Waking between the nine realms and striding forth to see Yggdrasil dominating the horizon creates a true sense of wonder, one enforced by the game’s beautiful score and aesthetic, and it sets the tone to come. Whether you’re traversing the void between realms or locked in combat with a being made of pure thunder, Jotun never fails to look anything short of absolutely stellar and builds a real atmosphere of mysticism. This is further hit home by a well-rounded combat system, which proves to be ever challenging and offers no shortage of foes to combat.
The Jotun themselves are tied into the elements and earth, offering no shortage of variety and offering an experience akin to Shadow of the Colossus’ sprawling combat against vast foes. Each one is a puzzle and needs to be approached in exactly the right way, but between these it never fails to offer a variety of smaller mini-bosses and enemies, each of which requires careful timing and strikes to bring down. Unfortunately however, this last point proves to be a double edged sword, largely thanks to the stylistic choice. To give it a distinct animated look of older generations, the movements skip certain frames at a time. This oddly works in the game’s favour, but it makes timing attacks a far steeper learning curve and moments where you a caught out can seem cheap. The game’s brief length and lack of real replay value also means this is his short but very sweet, and those after something of greater substance might feel underwhelmed by the end.
Jotun ultimately proves to be fun but very flawed, and it’s likely to be quite a divisive game. If you like what you see, you’re bound to enjoy it, but still think carefully before making a purchase.
JOTUN / DEVELOPER & PUBLISHER: THUNDER LOTUS GAMES / PLATFORM: PC / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW