Young Thor (PS Mini)

Release: July 20, 2010
Genre: Beat’em up, 2D platformer
Developer: Frima Studio
Available Platforms: PS3 & PSP (PS Mini)
Players: 1
MSRP: $4.99
ESRB Rating: Everyone 10+

Greek mythology has grown quite popular thanks to God of War, but what about Norse mythology? In the past we have seen many references to Norse Mythology in RTS’s and MMO’s but how many games have a full story centered on Norse Mythology? How about Thor? Whenever I hear about Thor it’s always about his later years, but what about his childhood?

In Young Thor, players can do just that; take on the role of Thor at a young age as he must help the Norn’s keep the Tree of Life safe and bring balance to the world of men and the realm of the gods. Travel between four worlds – Midgard, Bifrost, Helheim and Yggdrasil – as you defeat Hel’s evil army that is threatening the world of men.

In terms of gameplay, Young Thor is a 3D side-scrolling platformer. It’s almost like a less mature version of God of War but with side-scrolling action with platforming elements instead of puzzles. Young Thor is essentially a beat’em up game where you will be pressing square and triangle repeatedly to create up to 15 different attacks. At his disposal, Thor has his Mjolnir to attack enemies at close range as well as lightning for a special attack.

As mentioned before, there are four worlds you must travel through. Each world consists of four different variations. Each is essentially the same but each one consists of new paths, tougher enemies, and new artifacts to be found that will help young Thor on his quest to stop Hel. As you kill enemies, Thor will gain experience and gain a new level – up to 99 – which will allow him to deal greater damage to enemies and eventually breeze through levels. Just like an RPG, players will essentially have to grind and replay levels over and over again as each new variation is tougher than the last. Yes, that’s a lot of the same thing over and over but I didn’t really find it boring at all; to complete the game, you really only need to be around level 50 or above.

I love mythology so naturally when I see a game based on some story in mythology I’m instantly interested. It’s interesting to see a game based on the childhood of a god, especially Thor. The art style used in Young Thor is very cartoony from the cut scenes, character design, and backgrounds which of course is the best option for the PSP. Whether you play it on the PSP or PS3, the graphics look great and even runs in full HD on the PS3. Another thing I really like is the occasional enemy being thrown at the screen. It doesn’t happen often but when it does it, you can’t help but laugh when you see the face of a goblin being squashed against the screen. Another interesting thing is the way the camera pans behind you giving you a quick look at what is ahead of you. When you return the main menu, as a gentle subtle reminder, the main menu changes to reflect the last environment you played in. It’s a small thing, but it’s pretty cool to see.

A few things that could be improved upon are the boundaries and momentum of the character. When you hit an enemy near an edge, he sometimes floats in the air or, when you move and then stop, Thor instantly stops without moving forward a little. There are some noticeable pop in pop out issues as well, but nothing that should turn you away.

My overall thoughts:
With four worlds, seven different enemies, 3 bosses, great cartoony visuals, and 3D beat’em up gameplay, players will get a lot of gameplay for $4.99. Although there are only four worlds with four variations in each, it will feel like a lot more due to the replaying of previous variations in order to gain a higher level to progress. You will no doubt spend many hours to complete this game. Each level only takes anywhere from 5-20 minutes but when you have to replay them over and over, that time really adds up. Even though you have to replay previous levels, the gameplay doesn’t get boring. After you complete the game and decide to get all achievements and reach level 99, well, that can be tedious, but in terms of just the game, it’s really fun. For fans of mythology, Norse especially, and platformers with beat ’em up gameplay, this is a great PS Mini you won’t want to miss. If you’ve ever wanted a game where you could play as Thor or experience Norse Mythology, this is a great game to get.

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