The Best News Of 2014: Nidhogg Releases January 13th

By Graham Smith on January 6th, 2014 at 8:00 am.

All messhof games are stylistically cohesive.

Have you been asleep over the Christmas break, like we have? Then you might have missed 2014′s most exciting news: Nidhogg is finally being released on January 13th on Steam.

The 2D swordfighting game has been around for over three years – it won the IGF Nuovo award in 2011 – but you’d be forgiven for not being one of the few lucky enough to have been able to play it so far. Now creator messhof has expanded on it and is ready to let everybody have a go.

Come watch the announcement trailer while I prattle a little about why it’s great.

Nidhogg was a local multiplayer game for two people in which each fighter was armed with a sword. The aim was to defeat your opponent, advance to the next screen and repeat the process against your respawned enemy until eventually you were eaten by an enormous flying worm, signalling victory.

The moveset was extremely limited: you could hold and jab your sword from high, mid or low positions; throw it; jump; and slide. But the psychology of the game – the mixture of feints, double-bluffs, high tension and easy failure – made it simultaneously competitive and approachable. When I used to play it with friends, players would be alternately screaming with exertion and laughing in hysterics. The best players invented their own additional moves (with names like “the wildebeest”). Our matches in an open plan office would draw crowds.

This newer version expands the game with tweaked moves, new levels and support for up to eight players in local multiplayer. I will give it all my money, and write more about it as soon as I get the chance to play.

Here’s Alec singing its praises from back in October of 2010. Here’s a video of me and Tom Francis playing it from the same period:

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32 Comments »

  1. portchd says:

    If that video and gameplay is from 2010 I really hope the finished product ends up being incredible, the have certainly had enough time to get the polish in there and get a really solid multiplayer setup going.

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    Lexx87 says:

    That video of you and Tom is great. This looks another ripe for Youtube watching, was fun just to watch!

  3. Meat Circus says:

    FFFFFIIIIIIINNNNNAAAAAALLLLLYYYYYYYYYY

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    Henke says:

    Boo at this resurgence of Local Multiplayer games like this and Samurai Gunn! Boo! I want Online Multiplayer! D:

    • Philotic Symmetrist says:

      Hooray for local multiplayer being an option on a PC game, it’s about time PC games tried to catch up to what console games have always been better at (they’ve still got a long way to go though). PC games should have become better than console games for local (by which I mean single machine) multiplayer by now since we can have multiple screens (something only one? console has really started [somewhat] trying to do).

      Yes it is nice to have the option for online multiplayer but it’s just as frustrating when there’s a lack of local multiplayer in a game which is suited to it, perhaps more frustrating since local multiplayer should (perhaps; I don’t know the details of the coding) be simpler to include since you don’t have to sort out how to connect multiple machines.

  5. Jakkar says:

    Due to the depreciation of this product since its original reveal, I feel that messhof should give us all lots of money to play it. Nonetheless, I suspect he will be the one getting all of the money.

    I just hope he asks a realistic price, uninflated by its collection of dusty awards. Given that EGGNOGG achieved parody and an extremely enjoyable game the best part of a year ago (http://www.freeindiegam.es/2013/05/eggnogg-paul-pridham-connor-pridham/), the finished Nidhogg had better surpass expectation…

    • TillEulenspiegel says:

      achieved parody

      Pun of the Year, 10/10

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        Lambchops says:

        Come on now, we all know that everyone will forget about the great puns released early in the year by the time the year end lists roll around.

      • frightlever says:

        I really hope it was intentional. Quite brilliant.

  6. Kefren says:

    Watching that brings one game to mind: Bruce Lee (C64/Spectrum). 2 player on one machine, two fighting characters (Green Yamo and Bruce), one of them trying to get further while the infinitely respawning other player did all they could to interfere. With an AI ninja thrown in as a wildcard. I still play Bruce Lee regularly – you owe it to yourself to download a copy and play it on an emulator, ideally with Kempston-type joysticks.

    • Niko says:

      There was a 2 player mode?!

      • Kefren says:

        Yep, that’s the only way I played it. You just chose it from the options screen. http://www.grebz.fr/Images/c64/bruce_lee_01.jpg (choose 2 player, then Opponent mode – otherwise you are both Bruce Lee and just take it in turns, boring).

        • Niko says:

          Ah, thanks. I’ve just remembered there was a remake, which features different graphics modes in addition to the original one. http://indiegames.com/2008/12/remake_game_pick_ultimate_bruc.html

          • Kefren says:

            What a lovely remake! I liked the fidelity of the re-made version (in terms of sound and timing being spot on) but the roof graphics make it harder to tell where you can walk safely in the first screens. It made a nice change, though the C64 graphics are my favourite. Bruce Lee is one of those games I can complete in 20 minutes, and I usually have about a 40% chance of succeeding if I haven’t played it for a year or so, which feels like a nice challenge.

    • elpuma says:

      My older brother convinced me that the Green Yamo was there to help him :(

      • Kefren says:

        Actually, that’s an option – co-op. Green Yamo pounds the ninja and keeps him off Bruce Lee’s back. :-)

      • Kefren says:

        Nowadays some games even control where you look; back then they didn’t even care how you played two player. Competitive or co-op; adventure or single screen brawls. Totally up to you. The game was just the backdrop.

  7. SkittleDiddler says:

    Wow, for some reason I really want to eat a lot of LSD and watch that gameplay video on repeat until my brain burns itself out. Not sure whether that’s a nod of approval towards Nidhogg or more of an indication of deep-seated mental issues.

  8. Dharoum says:

    You say 8-player local tournament, does this mean you only have that option locally? And could you confirm online multiplayer?

  9. Pich says:

    GET! THAT! DICK! GET! THAT! DICK! GET! THAT! DICK!

  10. azrd79 says:

    Who played yellow? He gets owned at first but gets progressively better towards the end, was rooting for him to win.

  11. derbefrier says:

    Local multiplayer is nice but I am not a kid anymore and getting friends over to play video games just doesn’t happen. Add online functionality and I will get it. Local only means a pass for me thoughmost likely.

  12. deadly.by.design says:

    Looks like it’s time to unpack my projector and my fedora.

    Also, local multiplayer is great. Shame on all nay-sayers. Games like Hammerwatch are doing it best, where neither party feels left out.

  13. Frank says:

    I assert: This game must be a hoax; and, in a world where this game was not a hoax, I would still have no use for local multiplayer on a PC.

  14. Tuco says:

    Holy crap, I get that quality gameplay trumps on everything etc, but some of these indie developers could at least make a minimum effort in making their work look any decent.
    I’m not asking for Crysis 3 graphics, but at least try something clean and charming, not amateurish pixellated silhouettes.

  15. Piecewise says:

    I Like how Eggnog, A game that was made as a parody in like a week, still looks stylistically better then a game thats been fucking about in development for years. It all just looks so jerky and meh, unlike the happy, smooth little sprites of Eggnog.

    With this and Samurai gunn coming out it it seems to be the winter of Overhyped, overpriced, local multiplayer only, glorified flash games that could have realistically been coded in a weekend. Fun games, mind, but it boggles the mind how something like THIS could have had a longer dev cycle then Hotline Miami or Shadow Warrior or any number of other games.

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      Nogo says:

      If you’re not already on the messhoff then we cannot help you.