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: