Meet me in Valhalla!
Thor tends to get a lot of attention, thanks in no small part to his own comic book series, but it’s not often that the rest of the Norse clan get to share in that spotlight. Thor: Lord of Storms pulls back the camera a bit to include other notables such as Odin, Freyja, Einherjar warriors and more, as they defend their home from evil in the form of a hero-driven castle defense game.
Thor: Lord of Storms lets players assume control over the lightning god himself, the Valkyrie Brynhildr, or Freyja the goddess of love, sorcery, fertility, war, and death. Each character has different stats to consider such as Thor’s hearty defense or Brynhildr’s increased speed, and will require slightly different strategies because of them. Of course, the support units that can be summoned in battle are important, too. Simply charging into a group of enemies head-first (even as Thor) is a quick way to lose. So make sure to summon them when possible, and also upgrade them between stages or else enemies will cut them down incredibly quickly.
At first I thought that playing a castle defense game with only a single lane (i.e. all characters move along a single path rather than being split up) would make things too easy, but it actually works quite well in Thor: Lord of Storms. It’s not quite as hectic, which makes keeping track of everything a lot easier, and it’s possible to use whichever hero to slow down the enemy advancement a bit while waiting for reinforcements to arrive. Being able to use these heroes is a nice change of pace from more typical castle defense games, too. They each have a few special abilities they can use to turn the tide in a pinch, and are stronger than most of the units that can be summoned; but the flipside is that they need to be kept alive at all costs. Turns out gods aren’t expendable.
I’m all for being able to dive right into a group of enemies and start hammering away, but their tendency to land critical hits which knock the hero back and stun them temporarily can actually be rather irritating. I also found it to be kind of strange that the enemy castle can be destroyed, but there’s actually a finite amount of soldiers that they send out on each level, and once they’ve run dry, it’s over. It just makes me wonder why they even bothered making that an option, seeing as I never manage to reach the castle until most (if not all) of the enemies are gone. I suppose it’s possible to rush their stronghold and start clobbering it while leaving the riffraff to the grunts, but that doesn’t seem like a very effective strategy when enemies spawn right there.
Thor: Lord of Storms is an amusing castle defense game. It’s not quite as complex as other titles in the genre, but I think that actually works in its favor by making it easier to focus on the task at hand. I wouldn’t say it’s mind-blowing or anything like that, but what’s there is perfectly respectable and a good way to kill time.