Conrad’s GOTY: Nidhogg

The Classic: As they go high, you go low.

Someone told me that 2014 was going to be the year of the local multiplayer indie games. It became one of the most on point predictions with awesome releases this year like Lethal League, Mount Your Friends, Towerfall: Ascension, and Sportsfriends. All these games have given me a competitive itch that I can’t remember since first playing Super Smash Brothers Melee but the one that stood out to me this year was Nidhogg.

My attention first came to Nidhogg in 2012 at Northwest Majors 4 where it was the grand final “Mystery Game” using a very early version of the game

Early version of Nidhogg at NWM4

When Nidhogg officially came out in early January 2014 I picked it up immediately. On paper looked like a fighting-esque game with little depth and extremely basic art but that has never deterred me in the past.

As I began to familiarize myself the game I found out there was much more than meets the eye. The concept is you are two fencers facing off each other and duel your way in a tug of war style map at the end you appear in a stadium only to be eaten by a giant flying worm, the title Nidhogg, as the crowd cheers for your death. Yes that’s how you win. The first time I saw the worm and I couldn't control my laughter I knew this game was something special.

Player (Left) Nidhogg (Right)

In terms of gameplay you are able to place your sword in various positions to protect all avenues of possible passing by each other. It also includes jump and crouch but as I continued to play I figured out more “advanced techniques” which brought my play to become more fun and hectic. One of my personal favourites was being able to throw the sword but it put me into more “mono e sword” situations than I probably wanted. Occasionally I would land a sword into their head and run forward with a huge advantage against my opponent while laughing at them. Another move that I use heavily is the divekick. It would bring my opponent to the ground and knock the sword out of their hand while I ran past to victory, once again laughing. There’s enough mixups in the game to provide a really good experience and allow the better player to win over less skilled opponents.

The beauty of Nidhogg is how it doesn't take itself too seriously and the players can be as casual or serious as they would like. It never tries to be flashy with hi-def graphics or extremely good physics, it’s just fun. I remember being frustrated when someone had the high ground or when someone was camping a doorway but there’s always a solution in Nidhogg. It might require sacrifice or losing a bit of ground but Nidhogg is about playing the long game to make sure you are victorious in the tug of war. If you do pick it up at some point I hope you find as much fun and entertainment with your friends than I did.

The end of this article is actually going to be a challenge to everyone who reads this

I will money match anyone at this game. Come at me.

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