IGN Review of Thor: God of Thunder
Thor on the Nintendo DS is not what you'd expect. Despite having to tie into a movie property and needing to work with certain likeness and story parameters, the developers at WayForward (Contra 4) have created a great licensed game. Thor plays incredibly well, and is a remarkably well-executed 2D brawler.
Thor on the DS is significantly different from the Marvel Studios production due out on May 6. Though characters in the game share likenesses with certain actors, nothing else is the same (a trait all of the Thor movie games share). The plot focuses on some undefined time prior to the film, as Thor is manipulated by Loki into journeying to distant realms to save his love, Sif. Mix in an outbreak of trolls and the threat of the all-powerful Mangog and you have a stage set for battles. Lots and lots of battles.
Thor on DS is a 2D brawler. Players move through linear stages, smashing everything and anything in the path of the God of Thunder. Fortunately the developers at WayForward added some nuance and complexity to the game. Basic attacks can chain into devastating, multi-hit maneuvers. In a relatively short amount of time, you'll be able to knock groups of enemies across the screen, bounce them off walls and chain them into mid-air combos before slamming them back to the ground.
The system proves addicting. This is by no means a deep game. What you're doing in the first level is more or less what you're doing in the last. Yet, what WayForward has designed here works very well for the length of the game. At times you'll grow tired of fighting the same enemy archetypes over and over, and at times you'll wish a level was a bit shorter, but as far as brawlers go, this is well done.
I would be remiss if I didn't mention the game's bosses. Years from now, when I think back to Thor on the Nintendo DS, I will remember it for the epic encounters with some of Thor's greatest enemies. WayForward went out of its way to make these guys not only visually impressive, as they will at times span the height of both screens, but dynamic as well, requiring pattern-recognition and gameplay unlike anything you're doing for 80 percent of the game. If anything, I wish there were more bosses and less generic filler enemies. Thor truly shines when you're dodging the intense fire assault of Surtur or wondering how you're supposed to take down Mangog.
Thor's impressive visuals don't end with its massive bosses. This is a gorgeous game. WayForward has proven its ability for incredible animation and sprite design with games like Shantae: Risky's Revenge, and Thor continues that tradition. Though you'll be busy beating the hell out of waves and waves of trolls, take a minute to appreciate the fluidity of how Thor and his enemies move. Subtle details, like the seven or so layers of background animation or how rain will bounce off of Thor while he attacks, make this one of the most impressive games I've seen on Nintendo's last-gen portable. At times the repetitive combat would get to me, but the graphics kept me drawn in. I couldn't wait to see what location Thor would travel to next – or what crazy boss would await me at the end.
©2011-05-03, IGN Entertainment, Inc. All Rights Reserved