Review: Viking Invasion (DSiWare)

Pillage the village!

Viking Invasion by BiF is a tower defence game that puts the player in charge of protecting various castles and forts from hordes of Viking invaders. The game takes a slightly different approach to the standard tower defence set up, with foes pouring in through various waterways and rivers.

Set over three difficulty levels and offering two modes of game play, Viking Invasion offers Campaign and Survival modes. Campaign mode has a very loose storyline stringing each of the Viking invasions together with a set number of waves of enemies per level, which the player must survive in order to progress to the next level. The storyline doesn’t really add much to the game: some of the dialogues are somewhat amusing but it feels as though they are aimed at a younger audience. If playing on the easiest difficulty setting, “Meanine,” the game begins at a very gentle pace; so gentle in fact it’s quite difficult to take any damage at all to begin with. Each level begins with the player having a fixed amount of money to build defensive structures such as archery towers and cannons. These towers can be upgraded after they have defeated a certain amount of enemies and new upgrades can be bought via gems collected through killing larger, more powerful enemies.

The game progresses at a reasonably fast pace and while the earlier levels are almost laughably easy the latter ones are more challenging, with more paths for enemies to enter the area through and progressive waves containing larger hordes of enemies. Each wave begins with a countdown to warn the player of an incoming wave of enemies; during this time the player can construct various buildings and upgrade already constructed buildings in order to prepare for the attacks. Game time can be sped-up if the game is progressing at too gentle a pace, or alternatively paused altogether if the player needs time to think. These features allow the player to play at their own pace, and as veterans of this genre may find this title a little bit too easy it was perhaps a wise decision to include these time-altering options.

The game has ten maps available for play and these are unlocked by playing through the storyline in campaign mode. All of the maps are illustrated quite nicely, though a few of them are perhaps a little too similar: some more varied terrains would have been welcome. During play the touch-screen displays a zoomed-in view of the field while the upper screen displays an overview of the map and statistics such as available funds, gems and the health of the fortress. Everything is displayed in a simple and concise manner and therefore even for newbies to the genre getting to grips with the game shouldn’t pose a problem.

The game is controlled mostly with the touch-screen with the A button acting as a prompt to continue dialogue and the Start button opening the game menu – both these actions can also be done via the touch-screen however. The controls are fairly intuitive, with hexagonal spaces being tapped to open the construction menu. From here the player can construct all of the various buildings necessary to achieve victory. Each building also has its own upgrade menu where the player can improve the strength, agility and range of said building’s attacks. At the start of each wave of enemies the enemies’ names are displayed and upon tapping them the player can learn useful information about that particular enemy's weaknesses and strengths.

The game’s audio is pretty standard of the genre with some nice instrumentals featuring a vaguely militaristic backdrop. The music can however get a little tedious with the same track looping over and over in one level. The game’s sound effects are pretty minimalistic and in the case of this game this is probably a good thing – hearing a soundbite of an arrow being fired on repeat would perhaps not be a pleasant or particularly rewarding experience.


Overall, Viking Invasion is a solid tower defence title with clear and concise gameplay, varied enemies and plenty of upgrades to keep the player busy. The easiest game mode is perhaps a little too easy for more experienced players of the genre, though this makes Viking Invasion the perfect introduction for players new to this type of game. Considering the game’s relatively high price tag, Viking Invasion manages to pack just enough content and good quality presentation to warrant 800 Nintendo Points. The only minor niggle about this game is the lack of a decent storyline, though it really isn’t necessary here.

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