‘Valheim’ is the biggest gaming surprise of 2021, here’s what the hype is about

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'Valheim' is taking the gaming world by storm. Here's why.
Image: Iron Gate Studios

Those looking for a new video game to dive into might have heard of “Valheim,” an open-world survival title from an indie developer called Iron Gate. It would be hard to miss the game considering that it has already shattered all-time Steam records and has sold more than two million copies. Astonishingly, “Valheim’s” release was less than a month ago.

It’s safe to say that the title came out of nowhere and is now taking the gaming world by storm. But what is “Valheim” and why are players so obsessed with it?

Open-World Survival

There’s a reason why games like “Minecraft” and “Rust” consistently sit at the top of the leaderboards for sales and active players. The open-world survival style of these games makes them attractive to new players and lifelong gamers alike. They are easy to learn, hard to put down, and most of all, they’re incredibly fun.

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Add in the fact that “Valheim” is also set in a Viking-inspired world with stunning graphics and there is automatically a recipe for success.

However, that can’t explain how well the game has done since its early access launch earlier this month. Within two weeks, “Valheim” has shattered expectations and records alike. At one point, it became the second-most played game on Steam, falling short only to the ever-popular “CS:GO.”

The title has also found a home on Twitch, where it has consistently been among the most-watched games over the past few weeks.

Like “Minecraft,” there is a large building component to “Valheim” that requires players to harvest materials from the environment around them. Players can also craft Viking-themed weapons like axes and bows to help them survive in the game.

The combat system is full of bizarre creatures to face off against and strikes a fine balance between being challenging but not frustrating. Ultimately, “Valheim” is more about exploring and having fun than battling through difficult bosses and mobs.

Keep Up the Momentum

Many in the gaming community agree that “Valheim’s” trajectory is unlike anything we’ve witnessed before. The game’s stellar success out of the gate isn’t entirely unheard of, but the fact that it is the debut title from an indie studio is impressive.

Of course, the question remains whether or not “Valheim” will be able to continue this run. Titles with similar hot starts, like “Among Us” and “Fall Guys” quickly fizzled out after not providing players with enough new content.

That shouldn’t be the case for “Valheim.” Since it is technically still in early access, the development team should be rolling out plenty of updates in the coming days.

Moreover, the fact that “Valheim” supports multiplayer mode is important to its success. Video games have become an important way for people to connect with each other throughout the past year. Getting together to explore the world of “Valheim” is a perfect way for friends to spend time together safely.

For just $20, the title is certainly worth a shot. The next few months will be telling for “Valheim’s” long-term success, but for right now the game is flying high.

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