Jotun

Game review by
David Wolinsky, Common Sense Media
Jotun Game Poster Image
Plodding but beautiful Norse myth game has mild violence.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

Exploration of redemption in the afterlife, but the path is filled with violence, revenge.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The guardians who stand in your path who could help you want instead to hurt you.

Ease of Play

Game moves slowly, has challenging play. 

Violence

Cartoonish whacks, thwacks, cracks with weapons. No gore.

Sex
Language
Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Jotun is a downloadable adventure, meaning the goal is structured by a series of areas to explore and enemies to defeat before you win. The game borrows from Norse mythology and plays with notions of the Icelandic culture's afterlife from many centuries ago. It's a game of patient exploration, deliberately paced combat, and a lot of trying and trying again; the game moves slowly and is quite challenging, which could frustrate some players. Though the game features a lot of violence and attacks with weapons, it's presented cartoonishly, and there's no blood or gore shown.

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What's it about?

In JOTUN, you play as Thora, a Viking who died a death unfitting of a warrior, preventing her ascension into Valhalla. To fix this problem and attempt to gain entry to the Viking afterlife, Thora will travel through the realms of Norse purgatory, using your two-handed axe and combat skills to impress the gods. You'll go from area to area of Limbo, traversing environmental puzzles and fending off attacking enemies before facing a showdown with the god of that land. You'll repeat this cycle until finally gaining access to Valhalla.

Is it any good?

This gorgeous hand-drawn adventure is very pretty, which is in stark contrast to how stiff and plodding the game's controls and overall maneuvering can be. You move slowly. You get locked into animations and can't move until they finish. This proves problematic when you're facing down big big bosses who use their scale to make you feel truly small and who easily gain the upper hand because you're frequently unable to move or get out of the way of their fierce strikes. This seems strange, because something so much bigger than you should be slower, but this isn't the case. That means you can expect to replay the boss fights over and over again. You'll also find yourself rethinking how to explore an area, moving very slowly through vast areas just to figure out where you want to go next. Some would say this pads the game's running time or is meant to have you reflect on the impressive visuals, but it just gets frustrating when you want to keep it moving and progress.

On the other hand, this makes combat in the bigger showdowns much more dramatic, even if you're fighting with the controls. The same excitement pops up on other levels, too, such as in a snowy area, where intermittent blizzards force you to think carefully on your feet to seek refuge as you make your way, or on a lightning-themed level, where you must move carefully to avoid getting struck at any moment while working on environmental puzzles. As such, Jotun is a bit of a mixed bag. While it's worth a look and is pretty on the eyes, it can be rough on your patience.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the afterlife. What do you think happens after your life is over? Are there actions you can take now that affect what happens later, or vice versa? 

  • Talk about perseverance. Why is it fun to play games that are difficult? Do you feel proud when you overcome a difficult section of a game, or does it just give you a break between frustrating game moments?

Game details

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