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A Game About Throwing Spears At Penguin Vikings And Hipster Giants

Illustration for article titled A Game About Throwing Spears At Penguin Vikings And Hipster Giantsem/em
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I liked Lichtspeer before I even started playing it. The menu screen, if you’ll believe it, is what sold me.

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Here’s what it looks like:

Illustration for article titled A Game About Throwing Spears At Penguin Vikings And Hipster Giantsem/em
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Where the exit button would normally be, Lichtspeer has a button that reads, “Go home and eat strudel.” And when you press it, a god-like voice triumphantly belts out, “STRUDEL.”

Lichtspeer is an arcade-y spear-throwing game set in “the ancient Germanic future.” You lob your trusty (and pointy) light beams at everything from Viking penguins, to hipster ice giants, to high-diving walruses that will wreck your shit. I tried it out on a whim yesterday, and it’s become my go-to timewaster. When I started playing, the LA sun was still sizzling in the sky. When I finally quit out, I realized I was sitting all alone in a pitch black room.

Mechanically, Lichtspeer is simple, but devilishly satisfying. You stand in place and arc spears at hordes of techno-Germanic goons, each of which move and attack differently. This is a game about flow, about finding that intoxicating sweet spot between aim and instinct. Holding down the mouse button, watching your spear’s arc increase, nailing a speeding zombie right between the eyes—every simple motion is calibrated to feel and sound sublime. Body shots will get the job done in a pinch, but headshots have their own special sound, signaling a bloody rain of bonus points. Headshot combos are even better.

Here’s five minutes of me playing one of the game’s early levels:

There’s a rhythm you sink into as the soundtrack pulses and you chuck spears near and far, never ceasing lest a single enemy burst through and snatch your precious entrails for its entrail collage. In the game’s best moments, it’s got a Zen-like quality to it. Focus. Stay in the moment. Keep your aim true. Don’t let panic set in. Contrary to popular belief, Valhalla does not await. Just cold, entrail-less death.

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That said, while the game mostly does a good job of introducing new enemy types to facilitate slow, deliberate skill growth, a few enemies feel cheap. As the game progresses, instakill scenarios intertwine with longer level segments. Special attacks you can unlock and upgrade mitigate that to a degree, but there’s nothing more frustrating than powering through most of an area—sweating and cursing all the while—only for a last-second bullshit baddie to ruin everything.

The short version? Lichtspeer is very fun when it’s not frustrating as the Norse depiction of hell. It’s easily worth $10.

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Also, its in-game currency is called LSD:

Illustration for article titled A Game About Throwing Spears At Penguin Vikings And Hipster Giantsem/em
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Naturally.

You’re reading Steamed, Kotaku’s page dedicated to all things in and around Valve’s wildly popular PC gaming service. Games, culture, community creations, criticism, guides, videos—everything. If you’ve found anything cool/awful on Steam, send us a message to let us know.

Kotaku senior reporter. Beats: Twitch, streaming, PC gaming. Writing a book about streamers tentatively titled "STREAMERS" to be published by Atria/Simon & Schuster in the future.

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