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At just 1/20th the cost of a normal retail title, Young Thor is an oddly compelling game. It's got that je ne se quoi effect that certain games like Diablo are able to achieve that compels you to drive forward through each level simply by telling you you're not strong enough. Failing on one level only hardens the resolve to level-grind for a while so you can come back and trounce the place. However, qualities aside you get what you pay for with Young Thor, and in this case the low price on this PSP Mini is justified by its extreme lack of polish.
Young Thor is a 2D platformer/beat-‘em-up in which you play as the youthful version of the Norse god of thunder, Thor. This new character isn't based on the modern vision of Thor, but rather his original, ginger self. That's right - before becoming the model Scandinavian man with flowing, blond, Fabio-esque locks he was apparently a fire-crotch.
The gameplay is very straight forward. You have a set of moves at your disposal and you attempt to march through the level obliterating everything in your path. Young Thor also has some fun platforming sections that break up the monotony of the battles. The combat has a great level of difficulty to it, and the experience system adds replay value to a lot of the stages, since sometimes you may want to go back to gain a few more levels before trying the next stage. Some stages are easy, and some stages are hard, but it's always because of your level. If a stage is too easy then it's because you've earned the right for it to be easy.
The major problem though is that the combat system is fundamentally broken. After about five minutes of playing Young Thor you'll realize that one of your attacks is ridiculously disproportionate in terms of how much damage it deals. It's also a ground-pound attack that deals damage in a much wider range than any of Thor's other attacks. From that moment on you'll never have another reason to do anything else, except for perhaps to stave off boredom. It doesn't break the entire game since you'll have access to stages intended for higher levels than you, but it does make it often quite boring.
The platforming and multi-path stages are the best things that Thor has on display. For such an inexpensive game the extra paths are a very welcome inclusion. Some of these include power ups you carry with you throughout the game, and can't be found anywhere else, which adds to the desire to go back and explore the levels once you're done.
For $5 there's enough fun to be had with Young Thor to justify the price, but if you need your games to be highly polished then you'd best look elsewhere. The combat is extremely uneven, and the controls can be imprecise at times. However, if you're looking for 1/20th the God of War experience at 1/20th the cost then you'll still be able to find some fun in this inexpensive package.
Aug 31, 2010