There were lots of flashy games on display at the Sony booth at E3 2012, from The Last of Us to God of War: Ascension - but none were as mind-numbingly fun as When Vikings Attack. Despite being small when compared to... just about everything else at the show, this PlayStation Network game provided us with more raw fun than any other game on the show floor.
Playable on both the Vita and the PlayStation 3, Sony showed off the cross-compatibility of the game by allowing us to play competitively across the consoles. The gameplay was remarkably simple, and surprisingly easy to pick up and play. Our small band of units (which could be vikings or other types of peoples) would run around and pick up any item we came into contact with in small, themed arenas. Some items, like random rocks or bolts, would simply bounce through the mass of units, knocking a few away, while others had more powerful effects, like exploding on impact or converting enemy units to join our army.
Both had essentially the same effect: shrinking the enemy's army. This helped us get closer to victory, but also made our opponents more difficult to hit, giving them time to scramble around and launch quicker attacks while trying to grow their numbers. Units would wander back onto the battlefield and could be gathered to expand the size of the fleet, but matches usually didn't last long enough to let this create a stalemate.
Instead, they provided a breed of competitive local gameplay that few games nowadays attempt. Within minutes, we were exchanging friendly smack-talk with our opponents, laughing regardless of whether we won or lost. In an industry full of bloated, gigantic games, it was great to get quality time with something as pure as When Vikings Attack, and we're looking forward to playing it more when it releases later this year for the Vita and PS3.