Is that a mythical serpent in your pocket, or are you just happy to see me?
Today is the release date for the PS4 and Vita ports of the indie hit Nidhogg, meaning there has never been a better time to stab your friends in the face and sacrifice yourself to a giant worm-serpent.
The stripped-down competitive fencing game is coming out as a PS4 and Vita cross-buy title, featuring local multiplayer, online, and Vita-to-Vita ad hoc networking. Between getting people together to play on the couch, or whipping out the Vita for a quick game while on the run, there are now plenty of ways to connect with a friend, stab him through the gullet, and run through his rapidly cooling blood towards victory. Good times.
In some ways this seems like the end of Nidhogg's long, strange journey. It spent years in development, quietly circulating around indie shows and building up a near mythical quality. Anyone who had a chance to touch it came away with lavish praise for the title, but its developer, Messhof, was never quite satisfied, constantly tweaking everything from the fighting engine, the fencer's move-list, and the ridiculously beautiful pixelated artwork. It seemed like one of those amazing things you get to hear about, but never actually play yourself.
Then it hit Steam back in January and the general masses finally got their dirty little mitts on it. Almost unbelievably, it lived up to all the hype and more (our own Patrick Hancock loved it). But even then, it was still a niche title for a smaller audience. While it included an online mode, the heart and soul of Nidhogg has always been elbow-to-elbow competition with friends, and there are only so many people who have their computers set up in such a way to permit company to come over and play together.
With this PS4/Vita release, it feels like the game has finally arrived. Now there is an easy, painless way to get a bunch of friends together on the couch and pass the controllers around as you slaughter each other to uproarious applause. Odin would be proud.