Heimdall: The End of Midgard

Here I am at PAX East, surrounded by games both new and old, PC and console and tabletop. And yet, by my self-imposed rules, I have to focus my attention on Heimdall for long enough to write another blog post, because I played it a bit while waiting in the airport on the way here. It’s one of those moments that makes me ask myself why I’m doing all this. I suppose the traditional “because it’s there” will have to do.

The overall goal in Heimdall is to recover three weapons weapons of the gods, stolen and hidden by Loki: Thor’s hammer, Odin’s sword, and Frey’s spear. (The spear is something of a surprise to me, but a quick google turns it up in a few other games, if nowhere else.) The manual also mentions a three-tiered model of the world, with the human world of Midgard sandwiched between Asgard, abode of the gods, and an underworld whose name I don’t recall. (I don’t think the manual used the word “Niflheim”, but Norse mythology seems to have multiple underworlds.) So just from the point of view of symmetry, it seems likely that each weapon is hidden on one of the three worlds.

So far, however, I haven’t left Midgard. I think I know where the weapon on this world is, because there’s really only one island left that I haven’t explored thoroughly, and it’s the island that’s reachable last. The ordering of the islands is partial — there cases where you can definitely say “this island comes before that one” and other cases where you can’t. It’s definitely worthwhile to try to clear the islands in the order they become available, though. This was a mistake I made early on: on the first island I visited, a man asked for a sprig of hemlock, and I wandered far and wide looking for such a thing. It turned out to be found on the next island over, which I could have visited first. I just hadn’t explored it fully.

A lot of the items that I had found no use for before turn out to be quest tokens for the final island. Those scrolls bearing “runes of power”? If you’ve collected a full set, it lets you skip a fight. Whether it’s a fight worth skipping, I’m not sure. One of the islands exists primarily to provide you with a scroll that instantly kills giant serpents of the sort that guards the waters around the final island, but I managed to kill that serpent with simple melee before I found the scroll. It all really comes down to how much food and healing magic you carry to the final island with you. This stuff has been absurdly abundant throughout the game up to this point, and cheap to buy in stores, but it seems to dry up immediately once you’re on the other side of that giant serpent corpse. So you really want to carry as much as you can. But then, each of those power-rune scrolls takes up an inventory slot each. I’m loath to give up a collection subquest, but surely I’d be better off devoting those slots to food?

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