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Here’s what you need to know about Valheim – the latest survival title blowing up the Steam charts

Valheim is a new survival game from Iron Gate Studios where you play as a slain Viking warrior sent to enact Odin’s revenge.

Valheim game on steam

By now you’ve probably heard of Valheim, the latest survival game from indie studio Iron Gate. Valheim is an open-world survival game that recently released in early access for PC on Steam. It has been an instant sensation on the platform, reaching the 3 million copies sold mark just under three weeks after its release on February 3rd.

With sales numbers like that, the game obviously has caught people’s attention. Valheim reached over 500,000 concurrent players this weekend, a feat accomplished by only a handful of games in the past.

While it is a survival game at its core, the Viking setting and other RPG elements are what help set this game apart from its peers. So what exactly makes Valheim the viral sensation that it has become, and what sets this game apart from others like it?

Valheim base building
Image: KnowTechie

While Valheim is ultimately a survival game, many people familiar with the genre might be surprised by how the game plays. Like many survival games, you have to eat to get regain health and stamina in Valheim, but the game won’t let you starve to death. Instead, food acts like a buff in the game. Different kind of foods will give different bonuses to stats like health and stamina. This means you’ll have to do some exploring of the world to find the best food combinations to increase your stats as you play.

The game also offers many other mechanics familiar in survival games. You’ll have to gather resources to craft new items, as well as farm wood for your home. The house building in the game is pretty unique. You have many different options for structures including beams and support poles. This means you can build epic Viking-inspired villages and forts, but structural integrity also come into play. Building a house without proper support structures can lead to disaster when attempting to expand.

Crafting items in Valheim is fairly intriguing as well. You’ll unlock recipes for items by finding materials in the world such as stone and wood. You can also upgrade the workbench at your home to allow for more powerful items to be crafted. This allows for a unique progression, as some materials may not be found until you have explored different areas further away from your spawn location.

Become a hero and achieve your destiny

Valheim body 3

In Valheim you play as a Norse warrior who was slain in battle and sent to Valheim, the tenth Norse world. Here you are tasked with slaying Odin’s enemies in order to be set free into Valhalla. On your quest, you will encounter all kinds of enemies, from woodland animals to mystical beasts. These will be minor stepping stones on the way to summon and defeat all of Odin’s enemies in an effort to release your soul. Your task will take you across the massive procedurally generated world where Odin’s ancient enemies will be waiting.

Aligning well with Viking history and tradition, you can – and eventually required to – take your character out on the open ocean. Characters will spawn on an island and that is generally where the first boss will be. From there you’ll have to expand your map, exploring the areas around, and this will require some sailing. While there’s not a lot to be found on the open seas as of yet, this is certainly something we will see expanded in the future, as referenced in this interview from PC Gamer.

The world of Valheim is infested with enemies of all kinds. In an attempt to keep the game exciting, Iron Gate has made combat in Valheim interesting and dynamic. Players will have several options for different kinds of weapons. This includes melee weapons like an axe or a club, as well as different levels of bows and arrows. The action combat system is similar to that of Dark Souls with parrying and dodging being important aspects of fighting in the game. Gone are the days of mindlessly spamming the attack button until the health bar goes down. In Valheim, you’ll have to think carefully and tactically in order to take down many of your foes.

Valheim looks like it will be here for a while

A ship on the water in-game
Image: Iron Gate

Iron Gate seems to have done a good job with this game, and the reception has been very positive so far. The early access launch has been impressive, reaching some numbers faster than any other games in the past. However, like most games of this style, Valheim will have to expand and update over the next few months to help keep players interest.

In the PC Gamer interview referenced above, the developers laid out the roadmap for 2021. Several additions to the game are talked about here with a seeming focus on certain areas of the game for each one. Some of the focus areas are home building as well as combat and ocean exploring. One of the updates looks to be adding a new biome, the Mistlands. Co-founder of Iron Gate Studios Henrik Törnqvist is quoted as saying, “In the finished version of the game, there will be nine biomes with nine bosses. And then we’re also exploring adding mini-bosses and stuff like that.”

It’s been a great start for this game on the Steam charts. While there is no talks about a console release, the team at Iron Gate have not ruled that out as a possibility. All in all, the game has some great momentum, and it will be interesting to see what the future of Valheim looks like.

Valheim is currently available as an Early Access title on Steam.

Have any thoughts on this? Have you tried the game out yet? How are you liking it? Let us know down below in the comments or carry the discussion over to our Twitter or Facebook.

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Staff writer at KnowTechie. Alex has two years of experience covering all things technology, from video games to electric cars. He's a gamer at heart, with a passion for first-person shooters and expansive RPGs. Shoot him an email at

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