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Video Game / Jotun

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Jotun tells the story of Thora, a Viking warrior who dies an inglorious death and must journey through the divine realms and fight the great Jotun to prove she is worthy to enter Valhalla.

The game is heavily rooted in Norse Mythology, featuring many of its settings and characters. It also boasts hand-drawn, frame-by-frame animations and environments. The game was developed by Thunder Lotus Games, crowdfunded on Kickstarter, and released on PC in September of 2015. An Updated Re-release, Valhalla Edition, was released on the PC as well as the Playstation 4, Xbox One and Wii U in Summer 2016note .


This game has examples of:

  • Action Girl: Thora, a Viking warrior who carves her way through the afterlife with an axe.
  • Agony of the Feet: Because the Jotun are so large, Thora's main way to attack them is to slash at their feet unless they're stunned. The exception is Jera, who is half-buried in the ground.
  • Amazing Technicolor Battlefield: Odin's battle takes place on a platform amid a field of colorful galaxies.
  • Ambidextrous Sprite: Thora's axe switches hands depending on which direction she faces. Odin's eye also changes sides.
  • An Axe to Grind: Thora's Weapon of Choice, a massive double-bladed axe.
  • Antagonist Title: The Jotun are the giants that Thora fights as bosses.
  • Antepiece: The levels' environments often expose the player to mechanics of the Jotun fights. For example, the Nature region will show the player that blue flowers will protect Thora from the poisonous gas of the grey ones, so when Jera uses a similar poison cloud, the player will know just how to avoid it.
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  • Arc Symbol: The Valknut, a symbol associated with Odin and the valiant dead, appears in the main menu and the loading screens, and its silhouette can be seen in the center of Ginnungagap, its emptiness reflective of Thora's inglorious demise. After defeating the Jotun and proving her valor, the silhouette is filled and becomes a gateway to Odin's arena. The arena itself has a valknut engraved in the floor, and when Thora defeats him the gateway to Valhalla is formed by beams of light in a valknut shape.
  • Attack Its Weak Point: Downplayed. Some of the Jotun will be stunned after taking enough damage, exposing a weak point. Hitting it will do more damage than not, but this weakness doesn't need to be exploited to win the fight.
  • Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: All of the Jotun qualify, but Jormungandr easily eclipses all of them in size.
  • Attack Reflector:
    • Large dwarves will throw their hammers at Thora, but a swipe with her axe will send it back.
    • Get far enough away from Fé and she will throw her shield at you. As she's winding up, prepare a Charged Attack, and you can knock it back at her for damage. An achievement is unlocked for defeating her exclusively with this tactic.
  • Badass Beard: The male Jotun have some impressive facial hair, Isa's made of jagged ice and Kaunan's made of lava.
  • Badass Cape: Thora's fur coat, which billows behind her as she sprints to the next challenge.
  • Badass Normal: Thora earns her place in the warrior afterlife with nothing but her axe and her faith.
  • Barred from the Afterlife: Thora died at sea, a death that lacks the valor needed to enter Valhalla. Fortunately, the gods are willing to give Thora another chance to prove her worth.
  • Better to Die than Be Killed: Kaunan impales himself after your final blow.
  • Boss Arena Idiocy: Downplayed with some bosses; while their arenas offer opportunities to damage them, it's not necessary to exploit them to win.
    • Fé's boss fight: collapsing the pillars she creates late in the fight will result in her being hit by falling debris.
    • Hagalaz's boss fight: Getting the giant to electrify the four pillars in her stage (Or using Thor's lightning) will result in her being hit by a massive bolt of lightning and then collapsing, allowing an easy opening. Also subverted, since each pillar releases sparks that pose a danger to the player while they're active.
    • Isa's boss fight: He has ice walls that can be launched at him to deal damage at a distance. An achievement is unlocked for beating him exclusively this way.
  • Boss Game: The levels put a greater emphasis on navigation and exploration, with at most a few simple combat encounters in each one. The fights against each realm's Jotun are more intensive and challenging. Justified, since proving her strength by defeating the Jotun is the goal of the narrative.
  • Boss-Only Level: The bosses each have their own arena separate from their levels.
  • Bullfight Boss: Isa will occasionally lower his head and charge at the player.
  • Cain and Abel: In the backstory, Thora's older brother became envious when she was made the heir of their family, and murdered their father during a battle. In response, she slew her brother and dedicated his death to Odin, as is proper.
  • Cave Behind the Falls: One of the Winter region Apples is behind a frozen waterfall.
  • Charged Attack: One of Thora's attacks. Holding down a button has her raise her axe over her head; after a couple seconds the axe will flash, and releasing the button lets her slam it into the ground.
  • Close-Range Combatant: Thora only has her axe, which means her only strategy for most of the game is to get close enough to the Jotun to swat at their feet. Eventually she can acquire the Odin's Spear ability that shoots a beam at foes, but it only has two uses.
  • Collapsing Ceiling Boss: Halfway through her fight Fé will create pillars around the edge of the room. They can be destroyed by the player or Fé and doing so causes rocks to fall from the ceiling, potentially damaging Thora or Fé.
  • Combat Tentacles: Jera will summon thorny vines from the ground during her fight.
  • Constellations: The Northern Sky level features the Norse constellations, and recreating them by activating lightning crystals allows Thora to access the level's rune.
  • Convection Schmonvection: In the Crater level, Thora walks right next to and over lava without issue. Stepping in it hurts a lot, though.
  • Dare to Be Badass: The gods offer Thora the chance to redeem herself in their eyes by conquering the Jotun. Thora eagerly takes up the challenge.
    Odin: Do not fail to impress the gods!
  • David vs. Goliath: Thora is quite the underdog when facing the gigantic, magical Jotun.
  • Defeat Equals Explosion: All fire giants, including Kaunan. Fortunately, only the Mook versions deal damage.
  • Death from Above: One of the ways Kaunan tries to kill you, raining down meteors and leaping into the air to land on you.
  • Death Is a Slap on the Wrist: When Thora falls in battle (and it will happen) Odin announces that she has failed to impress the gods, but lets her start again at the beginning of the level with no other consequences.
  • Developer's Room: Odin's boss arena's antechamber has large busts of the Thunder Lotus staff.
  • Divine Parentage: Odin states that Thor's blood runs in Thora's veins, implying divinity somewhere in her lineage.
  • Doppelgänger Attack:
    • Hagalaz creates a copy of herself that fights alongside her.
    • The player can receive a power from Loki that creates a shadowy copy of Thora at her location. Enemies will attack the copy exclusively, and it will explode after a set time.
  • Draw Aggro: Fé's cry will cause all the dwarves on the field to rush and swarm towards Thora.
  • Driven by Envy: Thora's elder brother was envious of her for being named their father's successor as chieftain and killed their father in the middle of a battle because of it.
  • Driven to Suicide: Kaunan impales himself with his own blade when Thora defeats him.
  • Easy Level Trick: Jera has a tiny spot next to her left root where all her attacks except for the poison mist miss. Combined with the god powers, you can just ignore the mechanics of the fight and beat her to death in under a minute.
  • Easter Egg: There is a great stone slab in the Nature region with the names of the game's Kickstarter backers.
  • Easy Levels, Hard Bosses: While the levels do have their own deadly hazards and some enemies to battle, the focus tends to be on exploring the map, discovering secrets and enjoying the Scenery Porn. By contrast, the Jotun fights are extremely intense and Nintendo Hard even without worrying about the achievements that make them even harder.
  • Elemental Embodiment: The Jotun represent natural forces that play into their fights.
  • Field of Blades: One can be seen in the Crater level of Muspelheim. There aren't more than a couple dozen swords, but they're pretty big.
  • Final Boss: Odin himself stands as the final obstacle to Thora's acceptance into Valhalla.
  • Flaming Sword: When Kaunan Turns Red he lights his sword on fire.
  • Floating Limbs: Hagalaz has a variant, in that her upper and lower bodies aren't connected together.
  • Fluffy Cloud Heaven: The brief glimpse of Valhalla at the end shows it is above the clouds, has golden buildings, and glows with bright light.
  • Flunky Boss:
    • Dwarves will pop out to aide Fé in combat, every time she bashes the ground with her shield.
    • Odin will eventually summon the other Jotun to perform attacks.
  • Ground Pound: One of Kaunan's attacks is to leap into the air and land with his sword buried in the ground... or you.
  • Healing Checkpoint: The Wells of Mímir will restore Thora's health and recharge her god powers, and should she perish later in the level, she will be revived there.
  • Homing Projectile: Gungnir, Odin's spear, flies relentlessly until it hits its target. Thora can earn the ability to summon it from a shrine, and Odin himself uses it against her in the final battle.
  • Hoist by Their Own Petard: If Hagalaz is hit by her duplicate she gets stunned, allowing you to wail on them.
  • Horny Vikings: Thora is an aversion — with the exception of her antlered helm, she has little in common with stereotypical Vikings.
  • Hostile Weather: In the Nine Rivers a fierce cold wind will blow at intervals, forcing Thora to take cover behind rocks or else suffer damage.
  • Hot Blade: Thora meets Kaunan as he's finishing hammering out a blade. It's still glowing with heat when he leaps into battle.
  • Hub Level: Ginnungagap, the Void Between the Worlds Thora navigates to travel between realms.
  • I Let You Win: Implied with Odin. He transforms back into his normal form the instant the fight is over, and it is only asked that you "impress the gods" rather than kill or defeat them.
  • Interface Screw: Being hit by electricity causes the screen to flash and blur briefly.
  • Interface Spoiler: The Steam achievements make it clear that Odin is fought as the Final Boss.
  • Karma Houdini: The sea goddess Rán is responsible for the storm that sinks Thora's ship and kills her, denying her her rightful place in Valhalla, but never faces retribution for doing so.
  • Large and in Charge: The Jotun Fé seems to be the leader of the dwarves, judging by her throne and the great statue of her that can be seen in Brokkr's Forge, and the fact that they fight for her.
  • Left Stuck After Attack: Kaunan slashing downward causes him to get it stuck, giving the player enough time to get a few swipes in before he can pull it out.
  • Lightning Bruiser: Kaunan is the fastest of the Jotun, leaping around the battlefield, and he can deal a fair bit of damage with his sword.
  • Luckily, My Shield Will Protect Me: Oddly, Fé never uses her shield as a defensive measure at all, preferring to use it as a blunt weapon and projectile.
  • Make Me Wanna Shout: One of Isa's attacks is to howl at the player, creating a funnel that does damage in an arc.
  • Meaningful Name: Thora was born in the midst of a fierce storm that lasted for nine nights, prompting her father to name her for the god of thunder, Thor. Odin implies that Thor is a part of her lineage, giving further weight to her name. Triple meaning in that Thora, like Thor, ends up killing a lot of giants.
    • Hagalaz is less than pretty and is the most mage-like of the Jotun, kind of like a witch or, well, Hag.
  • Mighty Glacier: Most of the Jotun are slow to move and can both take and deal serious damage. Fé is the best example of the trope, being exceptionally ponderous in movement and relying on her dwarves to slow down Thora.
  • Mini-Boss: Jotunheim has a draugr guarding the rune in the barrow mound that Thora must defeat.
  • Multi-Mook Melee: The Brokkr's Forge level sees Thora mow down scores of dwarves to reach her objective. The boss of the region, Fé, summons dwarves en masse to similar effect.
  • Nipple and Dimed: Fé's breasts are exposed, but she is lacking in nipples.
  • Norse Mythology: The primary inspiration and setting of the game, with the Nordic idea of the afterlife as the central theme. Many mythic locations and creatures are seen throughout the game, including Yggdrasil, Nidhogg, and Odin.
  • Our Giants Are Bigger: The mythological Jotun, massive humanoids with elemental abilities who guard ancient runes. Thora must prove her prowess by defeating them.
  • Our Spirits Are Different:
  • Our Wights Are Different: Thora opens a barrow and fights the draugr within. The draugr has many of the qualities of the mythological draugar, including Sizeshifter abilities and a fierce dedication to defending the treasure of its crypt.
  • Parrying Bullets: Or hammers, a shield the size of a house, and the very spear of Odin, at least.
  • Posthumous Narration: Thora tells the story of her life as she battles her way through Norse purgatory.
  • Power-Up: Thora can acquire different abilities by visiting god shrines in each level. Most can only be used twice, but some can be upgraded to three times.
    • Frigg's Healing: Thora instantly recovers a portion of her health.
    • Heimdall's Shield: Thora is immune to damage for a few seconds.
    • Loki's Decoy: Thora creates a shadowy copy of herself that attracts enemy attention and explodes after a few seconds.
    • Freyja's Speed: Thora's movement and attack speed are greatly increased for a few seconds.
    • Thor's Hammer: Charges Thora for a few seconds so her Charged Attack does more damage.
    • Odin's Spear: Shoots an energy spear in the direction Thora faces, dealing damage to enemies it hits.
  • The Resenter: Thora's brother was envious of her success and the attention she received from her father; when their father passed over him as heir in favor of Thora, he grew to resent them both.
  • Robe and Wizard Hat: Odin. Justified in that he was the Trope Maker.
  • Scenery Porn: The art of the levels is absolutely stunning, especially at certain points where the screen will zoom out to show something breathtakingly beautiful (or terrifying, such as the immense Nidhogg munching on the roots of Yggdrasil).
  • Sea Monster: The mythological Jormungandr Serpent is encountered in the Winter region, where it defends a rune in a frozen lake.
  • Shield Bash: The favored attack of Fé, along with throwing it. She never seems inclined to use her shield for defense.
  • Shown Their Work: Some of the references in this game are pretty obscure as far as Norse mythology goes. As an example, you may notice that in the shrine to Loki in Brokkr's Forge, the statue's mouth is sewn shut. This is a reference to a legend where Loki bets his head to the dwarves, and subsequently loses the bet. He tries to weasel out by saying that they may take his head but they can't touch his neck at all, putting decapitation out of the question. However, the dwarves turn out to be pretty fantastic tricksters themselves: since Loki's head now belongs to them, they can do whatever they want with it, so they opt to sew his mouth shut so that no one would ever be fooled by him again.
  • Sinister Schnoz: The storm Jotun Hagalaz has a very prominent nose.
  • Slasher Smile: Hagalaz combines a broad, maniacal grin with an Evil Laugh when she calls down lightning on you.
  • Spirit Advisor: The All-Father himself communicates with Thora to guide her on her quest. He fights her in person as her final test.
  • Stationary Boss: Jera's lower half is rooted into the ground.
  • Surprisingly Good Foreign Language: Though Thunder Lotus Games is a Canadian developer, all the dialogue is in perfectly fluent Icelandic (the closest living relative to Old Norse) spoken by native Icelanders.
  • Turns Red: Each Jotun will alter their arena and/or strategies after losing half of their health.
  • Tactical Suicide Boss: Downplayed with Fé and Hagalaz, as it's not needed to defeat them.
    • Hagalaz can be hit with attacks by her duplicate, stunning her and leaving her vulnerable.
    • Fés shield can be hit back at her for damage.
  • Tennis Boss: Downplayed with Fé: her shield can be deflected back at her with a charged heavy attack, but it's far from necessary to beat her unless you're going for an achievement.
  • Ultimate Blacksmith: Brokkr, the dwarf craftsman who made such godly weapons as Gungnir and Mjölnir, is alluded to when you visit his forge. Kaunan is implied to be a lesser example.
  • Updated Re-release: Valhalla Edition adds a new Boss Rush mode, including more difficult versions of the Jotun.
  • The Unfought: The Jormungandr serpent and the Nameless Eagle hound Thora throughout their respective levels, but ultimately neither engages her in direct combat.
  • Unnecessary Combat Roll: Thora can roll. While it isn't a faster alternative to running over distances, it makes for a useful dodge, and if the attack button is pressed immediately after it becomes a Rolling Attack as well.
  • Variable Mix:
    • When exploring the levels, the music will add strings the closer the player is to a god shrine and a sparkling noise when close to a rune.
    • During the boss fights, the music will become more triumphant when the boss is almost defeated.
  • Video Game Settings:
  • Void Between the Worlds: Ginnungagap, which seems to be in outer space and contains gateways to the other realms.
  • When All You Have Is a Hammer...: Thora only has her axe when facing the Jotun, but quickly proves she doesn't need much else.
  • The World Is Just Awesome: Thora often expresses awe at seeing the great locations and creatures she only knew in myth. In several levels the camera will pan and zoom out to display particularly impressive scenery.
  • World Tree: Yggdrasil itself can be seen at the start of the game and its roots and branches can be navigated in later levels.
  • Zerg Rush: All the dwarves on the field will swarm towards you when Fé makes her Battle Cry.

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