[REVIEW] Ragnarock – Beating it in Viking Reality

The Viking way of life has become insanely popular lately. Ever since Vikings’ Ragnar Lothbrok and Assassin’s Creed Valhalla’s Eivor entered people’s lives, all we dream of is getting shitfaced with horns of ale and splitting heads. Being a Viking, it’s plain epic and heroic. But aside from boozin’, pillaging, and murdering, Vikings were known for beating it a lot. Drums, of course. And now, we can do that too, in VR. Ragnarock – Wanadev Studio’s rhythmic beat-it-till-you-drop drum sim – will have you swinging limbs and breaking a sweat in no time. And trust me, it’s worth looking like a Nordic moron for.

So, what is this Ragnarock you might have been hearing about? Well… long story short, it’s a virtual reality rhythm game in which you’re the drum-beating pacemaker on a viking ship. Leading your warriors to lands of unknown prosperity, beating bongos is the way to get them in a good ol’ killing cadence. But plainly beating drums will only get them riled up to some point. Beating them drums in sync with some serious pagan metal is a whole different kind of motivation.

And that’s basically what you’ll be doing all the time. Whacking it on metal music. And by Odin, is it fun to do. If there’s one thing that games like Guitar Hero and Rock Band have taught us, it’s that it doesn’t take much to get people grooving. Give us catchy songs and a lengthy pathway full of dots to hit, and we’ll be hitting them for eternity. Whether you’re a pro with perfect timing or a novice with the hand-eye coordination of a fruit fly, there’s always a song that’ll tailor to your skill level.

Then again, you gotta accept that you’ll be dealing with metal music. Where other rhythm games tend to cater to a broad demographic, Ragnarock stays close to its pagan metal roots. Luckily, there’s a workaround for that, since websites like ragnasong.com and ragnacustoms.com offer a broad variety of custom songs to download, all officially supported by the game. If you have lots of time to kill, you could technically create your own custom songs, given you download software for it. It just shows that Ragnarock can be limitless when it comes to playing the genre you prefer. It isn’t just yet, but it can be.

Still, you might just enjoy it without going that far. To give you an example, I’ve let my significant other – who has studied classical music for quite a bit – swing for the fences with Ragnarock. And boy, did she like it. Imagine this 4 ft 10 classical flutist go fucknuts like a conductor with cerebral palsy… over metal music… and loving every second of it. That’s what I now have to deal with.

So yeah, Ragnarock is pretty much the cat’s pajamas when it comes to VR rhythm gaming. It’s got a respectable playlist to start with and plenty of options to expand on, which only adds value to this $25 game (in the Oculus Store). Any negatives? Sure. I mean, it would be nice to see an option where you can place the drums where you like them to be. With drums placed in a straight line instead of arched, it can take away some of the immersion. And some extra surroundings wouldn’t hurt the game either. But that’s being massively picky.

Long story short: if you’re in the market for a fun rhythm game that’ll test if you got the skills to become a Viking drum beater, there’s no real reason not to get Ragnarock. $25 might seem like a steep price to pay for a game as simple as Ragnarock, but trust me. Sometimes simple is exactly what makes a game rock.

A rockin' VR rhythm game
The Hits
Beating it in VR has hardly been more fun
Pretty awesome setlist
Officially supports custom songs as add-ons
Easy to learn, frickin' hard to master
It converted my girlfriend from classical muse to headbanging pagan metalhead (sort of)
The Misses
No option of choosing your drums layout