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Northgard is the indie game at the top of the Steam charts right now

These tiny Vikings cut through the chatter of AAA releases

Charlie Hall is Polygon’s tabletop editor. In 10-plus years as a journalist & photographer, he has covered simulation, strategy, and spacefaring games, as well as public policy.

It’s been a good couple of weeks for games. For Honor dropped on Valentine’s Day, right on schedule, around the same time as Sniper Elite 4. And, oh yeah, there’s that new Nintendo console on the way. But one little indie game has been able to cut through the chatter to consumers. It’s called Northgard, and the day after its release it was number one on Steam’s top sellers list.

So what’s a Northgard?

At first glance, the game looks a lot like Banished, a medieval colony simulation game made by a single developer named Luke Hodorowicz. It’s one of my favorite games of the past few years. But Northgard has a lot more going on.

First, it’s about Vikings so there’s quite a bit of combat in it. The art style looks a bit like Clash of Clans had a baby with Warcraft 2. But it’s also an exploration game, with a fog of war outside your village that you can adventure out into. It also has multiple victory conditions, so that unlike Banished it’s more than just a beautiful little ant farm.

Northgard is from the team at Shiro Games, who made Evoland and Evoland 2. It’s in Early Access right now, so take that with a grain of salt. Regardless, as of today it’s number four on Steam’s top sellers list.

Not too shabby for a small indie team. Not too shabby at all.

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