A side-scrolling brawler, Young Thor is instantly accessible, but with enough depth to avoid making the experience too repetitive. While it's tempting to simply mash the Square button, developer Frima has done a good job of scaling the experience, introducing new enemies that demand new strategies. My own play style evolved as I learned to add more jumps and dodges while chaining Thor's lightning magic into combat.
There's also a rudimentary XP system that boosts Thor's basic stats. However, don't expect to use your XP in any novel way. You can't customize your character, nor do you learn any new moves. The leveling seems to exist for the sole purpose of encouraging replays. Somebody out there will want to achieve a level 100 character, right?
You won't need to grind to beat Young Thor, but you might find yourself revisiting earlier stages for the fun of it -- and to find some of the well-hidden treasures, which grant powers like double jumping, health and magic regeneration.
Perhaps it's a bit unfair to expect more out of a $5 Mini, but I was disappointed by how little content there is. I anticipated a far grander adventure, especially after the impressive, fully-voiced opening cutscene raised my expectations. It's a shame there are only four levels to play through, especially considering how each new level improves upon the experience with new enemy types and increasingly complex platforming sequences. Once I reached the final area, I was excitedly dreaming up a Young Thor sequel -- one that would make the jump from mere Mini to bigger-budget game.
Young Thor may be light on content, but what it does offer is polished and well-executed. At only $5 and 50MB, this is an easy way to pass the time before Ghost of Sparta makes its way into your PSP.
This review is based on the full PSN version of Young Thor, provided by Frima. It was tested on both PS3 and PSP.