In an icy wasteland where the sun has frozen over, three tribes attempt to build a force strong enough to defeat the eternal winter. Utilising nature, magic, or machinery, they set off to battle overpowering foes and save their home. Wildfrost is a roguelike deck builder that comes to us from Gaziter and Deadpan Games. Specifically, the game prides itself on the need for tactical thinking and endless replayability with daily challenges. Take up your journal, grab your pet, and set off into the Wildfrost.
The most important thing for any game is the gameplay. I have good and bad things to say about this, and since this is the good section, I’ll start with the good. Wildfrost is fun. For those that enjoy deck builders, there’s a lot to find here. The game features interesting and unique systems that bring a lot of depth. The cards have a lot of synergy, and it’s satisfying when you’re able to set up your team just right and deal massive damage to the enemies. There are three tribes of cards in the game, all with their own unique gimmicks. Snowdwellers can delay their enemies with the snow status, poison enemies with the shroom status, and buff their damage with the spice status. Shademancers can create temporary allies called shades, which can fight for you or be sacrificed to buff themselves. Clunkmasters create junk cards that can be recycled to make use of especially strong cards, or be used on allies to provide unique buffs that last the rest of the fight.
Another positive is the game’s charming artstyle. I personally think giving your game a snowy landscape is sort of an artistic trap, leading to constructive colour variance and samey locations. Wildfrost does not fall into this trap, giving the feel of a wintery setting and tribes with cultures and dress appropriate for that setting while still maintaining a lot of colour and vibrance. The characters themselves are also very pleasing to look at, and have a lot of personality and charm to them.
- Fun deck-building variety
- Charming artstyle
The only real complaint I have about the gameplay is that the game is very tough. For some people this can be a good thing, but I feel that the game’s difficulty could prove to ward many players away. Almost all of the game’s fights require careful consideration and planning, and every mistake will be punished severely. I want to say that 90% of the runs I had during my time with the game did not make it past the first boss, and 90% of the runs that did clear that hurdle died on the very next battle.
The thing is that roguelikes should inherently become slightly easier with practice and skill, but that isn’t necessarily found here. The biggest issue here is that the game simply doesn’t give you an ample amount of equipment before the first boss to reliably defeat it, and while skill is a major factor in this game, luck is also something one needs on their side to succeed. I personally feel that there is a balance between making a game challenging without being painful to play, and I feel that Wildfrost failed to keep that balance. The game has a nasty habit of trapping you in unwinnable situations where you just need to sit and watch the enemy defeat you while you flounder through playing cards and wonder why there isn’t a forfeit button. Because of this complaint that I have, my second complaint is the game’s lack of a forfeit button.
- Unfair difficulty
- Lack of a forfeit button
Final Score: 7/10
Wildfrost is not for everybody. The deckbuilding genre is already a niche market, but I’m afraid that the game’s difficulty will shoo away even more potential players. It’s a shame really because the game clearly has a lot of love put into it with its charming art style and clever combat systems. I personally will continue to come back to Wildfrost to climb the mountain that this game has challenged me with, but I personally wouldn’t blame someone for being turned off by it. In this sense, I can at least say that the game is affordable, so trying it won’t break the bank.
Thank you for checking out our Wildfrost Switch review, thank you to Chucklefish (via Honest PR) for providing the review code and thank you to our Patreon Backers for their ongoing support: