Developer: Deadpan Games, Gaziter
Genre(s): Strategy, Adventure
Platform: Nintendo Switch (also available on PC)
Age Rating: PEGI 7
Release Date: 12/04/2023
A code was provided for review purposes
Christmastime is Here!
Wildfrost is a rogue-lite deck builder about trying to save a city from an eternal winter. In the game, I had to select between different cards to add to my deck while trying to take out enemies and survive the frigid climate. Did the adventure warm my heart? Find out in this Rapid Review.
As I began the game, I was introduced to a frozen world and a simple plotline. The story in Wildfrost is nothing special, but it gave a detailed explanation of why I was encouraged to fight my way through the storm and provided a bit of information about the different characters I came to enjoy. Still, while the writing was well crafted, the story content is nothing to look forward to. The story elements I encountered were undoubtedly charming, but there is little depth or intricacy.
On the other hand, the combat is far more complex. Even though the game is a simple card game on the surface, there are a plethora of concepts to consider while playing. The most significant thing is that the game features cards. This meant that as I progressed through my journey, I had to consider which cards would best function alongside the other cards in my deck to craft curated and impactful combinations. Though this is standard in many card games, Wildfrost takes a slightly different approach. There are three different classes of heroes to select from, and each pool from different cards. This means that some cards are only available for certain heroes. Though this feature seems limiting, I appreciated it, as most of the cards I encountered helped me progress on my journey. The card-based mechanics made the game interesting, complex, and engaging. I had a lot of fun experimenting.
Another reason the deck customization was so effective was that each of the cards was very distinct. In addition to the different classes, there are plenty of unique abilities and attributes on many of the cards. There are some basic elements like freezing and poison damage. These concepts helped make the game intuitive and immediately recognizable. However, there were also some other more unique ideas. One ability called overburn damages all enemies in a column when the enemy with the attribute’s health drops below the degree of overburn they have sustained. Concepts like those listed above and many more maintained my interest throughout my playthrough. Overall, the complexity and variability of the cards in Wildfrost pushed me to enjoy the game a lot.
Additionally, I enjoyed being able to progress. Wildfrost is a rogue-lite. This means that even though the game largely resets upon death, there are some permanent improvements. In this game, I unlocked new cards over time. The more I explore the game, the more cards I got to experiment with. However, the progression was often tailored to encouraging experimentation. Sometimes the game would push me to kill enemies with a certain mechanic or try to chain together a significant combo. Concepts like those helped broaden my understanding of the game, and I think I enjoyed it a lot more because of how the game encouraged me to learn while rewarding me even for my failures.
Fights to the Death
In addition to interesting cards and abilities, I always felt adequately engaged in a battle. Cards in this game work very intuitively. Unless otherwise stated, a card has a given amount of health, can deal a given amount of damage, and will attack in a specified quantity of turns. It is a straightforward process. The developers gave me all the information I needed, and it was easy to interpret too. While some of the trickier mechanics may require some detailed thinking, I always knew exactly what would happen before I made my move. To compensate for this, the computer enemies always attacked first. It is a simple concept, but it made the game much more intense yet precise. In addition, unless my cards were killed, I always healed back to full health at the end of a fight. The battle mechanics were also lovely.
Even outside the battlefield, I was faced with some decision-making. In between fights, I had to choose between potentially getting more party members, duplicating cards in my inventory, or visiting a shop. This did not add much complexity to the game, but it was somewhat interesting. I enjoyed looking at the map and seeing what different things I would collect based on my current position. However, this was not a highlight of my experience.
Regardless, I enjoyed the gameplay a lot. Combat mechanics are engaging, and progressing further into the world made me feel smart and in control. Plus, despite the rogue-lite nature of the game, I never felt bored passing through locations multiple times. Granted, I occasionally was disappointed that there was not a huge amount of enemy variety, but the diversity in the character selection retained my excitement to keep coming back for another run.
Signed, Sealed, Delivered
To complete the package, I was pleased with both the visuals and audio throughout my journey. Each of the cards is stunning and somehow both cute and powerful simultaneously. None of the cards felt out of place, and I enjoyed seeing the unique designs that came about. The music was similarly charming. It was upbeat, entertaining, and quite catchy too. Both elements helped retain my interest in the game. The presentation of Wildfrost came through very nicely, showing a clear dedication to polish and charm.
Overall, I greatly enjoyed my experience with Wildfrost. The battles are rewarding, the cards are fun, and the game is presented wonderfully, creating a lovely experience. Again, I did find that my runs often faced off against the same enemies, and there was not much of a story, but despite those minor flaws, Wildfrost is a game I can recommend easily.
Rapid Reviews Rating
4.5 out of 5
You can purchase Wildfrost on the Nintendo eShop here
You can find and read our reviews on OpenCritic.