LifeIsXbox’s Wildfrost review | Wildfrost is a brand-new tactical roguelike deckbuilder with a cute aesthetic but a brutal difficulty. The heartmelting artstyle and the deckbuilding drew me into the title, but it’s the random elements with just a hint of progression towards your next run that kept me coming back.
Chucklefish has a knack for finding the right type of game that everyone is craving exactly the moment they release it, with their own Wargroove satiating the hunger of Fire Emblem and Advance Wars fans when it first launched. Wildfrost is no different and scratches an itch I didn’t fully realize I had until it juuuuuust hit the right spot.
What makes this game so special? Let’s get the snowball rolling!
|Developer||Deadpan Games, Gaziter|
ℹ️ Reviewed on PC | Review code provided by Chucklefish, this review is the personal opinion of the writer. Got unanswered questions about this game? Get in touch on Twitter!
What we Liked!
- Cute design | The first thing you’ll notice, next to a chilly winter aesthetic, is the overall cutesy look to the character designs. Every card’s art has been carefully crafted to hit the right tone, giving the game a welcoming look. But make no mistake: the enemies can hit you like a dump truck if you’re not planning ahead!
- Lovely UI | Everything feels incredibly polished, from the environments to the animations on the cards as you cast them. Destroying an enemy boss, clicking a few times on ice-blocks on the map that contain random treasure, everything feels super satisfying and gives the game a finished feel. The same can be said for the sound effects.
- Challenging combat | There are a ton of effects to take into account, both your own and those of your enemies. You’ll die a few times as you learn to grasp the intricate details of each ability, but the learning process is just as fun. The main challenge is keeping your hero alive, so prepare to put some allies in front of them and keep a close eye on when your opponents get to attack. Luckily, you’re the only one that gets to play cards out of their hand: all the info you need is right there on the board.
- Progress | As you pick your branching path on the typical roguelike map, you’ll get new cards to add to your deck, new allies to recruit and accessories to equip and enhance your existing cards. None of these make it into the next run, but you’ll have challenges set out for you like dealing X damage or collecting X amount of gold which will upgrade your home town, building by building, and making every new run just a little easier.
- Daily run | You can do as many regular runs each day as you wish, but there is also a daily challenge against other online players. You’ll all get the same deck and face the same opponents, and whoever collected the most gold when they meet their demise will rank on the top of the leaderboards.
- Not always 100% clear | Sometimes I used a card and read over all the text, yet somehow I probably missed something as I suddenly killed my own ally after using what looked like a positive effect. Magic The Gathering: Arena prevents this by automatically highlighting the targets that you want to hit with a negative spell (like your opponent’s creatures) and also throws some warnings your way when it notices you’re about to do something that could hurt your chances of winning. It doesn’t need that level of handholding per se, but the feeling of “accidentally” doing something terrible while the rest of the run was going well is truly awful. I guess the solution for me is to play a bit slower, as there is no timer on when you take your actions.
- Damage sticks to your fallen companions | The game is already pretty challenging and you’ll need to protect your hero at all costs, which means throwing an ally in the way. If they survive the onslaught, you can drag them back to your library to heal them, but if they die, they’ll start the next round with only a sliver of their health.
What we Disliked
- Hard | It can feel a bit unfair if you’re facing bosses that can kill your hero in a single hit and you just so happen to have built a snow combo deck and they have protection from snowballs (which should stall their next turn, but now it doesn’t). I didn’t really mind dying early on in the run, but I was missing an option to permanently upgrade my main hero’s health, just to be able to take 1 or 2 extra hits. I feel like simply having a slightly higher health on your main hero would go a long way.
How long to beat the story | No clue, I haven’t reached the end of a run (don’t know if there is one)
How long to complete | It’s a rough guess, but you’ll probably need a good 20+ hours or so to collect everything.
You’ll love this game if you like these | Hearthstone, Roguebook, Slay The Spire
Nothing explains a game as well as seeing it in action, so here is some gameplay:
Wildfrost is a welcome surprise that comes in an addictive package. The cute designs lure you in but then the game proceeds to kick your shiny gnome tush with its unforgiving difficulty. But that’s OK, because a new run is just a few clicks away and who knows, this might be the one!
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Robby lives and breathes video games. When he’s not playing them, he’s talking about them on social media or convincing other people to pick up a controller themselves. He’s online so often, he could practically list the internet as his legal domicile. Belgian games-industry know-it-all.