Survive and Thrive
Kefir!’s Frostborn: Coop Survival isn’t this studio’s first survival game. They’ve released a mixture of high fantasy and apocalyptic games in the past. The difference with Frostborn is that survival is not the only genre present. By using the history and lore of the Vikings, Kefir! was able to create a game that successfully merged the genres of survival and civilization building. Playing as one of the immortal heroes of Frostborn: Coop Survival will definitely lead to hours of engaging fun.
In Frostborn: Coop Survival, you play a chosen hero who will save the world from the wrath of Hel, the Norse death goddess. However, this is not the usual tired trope. The game deviates from the formulaic chosen one plot by adding more than one chosen one. As it’s an open-world game, all the other players you encounter are immortals. As immortals, they can fight against the goddess Hel without having to worry about permanently remaining dead. Each time they’re killed by Hel or one of her minions, they come back to life instantly.
The story begins with all the Norse gods disappearing, save for the goddess of death. The game isn’t clear on exactly how long ago the gods vanished, but they’re gone by the time the player appears. It’s been long enough that the Norse have all banded together in order to survive without their gods. Though this has proven difficult as Hel’s magic has tainted all the rivers and her zombie-like creatures have ravaged the land, making rain the only viable drinking water.
Here’s where you come in. Seeking survivors, you come across a Norse settlement. The local shaman recognizes you as one of the destined immortals and sends you on quests to build your settlement. The settlement isn’t solely for your benefit but for people to rally around you for safety. Many have been displaced because of Hel’s machinations and are currently starving. As an immortal, you become their leader and protect them. In turn, they help you complete the shaman’s quests. These quests eventually lead you to leave the Norse homelands and travel across the seas to invade England and France for resources. The ease in which you collect these resources depends on which class you decide to main.
At the start of the game, you will be prompted to complete basic class selection and minor character customization panels. The customization is limited to gender, hair color, hairstyle, and skin color. There’s the option to fight as either a warrior, a bowman, or a curer. Each class follows a simplified skill tree; for example, the warrior class leads to a berserker subclass and the curer can lead to a shaman subclass. More classes can be unlocked as you level up and complete various quests.
What makes Frostborn: Coop Survival stand out is the fact that you can change your class during gameplay. There is an option to switch between the three main classes and the subsequent subclasses as they are unlocked. This is a boon for both solo players and group players. While there is a lag of a few seconds in between changing classes, nothing else in the game is affected. No equipment or resources are lost throughout this process unless you are attacked while changing classes. However, your equipment’s inherent lack of durability makes fighting more frustrating than dying sometimes. What good is a sword if you can only get one good swing out of it?
Durability and PvP
The lack of durability of the weapons and equipment is the biggest downside to Frostborn: Coop Survival. While there is the option to buy equipment from the game store, none of the options are durable. Weapons and equipment durability go down every time they are used in either combat or resource gathering. If weapons and equipment aren’t bought from the store, they need to be consistently crafted by the player after gathering enough resources. There is the option to craft more powerful weapons than just a spear or knife, but the durability issues don’t make these options viable. You will waste more resources crafting easily damaged weapons than the amount of resources you gathered.
While an annoyance, this isn’t as much of an issue for players who ally themselves with others. Since there is the option for cooperative playing, many strategies can solve this issue. Players can take turns in resource gathering and monster hunting to even out the discrepancies. For solo players, this means maintaining an eagle eye on both resources and equipment.
While searching for resources, you’ll find areas of the world that are marked as “no PvP”. So, there is no option for solo players to play privately or even for group players to enter a private game. Unfortunately, once players begin the quests that involve entering PvP areas, “tomb campers” kill and loot lower leveled players repeatedly. To make matters worse, no time limit is set in place when raiding the settlements of other players; therefore, a player can have their settlement completely wiped out within 20 minutes.
Even with all the drawbacks, it is important to keep in mind is that Frostborn: Coop Survival is still in its beta. The developers have acknowledged the durability and PvP issues brought up by players. Aside from those two issues, there’s nothing that can hamper the enjoyment of this Viking inspired game.
Is it Hardcore?
Frostborn: Coop Survival is a mobile adventure game that ticks all the boxes. Kefir! brings into play all the pros of a civilization builder while still maintaining a balance with the fight for survival. However, it has its downsides. The durability issue of the equipment can be an annoyance. Additionally, the PvP and raiding issues can be a pain, but not enough to kill the enjoyment of the game. The flexibility of changing your class in-game was an exciting addition that makes for interesting gameplay and flexible strategies. All in all, it’s a game you’ll definitely want to keep your eye on.