Image: Gearbox / Norsefell Games
I wanted to like Tribes of Midgard. It has a great style, with wonderful visuals that feel ripped off from an old painting. Combat is fun and responsive. But it also incorporates some of the worst parts of roguelikes and survival games and quickly becomes repetitive, with little payoff or progression.
Posted by Gearbox Publishing and developed by Norsfell Games, Tribes of Midgard is a top-down roguelike action-survival RPG. In it, you play the role of a – give me a second here – Einherjar, a viking who has passed away and gone to Valhalla. But, when evil forces rise up to destroy Yggdrasil, one second by searching on Google, the ancient Norse gods send you to protect the seeds of the tree of life from the armies of monsters and giants.
Every night, waves of enemies arrive to destroy the seed, and you must fend off the growls as you track down massive and powerful giants who have very bad intentions towards your seed. As epic as it sounds, most of your time in Tribes of Midgard will be spent chopping down trees, collecting rocks, and “heroically” beating packs of wolves to death.
Do you like running to chop down trees, mine rocks, and farm enemies for resources? No? Well, how about losing all of your progress when you die, with nothing to show? Unfortunately, Tribes of Midgard tries to combine the pitfalls of the survival game with a roguelike foundation, but ends up grabbing the worse and more boring parts of the two.
Screenshot: Norsefell / Kotaku Games
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You will need to gather a lot of resources to improve your small village, the merchants that live there, and the equipment you need to survive. But even when you’ve had enough, building is mostly a frustrating waste of time. Building things is finicky, rarely helpful, and sometimes just doesn’t work. I would often try to build a ramp to get to a higher part of the map, only for the ledge to prevent my viking from progressing. But you probably won’t even build anything because the resources are so scarce you can’t get enough of them.
You can play Midgard solo or with up to nine other players. Of the 12 or so hours that I played, much of it was on my own, and some with random online players participated via matchmaking. I can say with confidence that Midgard was not designed for solo. It’s technically doable, but not a lot of fun. As the game gets more difficult, you will need astronomical amounts of resources to keep progressing. The amounts of scarce resources required by sword and armor upgrades shocked me. Farming for this stuff takes time, and as a single player that’s a problem. Every night you must return to your village to protect it from the monsters, lest they destroy your seed and end your game.
With other players, Midgard becomes more chaotic, a little easier, and more enjoyable. Watching nearly a dozen Vikings run around a large procedurally generated map is a joke, and even without voice or text chat, I’ve often found having more players around made it easier to upgrade the village. and multitasking. I have encountered some online combat lag; Generally tight and responsive, the fights got a bit more floaty and boring with 10 people playing together. But I made so much more progress as a tribal member than alone, the compromise was worth it.
The ultimate reason I will probably stop playing Tribes of Midgard is what happens after you lose.
Many of my runs would take over an hour to reach an end point. A few shots closer to three. Midgard is a difficult game and often ends when a giant rushes into your village and destroys the seed before you can intervene. Being a roguelike, death is an expected part of the cycle.
Screenshot: Norsefell / Kotaku Games
However, Tribes of Midgard, unlike so many recent roguelike hits, doesn’t offer true meta-progression or permanent unlocking or upgrading for all of your hard work. A battle pass for the current season allows you to unlock Starter Kits, but most of them are only useful in the first 20 minutes or so of a race. For example, a starter kit gives you shoddy weapons that you will quickly overtake every time you start over. The rest of the Battle Pass consists of cosmetics and parts to unlock more cosmetics and other less useful rewards.
Considering how long the games can take, how much repetitive farming for resources you do in just one of these races, and how difficult things can get after a few nights, be prepared to spend hours and hours wasting. . I’d be more into this if I made any further progress, but you only have memories of all this trouble. There’s no narrative that moves forward with every loss, and no abilities you can improve between races to help you dodge the first bullshit and move forward faster. It sounds like a weirdly old way of doing a roguelike that also ignores the big innovations that games like Hades and Rogue Legacy have brought to the generation over the past decade.
All the pain points add up and it’s hard to feel like an epic Viking half-warrior saving the world. Instead, I often feel like an overworked, underpaid mercenary who is asked to spin more plates while finding more plates to rotate. Then a big bully knocks over all my plates, steals my hard-earned gear, and tells me to start over. It’s not a lot of fun, and that’s a shame, because while Tribes of Midgard looks great, it’s mostly a frustrating mess.
Article source https://kotaku.com/12-hours-with-2021s-latest-big-viking-game-1847388392