In this Tribes of Midgard Review Impressions, we’re going to take a look at the new rogue-lite survival Action-RPG that’s inspired by Norse Mythology and Ragnarok. Tribes of Midgard is developed by Norsfell and published by Gearbox Publishing. It’s available on PC via Steam, Playstation 4, and Playstation 5. Tribes of Midgard features interesting mechanics, which will keep you invested for hours on end whether you’re playing solo or with 9 other players. The question is, is the game worth it? We’ll talk about this and a lot more!
Tribes of Midgard Review Impressions: A Refreshingly Chaotic Survival ARPG
- Genre: Action-survival RPG
- Developed by: Norsfell
- Published by: Gearbox Publishing
- Release date: July 27th, 2021
- Platforms: PC (Code Provided by Norsfell)
- Price at the time of review: 19.99 USD for the Standard Edition and 29.99 USD for the Deluxe Edition
Tribes of Midgard Review Impressions: Story and Setting
Tribes of Midgard draws heavily from Norse Mythology, specifically the prophesied and cataclysmic event known as Ragnarok, the end of the world. During this time, harsh and long winters ensue together with the emergence of demons and giants as they seek to fight the gods for domination.
In Tribes of Midgard, events that ultimately lead to Ragnarok happen a bit differently. After forging the nine realms, the gods decided to spread the seeds of the World Tree, Yggdrasil, in the hopes of preventing its annihilation, which would then lead to their downfall. Little did they know…
Meanwhile, in Midgard, the humans who found themselves in possession of these seeds, took great care of them for years as they harnessed its true potential. Unfortunately, Yggdrasil became weaker by the day, which led to the invasion of legendary beasts as well as other mythical creatures from Asgard.
As a mighty viking from Valhalla or the Einherjar, you’ve been tasked by the gods to go back to Midgard to fight these cosmic beings. You also have to protect the Seed of Yggdrasil at all costs in order to prevent the end of times. Do you have what it takes to survive?
Although the premise of Tribes of Midgard is rich, there isn’t much in the way of story telling. In your Journal, you have sections providing adequate backgrounds on each of the bosses you’ll face, and characters who either inhabit your village to help protect the Seed of Yggdrasil or those who sell other resources, but that’s about it. This is due to the developer’s primary focus, which is the gameplay. You’ll immediately notice it when you begin exploring Midgard.
Midgard has several biomes, each with its unique resources, enemies and challenges. You’ll come across beaches, forests and frozen waters that require you to equip special gear to stay alive. Because of this and the game’s procedurally-generated layouts, I found myself thoroughly enjoying exploring Midgard a lot more than I expected. Every encounter remains refreshing and exciting without any dull moments in between.
Tribes of Midgard Review Impressions: Gameplay and Combat
The ultimate goal in Tribes of Midgard is to defend the Seed of Yggdrasil from doom by preserving its ‘soul’. At the beginning, the tree, which is located at the center of your village, has a defined number of souls or HP. This is reduced when it gets attacked by the enemies of Asgard. You can then gain souls and replenish it by engaging in various activities such as chopping trees, mining minerals, looting treasure chests, and killing monsters.
There’s also a day and night cycle. During the day, you can opt to freely explore Midgard to collect resources and to enhance the defenses of your village in preparation for the dreaded night time. At night, you have to fight against and ward off Helthings that seek to destroy the seed.
Amidst all of this chaos, mighty giants or Jötunns will also attempt to invade your village, regardless of the time. There are four Jötunns to contend with as they appear randomly in the map, and each of them specializes in dealing Ice, Dark, Fire and Thunder Damage. As such, it’s essential to identify their tells and to slay them as soon as possible because they can be overwhelming to deal with in the long run.
Saga and Survival Modes
Tribes of Midgard has two game modes, namely Saga and Survival. Saga Mode is story-driven and is the shorter of the two, lasting for 2+ hours and is therefore best suited for those who have limited free time. It features main quests that guide you before slaying the Saga Boss at the end or experiencing Fimbulwinter, which is an endless night cycle. Saga Mode also has side quests, which provide you additional avenues to earn more souls and extra resources.
To keep things fresh and interesting, Norsfell will be releasing seasonal updates known as Sagas, which introduces new bosses, seasonal rewards, and more. This is also applicable to the Survival Mode.
The Survival Mode, on the other hand, is your typical survival game type where your goal is to stay alive for as many days as possible. It does offer some degree of control since this mode lets you choose the number of players you wish to play with, how small or big the map should be, and how difficult resource gathering and monster slaying ought to feel like. You can even lower the Seed of Yggdrasil’s rate of decay if you want to make the session challenging.
Between the two modes, I’ve played and enjoyed the Saga Mode more not because the Survival Mode isn’t as compelling, but due to how guided it felt in relation to the quests you had to do. Plus, it’s shorter. You are also able to unlock rewards here that are tied to your account’s progression such as classes, and recipes. This encourages you to play more in order to craft better gear or to build durable defenses to keep enemies at bay.
I love logging in every time to see what I’ve earned because this lets me start each world on a better footing than the previous sessions. As your account’s level increases, you gain Starter Kits that automatically provide you with basic tools to cut down trees and to gather minerals, but the rewards aren’t limited to these kits. In fact, you can get predefined runes that enhance your attributes, golden horns to obtain random runes, and cosmetics. This game is designed to incentivize you to play more in order to gain better rewards.
Classes and Character Progression
In terms of classes, you immediately have the Ranger and Warrior available to you right from the very start. You then unlock the other six such as the Guardian, Sentinel and Warden by completing challenges in the Saga Mode. For instance, to gain access to the Guardian, you have to defeat 3 Jötnars in a single session. Every time you level up, you gain 1 blessing point, which lets you first choose your class for that run. Afterwards, you can then allocate points into your skill tree.
Having done extensive runs on both the Ranger and Warrior, I can say that they’re fun classes to play as because of how different and unique their abilities are. The Ranger focuses on Ranged Attacks using a bow to accurately target their foes with great speed and agility. Meanwhile, the Warrior delivers strong Melee Attacks and even dabbles in Mana generation to inflict powerful blows against enemies.
When it comes to character progression, know that they’re tied to the world, which means that when the seed gets ravaged, your character dies with it. You lose all of the Weapons and Armor you’ve crafted as well as the fortifications you’ve built. Unlike in Don’t Starve Together though, there’s no permadeath so if you get killed by enemies, you can still continue playing. You’ll just have to search for the chest that contains the loot you’ve dropped within a certain timeframe. There’s a caveat to this, however, since you’ll lose all of the souls you’ve collected so it’s important to know when to fight or to flee from encounters.
In spite of this, character progression feels good because you have the chance to get back up on your feet to do what you have to. You’re not punished too badly for dying because you can still retrieve your loot and you have enough time to gather souls again. This is where Tribes of Midgard sets itself apart from other survival games. It’s beginner-friendly and it doesn’t heavily penalize you for making mistakes. In fact, it encourages you to learn from them so you can do better in your succeeding runs.
Tribes of Midgard’s combat focuses on dealing with encroaching enemies in the form of Helthings and Jötunns, which are hell-bent on destroying the Seed of Yggdrasil. If you’re playing solo, you have villagers stationed around the area who will help you to eliminate these creatures. You can give them souls to level them up in order to improve their abilities.
You’ll have to level up your character and upgrade your Weapons and Armor for these encounters, otherwise, you or the World Tree will perish at their hands. With the resources you’ve gathered, you can also fortify your village by installing gates and archer towers to keep these hostiles from entering. Additionally, there are other monsters like goblins and archers that roam around the world. You’ll have to kill them for souls and treasures, which contain unique items that you can use to craft better gear.
Tribes of Midgard is a roguelite, survival ARPG, which isn’t as fast-paced as Hades nor Diablo, and isn’t as tough to manage as the rest of the survival games out there. What it aims to achieve is to gradually integrate the player into the world of Midgard without bombarding them with too many details. And it greatly succeeds in doing so.
The game is streamlined in such a way that you don’t need to stress over your character’s hunger issues, but not too simplistic that it loses its survival appeal. It does a great job at nudging the players to go out and to fight all of these evil monsters to strengthen the World Tree.
What makes the combat so much fun is the random surprises and challenges that you encounter along the way without knowing about the next encounters. Because it’s a rogue-lite, you do retain some progress, albeit slightly, that you can continue to use in your succeeding runs.
I love how well character progression ties in to combat so much so that you really feel that you’re learning and growing every time, regardless of the seed’s death. This is what the repetitive nature of Tribes of Midgard does – it rewards you for your time and effort without punishing you so much that you’ll end up dropping the controller after just a few runs.
Gathering Resources and Crafting
When it comes to gathering resources and crafting, these survival systems have been optimized like I mentioned before. Although you don’t have checkpoints like in Don’t Starve Together where you can stay anywhere as long as there’s a light source, you do have fast travel points at farther areas of the map so you can travel back to your village as soon as the night cycle begins.
Furthermore, you can acquire gear from exploring but you’ll often have to level up your villagers first before crafting and upgrading to better equipment. You’ll also need to time this well while strategically employing it in your schedule, otherwise, you’ll find the majority of encounters overwhelming.
Tribes of Midgard Review Impressions: Audio, Visual and Design
Next is Tribes of Midgard’s audio in terms of the sound effects, music, and voice overs. When it comes to sound effects and music, these aspects aren’t by any means stellar. It does the job of conveying a thrilling atmosphere in relation to engaging combat but nothing more than that. What is pretty impressive though, is how Norsfell created their own language to tell their version of Ragnarok. But you’ll find less dialogue in this game than usual as it focuses more on RPG and survival strategies.
Tribes of Midgard’s visuals are stunning with its bright, popping colors and cell-shaded design that makes the world feel light. It’s much more inviting and is therefore appealing on many levels. As such, you’ll notice how the entire world design is centered around highlighting magical and fantasy adventures, which pair very well with the game’s mechanics. Tribes of Midgard doesn’t take itself too seriously, making it all the more fun.
From a technical standpoint, I only encountered a minor issue when it came to claiming a challenge reward in the menu section but other than that, I didn’t experience any stutters nor bugs in the game.
Tribes of Midgard Review Impressions: Replayability and Multiplayer
Tribes of Midgard features a Saga Mode, which can take more than 10 hours to complete depending on how fast you adapt to its challenges. But with the biomes and dungeons waiting to be explored over and over again, it can take over 20 hours. Meanwhile, the Survival Mode surely exceeds that number.
In terms of replayability, Tribes of Midgard doesn’t fall short. It’s procedurally-generated maps provide versatile ways to survive in the world. Furthermore, replayability is heightened when you play with friends given how chaotic and crazy the coordination is in order to succeed. This significantly boosts your playtime. The game has a matchmaking option and its difficulty auto-scales based on the number of players in the session, which continues to make it balanced.
Tribes of Midgard Review Impressions: Pricepoint
Tribes of Midgard is priced at USD 19.99 for the Standard Edition or the base game, and USD 29.99 for the Deluxe Edition, which includes cosmetics like Armor sets and pets. Although there are no microtransactions in the game that affect gameplay, there are cosmetics in the Shop to spend money on if you’re interested.
Tribes of Midgard Review Impressions: Final Thoughts
Tribes of Midgard is a refreshing take on the survival genre because of its streamlined approach to base-building and character progression. As a rogue-lite, it retains its charm, which incentivizes you to keep going because of the rewards you’ll end up keeping along the way. It doesn’t brutally punish you for making mistakes and it encourages you to try new ways to stay alive.
Tribes of Midgard is without question a worthy purchase whether you’re playing solo or with friends. It’s a very fun RPG that heavily highlights coordination, teamwork and strategies as the main factors for success. I can’t wait for the upcoming seasons as well, and how these updates will shake the game in the next few months.
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