The Frostrune review
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The Frostrune review

Our Review by Campbell Bird on February 6th, 2017
Rating: starstarstarhalfstarblankstar :: ESCAPE THE RUNE
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This puzzle/adventure game has some beautiful art, but its puzzles leave a bit to be desired.

Developer: Snow Cannon Games

Price: $4.99
Version: 1.0
App Reviewed on: iPad Air 2

Graphics/Sound Rating: starstarstarstarhalfstar
User Interface Rating: starstarstarhalfstarblankstar
Gameplay Rating: starstarstarhalfstarblankstar
Replay Value Rating: starstarstarblankstarblankstar

Overall Rating: starstarstarhalfstarblankstar

The Frostrune is a adventure/puzzle game much in the same vein as The Room or Agent A. You play as a young Viking woman who finds herself shipwrecked on a mysterious island, and you take it upon yourself to uncover this mystery by solving puzzles along the way. While The Frostrune certainly looks incredible, it doesn't quite nail the tried-and-true puzzle design formula of games that came before it.

A cold intro

The premise of The Frostrune, and other games like it, is that you are trapped in a place and you must gather items and solve puzzles to escape or move onto the next area. This makes for a game that feels a lot like a first-person point-and-click adventure game, though with little to no character interaction.

Instead of being trapped in a room, house, or other indoor location, The Frostrune differentiates itself by taking place on an island that you've shipwrecked on. Without giving anything away, you'll quickly notice that something is amiss on the island, and you're basically the only one there that can do anything about it.

Viking venture

The neatest thing about The Frostrune is just how far the game goes in its Norse/Viking theme. Puzzles revolve around mythology, interacting with spirits, and wandering between beautifully rendered Scandinavian scenes. Even the sound in the game creates a cold and foreboding atmosphere that matches the game's visuals perfectly.

If you're not too up on your Viking mythology or stuck wondering where to go next, The Frostrune also provides a pretty nifty Hint menu, which helps keep the game from ever getting frustrating. I do wish the hints that the game provided weren't quite so explicit about what to do next, but I still think it's better than they're in the game as-is than not at all.

Frosty to the finish

I say that it's better to have the hints in The Frostrune be explicit than non-existent mostly because the game is pretty confusing. Across its puzzle design, environmental layout, and narrative, I consistently had issues with understanding The Frostrune and what I was supposed to do, where things were, and what I was doing all of these things for.

Because of this confusion, I was left a little cold by the end of The Frostrune. I accomplished the goal I had set out to do, but wasn't entirely sure what that goal was until I accomplished it. Along the way, I also found myself struggling to remember where things were located and depending on the Hint menu to get me through.

The bottom line

As much as The Frostrune evokes excellent “puzzle room”-style games, it doesn't quite match the high standards set by games that came before it. It still offers a lot of the same puzzling action, but doesn't quite do so with the clarity to make what you're doing feel purposeful or satisfying. If you're looking for a game like this and have played the rest, The Frostrune will definitely scratch that itch. Otherwise, I would recommend just checking out some of the greatest hits of the genre instead.

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