Wildfrost review
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Wildfrost review

Our Review by Campbell Bird on April 24th, 2024
Rating: starstarstarstarblankstar :: RIMELAND ROGUELITE
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This roguelite deckbuilder isn’t perfect on mobile but it has enough charm and novelty to make it worth playing.

Developer: Chucklefish Limited

Price: Free
Version: 1.1.2
App Reviewed on: iPad Pro

Graphics/Sound Rating: starstarstarstarstar
User Interface Rating: starstarstarhalfstarblankstar
Gameplay Rating: starstarstarstarblankstar
Replay Value Rating: starstarstarstarstar

Overall Rating: starstarstarstarblankstar

Wildfrost is an easy game to fall in love with. What I mean by that every little aspect of the game has its own little charming flourish to it. You might not be able to appreciate all of those nitty gritty details on a phone screen, but on larger displays Wildfrost is one of the most polished deckbuilders you can find on the App Store.

Cold cards

The core concept of Wildfrost is hardly new. In it, you customize a deck full of units, abilities, and more to battle through increasingly difficult stages in an effort to reach and defeat a final boss. As you try and fail a bunch (and occasionally succeed), you'll unlock new cards or factions to add more variety to each playthrough.

There are definitely some significant ways in which Wildfrost reworks this idea into something unique, though. Combat takes place across two lanes and involves unit cards that have their own timers that tick down every turn before attacking and using their abilities, for example.

Friendly frosts

The main thing that jumps out about Wildfrost is just how nice it looks, feels, and sounds. Everything is bright, colorful, and full of expression, and there's a ton of little animation or design touches that bring its flat cards to life. I also want to shoutout the game's superb soundtrack, which is something I don't think I've ever said about a deckbuilding roguelite before.

All of this attention to detail extends to more technical aspects of Wildfrost as well. The game runs at an extremely smooth frame rate all the way up to 120 frames per second and its cloud saving system is among the best I've experienced, with progress syncing between devices nearly instantly.

Icy edges

As charming as I do find the vast majority of playing Wildfrost, there are a few things that I found slightly troubling in my time with it. The first (and most significant) is that it is awfully difficult to see and read cards on certain devices like my iPhone SE. If you have a larger phone, I could see this being a non-issue, but I found myself only really feeling sort of comfortable playing on my phone after simply memorizing what most cards do, and only then only playing the first few opening stages before things get too complicated.

And this brings me to my second point: deep runs in Wildfrost can be very infuriating due to a certain degree of randomness, some ambiguous card text, and the high degree of complexity that doesn't always play well with an occasionally finicky control scheme. There are multiple times during my time with Wildfrost where I lost entire runs because a card didn't operate the way I thought it would, or an attempt to read a card resulted in playing it. If there were some way to confirm card plays or have an undo button, most of this would be a non-issue. It's also something that becomes less of a problem the more you play, though that's mostly because you end up learning how to avoid these things the hard way.

The bottom line

There is an extremely high bar set for roguelites on mobile--particularly deckbuilding ones--and Wildfrost manages to clear it despite some pain points in its design. This is thanks mostly due to the game's impeccable style that makes spending more time with it a complete delight.

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