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Roots Of Yggdrasil is a upcoming Rogue-like, city builder game with deck building elements. The game was initially conceived as Kickstarter project, and received a demo early last year. Roots Of Yggdrasil is developed by ManaVoid Entertainment, and published by ManaVoid Entertainment & Indie Asylum. Now with the game releasing into Early Access on January 24, 2024, we got a chance to get some time and take a deeper look into what the game offers now.

Post Ragnarok

Roots Of Yggdrasil is set in a world/universe/cosmo post-Ragnarok. The world has been shred into smaller pieces and some of them have essence of the world tree. Your task is to use your special ship and your crew to collect as many of those essence and seed so you can repair the world once more. You jump from island to island in a race against Ginnungagap (the all consuming fog of nothingness). If you fail, you reborn to start again with better knowledge and some upgrade.

Among your crew are a couple of companions, and once you unlock your base. You have the option of taking one of them with you. There are permanent upgrades that you can affect on your base across your time loops and also some rewards based on your trust level with those companions. The personalities of the crew members are mostly stereotypical in nature, and nothing really stands out.

Race Against Turns

The basic gameplay loop of Roots Of Yggdrasil involves you landing on an island, and collecting as many seeds of the World Tree as you can, before you can move on to the next island.

Each island in turn is procedurally generated. And unfolds as you collect essential resources, of which they are 3. Might, which is used for exploration and revealing paths and new sections of the map. Supplies, which are critical in constructing new buildings. An Aether, a magical resource which is useful in executing special bonuses and abilities.

You can construct buildings in a turn, but the resource gain from those buildings happens in the next turn, where you can actually spend them. Each building, artifact and ability that you can use per turn is depicted as a card. You can get new cards each turn and can only build buildings that your cards allow each turn as well. Together, this creates a need of planning your construction and a race condition with Ginnungagap, as each island gives you a limited number of turns to clear it and move on.

The island maps themselves resolve as grid-less. Though I felt that was more of a hindrance than a feature. You are not really sure if a building you want to build would fit into a space, especially since some buildings vary in size depending on how many of them you have built. As a consequence, placement can get tricky, since some buildings get a buff if they are near other buildings, and sometimes  you think you can place a building but it turns out you cannot.

The Cozyness Of Apocalypse

Its difficult to judge a game on its technical aspect when you have the pre Early Access build to base your opinion on. Having said I will give it a try.

For a game where the setting is that your in a survival race against Nothingness itself, Roots Of Yggdrasil has a surprisingly chill vibe.

The visual design choices are soft and easy on the eyes with soothing colours and smooth edges. The background music too kind of blends into the well background as you go about your next turn. It can get a little intense when Ginnungagap starts appearing on the maps and gaping away at thing turn after turn, but for the first few turns it feels like a Viking Themed Star Dew Valley.

As of right now, there is no voice acting in the game. And the lines themselves do seem very cookie cutter stuff. Definitely room of improvement in that area.

I spent about 5-6 hours with the game, and most of them on the Steam Deck in the desktop mode (Steam is still unsure of it compatibility with it). But the game never crashed and went along without any major crashes, which is a very good sign for the upcoming Early Access.

Initial Impressions

Roots Of Yggdrasil, is a nexus of turn based, deck building, and rogue like mechanics that you don’t see everyday. And its ability to swap in serenity for intensity as part of each run is commendable. There are some places for improvements though, including making the RNG of the building cards more forgiving, and telegraphing building space in a better way. However in its current form, Roots Of Yggdrasil reaks of potential, and I would recommend it to anyone who is like card games, or city building, or rogue-like or turn based games.

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