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Nordic Ashes: Survivors of Ragnarok – Review
Nordic Ashes: Survivors of Ragnarok – ReviewIt’s not really surprising anymore that when a certain game becomes a huge success, other developers try to mimic the formula and try to rake in the cash as well. Vampire Survivors is such a game, as it put a whole new genre on the map, and many others tried to copy the experience, albeit with a few original mechanics here and there. There are quite a few interesting Survivors games out there, but also very crummy ones like Hero Survival, a title we reviewed a while ago. The subject of today’s review is also a Survivors title, namely Nordic Ashes: Survivors of Ragnarok, which has been in Early Access for a while but is now getting a full release. What at first seemed like another clone became one of the genre’s best titles. Story Nordic Ashes comes without an actual storyline to play through, which is also not uncommon for the genre. You do get small character bios in the character select screen, and you’ll also know a lot of the bosses you’ll be facing as they are based on Norse mythology. We didn’t really miss the absence of a story, and we already appreciated that all the characters came with a short description. The levels progress in a logical sense, as the gods always become stronger the more stages you complete. Graphics For the most part, Survivors of Ragnarok is an extremely colorful game. You’ll be treated to almost flash-like visuals, without the game looking as cheap as all those older browser games. The characters are quite diverse, and most of them come with a few additional outfits, ensuring even more variety in terms of designs. The enemy designs are also unique for all of the different biomes, and each biome has a handful of enemy models. Each of the stages also has a specific theme, once again adding more variety to the mix. As this is a Survivors-like title, you can expect your screen to be filled with projectiles and other special effects. These also look very good for the most part, but the further you progress in the game, the more your screen will get cluttered. Thanks to upgrades your projectiles may get bigger, and this may cause you to lose your overview and enemies may sneak in a few hits due to this. To remedy this, you can tweak the effect transparency settings, or even turn the effects off altogether. Sound Overall, the sound design isn’t too bad. You’ll be treated to fairly cinematic music, but it’s somewhat overshadowed by the many attack SFX that will occur when avoiding all the enemies around you. The SFX are also quite decent, albeit nothing too fancy to write home about. This is one of those games where the soundtrack and SFX don’t really matter too much. Even so, what was present was still quite good. Gameplay Nordic Ashes: Survivors of Ragnarok is in many ways a Vampire Survivors clone, albeit a polished one with enough original items to ensure that it has its own identity. This essentially means you’ll be playing through short stages, roughly around half an hour, to survive as long as possible or to kill the boss at the end of the stages. You’ll also be able to play through Daily Challenges with fixed conditions, or you can aim for high scores online, or even see how long you can survive in the Nightmare mode. Even so, we spent the bulk of our time playing through the Adventure Mode and Daily Challenges. After investing roughly sixty hours into the game, we still have not unlocked everything it has to offer in terms of relics (weapons and power-ups) and passive upgrades in the Yggdrasil skill tree. As stated above, the game follows the same format as Vampire Survivors and its many clones. It’s clear that Nordic Ashes is inspired by the title that sparked off the popularity of the Survivors genre, but it also does many original things to clearly show that this is not a mere copy. The weapon diversity is off the charts, and not a single run felt the same thanks to this. The same goes for the characters, who all have different relics to mess around with. Of course, the game does allow you to reroll certain relic options at the designated rest space in between waves, but it’s highly unlikely that you can aim for the same combo for each run. In the small sanctuary, you can buy new relics, but we do have to be honest that some are just never any good. There’s a certain imbalance and there are quite a few that are a lot more effective than others. After each run, you’ll be rewarded with the seeds you have gathered during your run, as well as leaves. Seeds can be turned into leaves, and leaves can in turn unlock new passive bonuses in the aforementioned Yggdrasil skill tree. It’s all very straightforward. In terms of progress, you do notice the difference when you start unlocking more and more passive bonuses. You can, for example, already start off with skill points you can use to level up your relics during a run to give you an early boost. Other options include dealing more damage, having a faster attack speed, gathering more gold on pick-up, and so on. It’s fun to mess around with, and you’ll also have five tabs in the Yggdrasil skill tree, allowing you to try out different builds for your passive upgrades. You’ll have to do quite some grinding to be able to unlock everything on the skill tree, but you’ll be more than halfway there if you complete all the stages on the highest difficulty with all available characters. Not all characters are available from the start, and some have very specific unlock requirements. This does create an incentive to approach several runs in a different way, adding some additional variation to the experience. Conclusion Nordic Ashes: Survivors of Ragnarok is a great Survivors title, and might possibly be one of the best ones out there. The game offers a lot of content by adding a lot of different characters and relics to the mix. After plowing through the game’s main content, it’s a lot of fun to test your skills in the other modes, and even the Daily Challenge keeps things fresh. If you’re a fan of the genre, you’ll have a blast with this one.
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