Tribes of Midgard – Review
Follow Genre: Action role-playing survival game
Developer: Norsfell
Publisher: Gearbox Publishing
Platforms: PC, PS4, PS5
Tested on: PS4

Tribes of Midgard – Review

Site Score
6.0
Good: Unique concept for a co-op title, Music design is nice
Bad: Very repetitive, Playing with strangers is beyond frustrating
User Score
8.0
(2 votes)
Click to vote
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 8.0/10 (2 votes cast)

When searching for the words to describe Tribes of Midgard, you’ll quickly find yourself at a loss. Action role-playing survival seems to be what the developers are going with, so we’ll borrow that for the time being, even if it doesn’t feel entirely accurate. In reality, this game is a weird blend of co-op mayhem with tower defense and roguelike elements thrown into the mix. And; as unique as that sounds, it’s also the type of game that needs a lot of balancing to get right.

Story

As the title might have made you expect, Tribes of Midgard is based around Norse mythology. In these myths, Midgard is essentially Earth (or at least the realm humans live in). In Tribes of Midgard, the end of the world has already dawned upon us. All that is keeping the scattered human tribes alive are seeds of the tree of life, Yggdrasil, that have been planted at the heart of human towns. With foul beasts roaming the land, these trees are in constant danger and the gods have sent heroes down from Valhalla to help protect them. You are one of these heroes.

The story is laid out in the opening cutscene and is slightly expanded on in the tutorial, but it then loses basically all relevance. The nature of this game just doesn’t rely on the plot, though what is there can be interesting for people already enamored with Norse mythology.

Graphics

The isometric 3D look of Tribes of Midgard is functional but basic. It looks nice, there are enough details for the game to stand out from the many others with similar graphics and the designs of NPCs and enemies are imaginative while remaining in sync with the mythological lore. Sadly, the camera controls leave something to be desired and you can’t zoom in or out as smoothly as this game would require. While the maps are randomly generated and very big, all the environments are basically the same with a little bit of color and plant variation. In the grander scheme of things, this is a letdown.

Soundtrack

The music in Tribes of Midgard stands on its own quite nicely, fitting the game’s theme and overall feel. You can expect the accompanying soundtrack to be sufficiently epic as you take on giant Jötnar in battle. While the game itself is not completely voiced, the opening cutscene is, and the characters also have a pretty decent amount of voiced lines scattered throughout when interacting with them. What’s more, they aren’t spoken in English, but in a special mix of Icelandic and Swedish that the devs called High Midgardian. This is a great touch if you care for immersion.

Gameplay

Tribes of Midgard is an action role-playing survival game with a high focus on co-op. You can technically play it solo but we’ll be explaining in a bit why that might not be the best idea (at least not for now). Valhalla serves as a hub, which is basically the main menu of the game where you can customize your character and jump into a round of the game, which we’ll be naming a run. Each run should last an hour or two depending on your game style.

During a run, you drop down onto Midgard with nothing but some clothes on your back and up to nine other people. Your group will be tasked with protecting the town’s tree while collecting resources that can be used to craft stronger weapons and armor, or build defenses. The game has a day-night cycle, where the day is the perfect time for you to gather and gear up, explore caves, and wander around. When night falls, however, hordes of enemies will appear and try to destroy your seed of Yggdrasil, meaning you’ll have to defend it. Each night, these enemies get stronger, and mini-bosses in the form of the Jötnar will also start making their way to your tribe, spawning randomly and forming a bigger threat. The ultimate goal of the run is to spawn and destroy the final boss of the game. Once you do this, a run will be counted as completed.

These runs reward you with in-game currency, even when you fail, but you’ll need it to upgrade your character and buy improved basic gear that you spawn with. There are also cosmetic items you can buy, of which a lot of them are purchasable with real money, though they don’t do anything except look nice. This is all pretty basic stuff, though the game tries to diversify the experience by adding classes that you can unlock, each with their own special powers, as well as runes that allow you to modify your weapons to your playing style.

Still, it doesn’t make the game less repetitive when it all comes down to it. After a few runs, you’ll notice you’re going through the same routines all over again, and the gameplay itself isn’t fun enough to justify that. Another big issue is the fact that this is the type of co-op game that works best when playing with friends. The solo mode is doable, but hard and not nearly as fun. Playing in matchmaking is a gamble since you never know if others are going to pull their weight and make the run successful. To add to this, the in-game chat function is broken, leaving you unable to properly communicate with teammates, and as of right now, players can leave halfway through a run with no consequence. This is made even worse as there is no option to add new players to an ongoing session when someone leaves.

Tribes of Midgard is planning a lot of future updates, named sagas. These updates promise to add not only weapons, enemies, and gameplay, but also lore and perhaps these sagas will aim to balance what is already there. Hopefully, this will also take care of the annoying issues the game currently runs into.

Conclusion

In its current state, Tribes of Midgard feels too lacking to recommend. It’s clear some clever ideas are present, but you’d have to deal with a lot of grinding too. If you have a close group of friends that wants to dedicate their time to this, it might be worth a shot. But if you’re playing alone or with strangers, this game is more likely to give you a headache than anything else. We are curious to see what the updates bring to the table, as this title holds a lot of unlocked potential.

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Rating: 8.0/10 (2 votes cast)
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Tribes of Midgard - Review, 8.0 out of 10 based on 2 ratings
Jessica


Games are my escape and writing is my passion.

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