The Frostrune (iOS) Review

By Chris Leebody 09.06.2018

Review for The Frostrune on iOS

When it comes to setting and story, Norse-based stories tend to get a bit of a pass. Surprisingly so considering the rich tapestry of history behind the culture. Maybe the recent God of War may change that. However, one team that couldn't be accused of ignoring this heritage is the developer behind this point-and-click title, Grimnir, who as its name suggests, is a small independent team based out of Norway. Indeed, it seems to be obsessed with all things Viking and so it is no surprise that it decided to plough its passion into a game and it is great in this current era that such opportunities are available to do such a thing. Promising historically accurate environments and materials, plus a unique tale about a mysterious abandoned settlement, The Frostrune promises to be an enlightening experience. Available on all the mobile app stores, Cubed3 took a look at the iOS version.

Firstly, there is no doubt that a lot of love and care went into the environments and little touches of detail in the items and objects uncovered: Norse runes and artefacts, the way the wood in buildings is carved, the barren harsh and cold landscape. The perspective of this point-and-click adventure is first-person and what this does it point the protagonist directly in view of some stunningly stark and eerie places within this mysterious village and surrounding forest that acts as the setting.

Each scene is a beautifully painted discovery of an untapped world and culture, and the symbols on doors or walls, the weapons, the design of the houses - everything feels authentic and atmospheric. The passion of the developer is obvious. The difficulty, ultimately, though is that passion only goes so far and in many ways as much warmth and interest in the setting as is generated through the base aesthetic, the abiding feeling throughout the four-to-five hours of the adventure is one of solitude, coldness, and a general lack of engagement in the narrative setting.

The story largely centre's around uncovering the potentially chilling and mysterious circumstances as to how what should be a thriving village on the coast has been abandoned with signs of death and destruction. It is a tale that feels like it could have had a lot more potential in this genre than it ends of doing - although it probably is good enough to cover the runtime.

Screenshot for The Frostrune on iOS

Throughout, the goal is to piece together clues and puzzles to progress. It is always a fine balancing act in these types of games between the maddeningly frustrating type of puzzles that depend entirely on loose logic, to the other hand in which solutions are so obvious that it takes any reward or satisfaction out of solving them. The Frostrune tends to stray on the positive side of the balance.

There is no doubt that puzzle solving here is closer to the easier side of things, with many of the solutions being based more on the collection of items and searching rather than obscurity. That said, though, the hint system feels like too much of a cheat with it essentially giving the answer anytime it is pressed.

As stated above, one of the abiding feelings throughout the play-through is unfortunately the feeling of being too solitary, with barely any meaningful interaction beyond the pieces of lore and background information scattered in notes and writing. That said, thankfully Grimnir introduces a spirit-talk mechanic not too long into the story, which ensures that at least there is some actual NPC narrative voice and it also gives a bit more inventiveness - allowing the spirit to divulge potentially puzzle-solving pieces of information and snippets relevant to the story. In addition to solving a purpose in information, it is great that the sprits are voiced with what appears to be traditional Norse language and the quality of the voice acting is exceptional and again demonstrates the great passion that the developer poured into representing its culture.

Screenshot for The Frostrune on iOS

Cubed3 Rating

6/10
Rated 6 out of 10

Good

In many ways, The Frostrune should be applauded for giving the team of creators the opportunity to share their love of their own culture and history. Playing through the game is more of a history lesson in the artefacts, myth, and lore of a society that goes under the radar a lot when it comes to many entertainment mediums. The shame of it is that as a puzzle-based point-and-click adventure, it is sadly lacking in compelling gameplay or puzzles, certainly in comparison to its fellow mobile competitors. The puzzles never feel compelling or tricky enough, and the world feels too barren and lifeless to really invest a great deal in. However, ultimately it is a very cheap title and, as a distraction for a few hours, it is certainly worth the time.

Developer

Grimnir

Publisher

Snow Cannon Games

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  6/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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