Roots of Yggdrasil – Review

It’s the end of the world and the dark entity known only as the Ginnungagap covers the lands. The only thing standing in the way of this disaster claiming every last human on the planet is a convoy of Vikings, led by the fierce Sunna, but can they climb Yggdrasil and reach Asgard before it is too late?

a green map with lots of threats to overcome

Released to Early Access on Steam, Roots of Yggdrasil merges Viking lore with Civilisation and deck-building mechanics to create an engaging and entertaining system which will keep you coming back loop after loop. It features a simple yet colourful setting with beautiful hand-drawn character art as you set off into the unknown to try and save as many people as possible.

To keep moving forward, you need fuel for their ship, and collecting these seeds becomes the core goal of each map. This sounds simple enough but the game mechanics slowly build over time to include more strategy as you place buildings on the map. Which buildings and actions you can place are dictated by the cards in your hand which change constantly. It was a little annoying losing cards a turn before I could use them, but there are ways to get them back before the deck is shuffled to draw again.

a star chart map allowing you to plot a course

You have three resources which you gather to spend on new buildings or to use action cards, these are produced by placing different buildings on the map. Houses increase your population, barracks add to your attack points and Eitr sources add to what is probably best described as magic or religion points. Some buildings only give you the boon once but cards you unlock later gain
resources at the start of each turn and allow you to build up over time.

The maps themselves aren’t huge, but you do have a world-destroying cloud menace to consider as you spend attack points to reveal the next areas. Threats such as enemy towers and creeping thorns will be unveiled alongside “caravan” events which give players difficult decisions to make as they try to overcome each threat without losing too much themselves. Again the goal is to reach the trees and collect their seeds, and it takes two turns or more to access unlocked areas, but there are good boons and even story events to be found for the willing adventurer.

a map with a giant cloud in the distance
a bright map showing the objectives

Sunna is not alone in her ventures, she is joined by craftsman Thrasir and botanist Lif. Their story progresses through charming visual novel style cut-scenes and dialogue which has an edge but remains light-hearted – it is the end of the world, after all. There are other characters for you to discover and barter with, and each comes with their own arc to uncover and additional artefacts. The story itself is not overly involved and mostly involves the pest Ratatoskr throwing random titbits of information at you here and there, but it’s a slow burn as you try to impress Hoenir and return to begin your loop once more.

Both Tharasir and Lif can join your loop as Scions. You can send your Scion out to explore or negotiate on events which pop up in a similar manner to the caravan events. They usually take a few turns to unlock, keeping your Scion busy, but they often return upgrades or handy bonuses.

sibyl, a bald lady in peasant clothing offers you a choice

Once you have opened the map and found a way from the trees to your ship, you still need to power them up to make them bloom. Some of these will be pretty simple like pay food or attack points or simply have a certain number of people in your convoy. Others will require more planning as you try to fit the correct type of buildings into the space around the trees.

Upon finishing your loop, either by reaching Asgard or being consumed by Ginnungagap, you land at the Holt. This works as your home base where you can build a camp to help you start in a better position each time. Here you can spend acorns to unlock new buildings and bolster your forces before trying again.

After completing a few loops, you will unlock ways to make the game harder to gain better boons and change up the gameplay a little. It’s small but really changes the way you progress and keep it fresh over multiple runs.

a dark map with lots of buildings popped up everywhere and a full hand of cards
a cute girl clapping as you search a skill tree

The story is light and takes a backseat but the ultimatums in the “caravan” events build upon the world and lore enough to cover it. The music is chill and nonintrusive as musical queues sound the appearance of threats, buildings and other events. I did find a bunch of the Holt cut-scenes repeated or glitched and there was no way to skip them, but otherwise, it was really well polished.

Roots of Yggdrasil is an incredible culmination of some of my favourite gameplay elements and I sunk hours into loops trying to find acorns and new character events. I highly recommend it to any tactical building sim fan or for anyone looking for a relaxing challenge.

8/10 star rating

Developer: ManaVoid Entertainment
Platform: Microsoft Windows
Genres: Indie game, Strategy Video Game, Strategy, Early Access
Publishers: ManaVoid Entertainment, Indie Asylum






Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *