Frozen Flame Gameplay Overview – In this Frozen Flame article, I’m going to share gameplay mechanics about the recently released Survival RPG in Early Access, to determine if it’s worth your time or not. Rather than following in the footsteps of Valheim, which focuses mostly on survival and sandbox aspects, or The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, which caters to heavy exploration, Frozen Flame aims to merge both strengths into one complete package. If you’re wondering what the game’s unique features are, then read on to find out!
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Frozen Flame Gameplay Overview (Survival RPG)
- Name: Frozen Flame
- Platforms: PC
- Developer: Dreamside Interactive
- Publisher: Ravenage Games
- Release Date: November 17th, 2022 (Early Access)
- Genre: Survival RPG
Frozen Flame Gameplay Overview – What is Frozen Flame?
Frozen Flame is set in the magical yet corrupted land of Arcana, which is plagued by harsh weather conditions and cursed creatures. You play as one of the lucky few inhabitants who have been mysteriously bestowed with the ability to harness the energy of powerful ancients. As you learn to become proficient in fighting by improving your abilities and crafting better gear, you grow closer to defeating the Faceless who is responsible for this tragedy.
Unlike traditional sandbox games, all crafting options aren’t immediately available. Instead, these are unlocked at a steady pace based on the player’s progression in quests. So you’ll have to complete them before you can really craft, unless you’re not in a rush and you prefer to prioritize exploration first. Additionally, what’s apparent about Frozen Flame is that it’s not as focused on survival elements besides living through the frigid weather brought about by the corruption. You’re not bogged down by catering to the basic needs of your character like managing their hunger or sleeping on time.
Frozen Flame Gameplay Overview – Progression System
Frozen Flame features a straightforward progression system that doesn’t rely on classes to define who you become. Instead, you’re in charge of your fate by deciding the skills to primarily invest in and the weapons to wield. Let’s first talk about the skills.
Skill points are acquired by gaining enough experience to level up. This is made possible by slaying hostile creatures, chopping trees, mining ore, and cooking. But there’s also a special activity to engage in that ties with the game’s lore, and this is by completing Rituals. To trigger them, you must first activate a glowing Monolith.
Within a specific timeframe, you’ll need to scour the area for rune stones to gather their corresponding energy essences, which are said to have once belonged to the ancestors who created these magical lands. Once complete, you obtain additional experience, and eventually Frozen Flame upon leveling up.
Praying at the Hero’s Ancestry Shrines will give you access to a wide variety of passive and active skills. But note that in Early Access, only the first two concentric circles can be unlocked. For passives, there are abilities worth only 1 Frozen Flame each that can allow you to get more stamina, increase your carrying capacity, and lengthen the period before your weapons decay. Meanwhile, you also have active skills like Healing, which lets you bless the floor with health restoration powers. And lastly, there are abilities dedicated to weapons to reduce their respective stamina consumption upon use.
A cool thing about Frozen Flame is you can easily swap from one weapon to the next via your hotbar. Currently, the three available weapons are the Sword, Bow, and Staff. Remember that you’re not limited to focusing on just one of these. In fact, you can choose to equally distribute your skill points to specialize in every one of them. Among these weapons, I’ve always gravitated to wielding the Bow so I can target enemies from a safer distance as well as the Staff to deal damage over time.
Frozen Flame Gameplay Overview – Exploration
As I was exploring the magical world of Arcana, which leans less on realism and more on classic cartoonish styles, I couldn’t help but remember the breathtaking open-world design of Zelda: BOTW. Although not in the same magnitude and grandeur since the game is still in the early stages of development, Frozen Flame has potential, especially as more portals open up in the next coming months.
What I’ve particularly enjoyed about exploration was traveling between the two available worlds, Cradle of Keepers and Broken Valley, as well as discovering the wonders of their unique landscape designs. Where Cradle of Keepers is your traditional setting that’s more attuned to nature in terms of the rivers you can swim and the forests you can hike, Broken Valley is comprised of multiple islands that are floating about in the air. Because of this, you’re given the option to build bridges or fly.
Should you attempt to fly within the energy barriers of either portal, you’ll get shot down by the gods above. This is one of the restrictions associated with the flying mechanic. But my real gripe is how fast stamina gets depleted in the process. So traveling from one island to the next requires patience and potions if you have any, to avoid descending to the wrong location.
Frozen Flame Gameplay Overview – Combat
Frozen Flame’s combat is lightly inspired by action games in that stamina management is a must when it comes to attacking enemies and evading their hits. Completely losing stamina while in a fight will render you helpless and vulnerable since you have no way of using weapons or blocking incoming attacks.
Given that there’s no such thing as target lock in the game, you’re encouraged to aim and time your moves properly to improve your hit chances. But remember that it’s not as difficult as it looks since enemy movement is quite slow. This, therefore, grants you a 1-2 second window to dodge or outright block their attacks.
More often than not, you’ll find yourself at the center of combat against multiple enemies, especially when you pass by their camps. You’ll also initiate fights against large corrupted creatures to access different worlds. These offer challenges compared to regular enemies because of the range of their abilities. Some unleash painful ice walls while others pelt you with arrows.
What’s noticeable, however, is how spongy these bosses are. More often than not, you’ll get to adapt to their movesets, often making it a case of waiting until you can completely deplete their health. Furthermore, unbalanced encounters also exist. For instance, the Stone Mace feels like you’re hitting paper even against an imposing boss while in similar fights, that same weapon functions and sounds more impactful. Hopefully, these will get addressed in the coming weeks.
Quests and Crafting
Frozen Flame’s quests and crafting are integrated from the moment you take your first steps in the Cradle of Keepers. This is a great way to learn what you need to do to get started with crafting your first campfire, setting up your workbench, and so on, rather than completely leaving you to fend for yourself. As you progress further in quests, your knowledge in crafting also improves, allowing you to craft more complex structures.
Like with any survival game, gear and crafted items have corresponding durability. Note that when a weapon is completely damaged it won’t get destroyed. Repairs can still be done to save it. However, the items decay too quickly for my taste. For example, chopping trees twice with the Stone Axe decreases this tool’s durability by 10%. The same thing happens with weapons when used in combat. Improving their longevity would let players focus on different activities such as testing other skills and designing their fortresses more, which are the best parts of the game outside of exploration.
Next is the crafting aspect of the game. Blueprints are unlocked from the Workbench and by paying coins or rune stones to vendors, the latter of which is obtained through exploration. Some items can be crafted wherever you are in the world whereas complex ones like weapons and armor require advanced crafting tables.
Cooking is also essential in Frozen Flame since cooked food will restore your health more effectively while granting additional buffs such as extra stamina and improved resistances like in BOTW. Simply setting aside the ingredients and leaving them for a few seconds to engage in other activities is possible, and it won’t burn your food. Additionally, combining different ingredients will lead to new recipes and stat bonuses.
I do hope that this mechanic will be improved in succeeding patches since there’s no way to cook food in batches. Instead, you can only place 1 set of ingredients at a time rather than queuing them up all at once, which has become a mainstay of most survival games, and I found myself missing this option.
Moreover, you’re able to grow plants by crafting a Garden Bed. Doing so will let you gather multiple essences, which are then used for more crafting and repairing of items.
Weather System and Base Management
Frozen Flame is distinct from other survival games in that you don’t have to be concerned with hunger, thirst, and exhaustion. Instead, you’ll need to be mindful of the day and night cycle. Between the two, nighttime is more dangerous since other creatures transform and become highly aggressive, much like the magenta jellyfish. It’s also the time when the harsh, cold weather appears, making a roof over your head, better pairs of clothes, and campfires necessary.
Should you die from the frigid weather, in combat, or from falling off a cliff, you drop experience points, which need to be reclaimed at the place of death. Otherwise, you’ll lose them permanently similar to Souls games. Although you don’t drop any of your items, your health gets depleted and your armor’s durability suffers as a result.
In terms of base management, you’ll need to prioritize creating your house or fortress even if the materials you’ll use are only basic, to begin with. This is to protect you from the cold weather and to prevent the degradation of the structures you’ve crafted such as the Workbench and Artisan Table. Unless you’ve closed off the house by building a roof, there’s no other way of preventing them from decaying quickly over time.
The initial placement of floors and walls is done in free form before snapping everything in place. However, the options of what to build aren’t as many and varied as the ones you see in Valheim. And should you wish to adjust parts of the building, you’ll need to destroy them first, and doing so will recoup a portion of the materials you’ve spent so it’s not all wasted.
Frozen Flame is a Survival RPG that aims to mix the best elements of the survival and sandbox genres with exploration and character building. Players don’t have to worry about the state of their character, so if you’re someone who likes survival games, but not this aspect Frozen Flame might be better suited to your tastes. Instead, players are encouraged to discover new things and meet new people to piece together ancient mysteries about Arcana. It’s made all the more effective since the game specializes in bringing uniquely-designed worlds to life.
Since Frozen Flame is currently in Early Access, you’ll also notice a fair share of bugs, mostly related to the enemies. Some of them are immune to taking damage while others simply stand in place without reacting whatsoever. Additionally, some improvements will have to be implemented such as the short durability of items and the lack of enemy response against certain weapons. Despite these, I still can’t wait to revisit the game a few months from now to see how much it has grown!
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