Tribes of Midgard

Tribes of Midgard is a new, top-down survival action game set in Norse Mythology. It’s a game that can be enjoyed solo or with friends and it’s another stand out indie hit from 2021. This is all about gathering, exploring, crafting and fighting huge giants, all the while working with a team of friends or randoms to protect the Seed of Yggdrasil.

Tribes of Midgard surprised me, it didn’t instantly click with me, but I pushed through the barrier and I find myself coming back time after time and really enjoying myself. There’s a combination of gameplay elements going on in Tribes of Midgard. First of all, there’s the gathering of resources and levelling up your character and base. This is punctuated by invading enemies; some small, and some as tall as building with massive clubs that will level your hard-earned levelled up Village with a few swings. It’s the combination of these elements that work so well, plus throw in the multiplayer element and the developers have something special on their hands.

When you first start out in the game you literally have nothing. You appear in the world in your pants during the tutorial and you have to scavenge for the most basic materials like flint and branches. Once you’ve done that, then you can craft some tools via the vendor in your village. Now you have a few basic tools you can chop down trees and mine iron to them craft some weapons. Once you have weapons, then you can kill animals and enemies and craft even more items. And so the gameplay loop goes on in this fashion. Go out, explore, gathering materials, plunder loot and level up yourself and also your base.

There’s a decent persistence mechanic here involving your starter kits. Your first few goes may not last very long, but each time you’ll earn XP and you’ll quickly get access to the starter kits, which start you out in the world with clothes. You’ll still have to gather a few materials at the start of each run, but you get into the swing of things pretty quickly.

There’s plenty of resources to gather including flint, wood, iron, stone, vegetation, fur and all kinds of material that allows you to craft weapons and potions. One of the main currencies in Tribes of Midgard is Souls, and everything drops Souls. Chop down a tree to collect Souls, kill a Wolf, kill an archer, pick a mushroom… you get the point. Should be taken back to your village and invested either in levelling up the gates so you won’t get attacked or you can hand them in to your Seed of Yggdrasil sitting in the middle of the village.

The Seed of Yggdrasil is a tree that sits at the heart of your village, and keeping this thing alive is the main objective of the game. Each night as the sun goes down enemies will appear in the darkness surrounding your village and come to attack the Seed of Yggdrasil. Their objective is to destroy it, and your objective is to stop them… plain and simple. Night after night more enemies will come and over time they will get more powerful, so it’s down to you to stop them.

You can do this in a number of ways. Gathering materials, crafting and levelling up your character is one way. You can get better weapons from the blacksmith in town, you can also get better armour through crafting and collecting various items like fur, wolves teeth and similar materials. You can also level up your base by fortifying the gates, building archery towers there too. Anything that’s going to stop the dark things at night from attacking and destroying the Seed of Yggdrasil.

Occasionally a Jotunn will appear. This is a huge giant that will appear on the map, and they have massive health bars and it’ll take a coordinated effort of a number of players working together to take down these giants. Some have massive Ice Clubs, or Firery weapons, some cast spells. All are dangerous and from their spawn point on the map, they slowly start making their way towards the Seed of Yggdrasil to try and take it down, so it’s worth keeping an eye on when these guys spawn and then coordinating your team to head them off before they get too close. All the time you have to be keeping one eye on what’s going on back in the village. If you are out gathering materials or fighting a Jotunn and the enemies start attacking at night, then your Seed of Yggdrasil isn’t going to last long and then it’s game over.

The map is pretty big and it’ll take plenty of time to travel over it on foot. There are handy fast travel points which you can discover while out on foot and travel to and from your base, which makes getting around much easier. The map starts out dark each time and you have to get out there and explore. There are surprises around every corner; you have enemy bases which you can fight, and then take their loot. There’s a variety of different environments too, and watch out for the snow and ice because you’ll freeze to death if you are not dressed for the occasion. I found this out the hard way. If you do die though, you’ll leave behind a chest and you can go back to where you died and pick up some of your loot.

The enemies you find on the map get progressively harder as the game goes on. Sometimes you’ll wander into a new area and notice that the enemies are much higher level than you, so it’s smart to make a quick exit before they kill you. Battling these enemies is fun too, and there’s plenty of weapon options. You have swords, bows and arrows, axes and hammers – all standard Viking weapons. You have to aim with the mouse and then click the left mouse button to swipe with your weapon. It takes a little time getting used to, but I found the combat very satisfying. It’s not very in-depth and you can quickly get into battles without too much previous experience. Sometimes I found it a little tricky to keep focused on the enemies in question, as I was using the mouse to explore the screen, but otherwise, it’s very accessible.

There’s a live service-feel to the game too as it has seasons, a character screen where you can add and edit different cosmetics, plus there’s a shop too. We’re currently in Season of the Wolf, which means you have to fight through various Jotunn world bosses and then face off against a big wolf at the end. The stage is set by the developers Norsefell to keep updating the game as time goes on. Given it’s live-service-like then hopefully the team will add some quality of life upgrades too, as repairing gear can be a little cumbersome, plus there’s a few bugs. Nothing too major, but it’s not without its minor flaws.

Tribes of Midgard is another break out indie hit for 2021, and it certainly has a lot going for it. If you are into crafting and gathering, plus getting together with friends to take on world bosses and defend your base then this one is worth looking at. I imagine over time it’s only going to get better.

Developer: Norsefell
Publisher: Gearbox
Platforms: PC
Release Date: 27th July 2021