Wildfrost Review – Adventure on Deck

Wildfrost key art
Photo Credit: Chucklefish
Wildfrost key art

Thanks to the popularity of Daniel Mullins’s story-rich deck-building cursed object-of-a-game Inscryption, deck builders are more popular than ever. Those that are unforgiving and frustratingly evil are more popular still. Thus, Wildfrost was born by developers Deadpan Games and Gaziter and publisher Chucklefish.

Are you a fan of card battlers? Do you like Adventure Time? If so, Wildfrost is for you because it is both. The game combines the branching encounter mechanics from Inscryption with the art style and post-frost-apocalypse world of Adventure Time.

Wildfrost combat screen
Photo Credit: Chucklefish

After an extinction-level event wiped out almost the entire planet, only the residents of Snowdell remained. Three tribes reside in the town, which acts as your hub between runs. Part of the game mechanics also involves upgrading your village and unlocking companions, pets, items, and encounter types by achieving goals during your runs. At the start of each run, you pick your leader out of three cards, one from each tribe. Each tribe has unique base cards and attributes that come with their leader.

Meet The Tribes of Wildfrost

The three tribes are the Snowdwellers, Shademancers, and Clunkmasters. Snowdwellers are characterized by their affinity with frost and various stun moves. Shademancers can summon allies that will disappear after a time but can be recalled. They also have a base dagger that will hit for the amount of damage equal to the amount of them you draw into your hand. The Clunkmasters are gnomey little guys with an affinity for scrap and an array of inventions and uses for junk that boosts their power.

Along with your leader, you also can choose a pet. Each tribe has a pet with corresponding attributes. For example, the Snowdewellers’ pet will attack and apply a stunning snowball to its target. The Shademancers’ pet will apply the demonize effect to its target, doubling the damage the enemy will take. Finally, the Clunkmasters’ pet draws a new card into your hand whenever it takes damage.

On top of that, there are extra pets that can be unlocked during your runs. You will also encounter a Naked Gnome on the enemy’s side at some point. Spare him and gain the best pointless card of all time.

Wildfrost egg companion
Photo Credit: Chucklefish

You must choose a path toward the next battle on your journey. Each path has different encounters. Options presented to you will include things like frozen companions that you can release and choose between, treasure chests full of cards to choose from, caves full of coins, and other strange vendors. The encounters and pulls are random; you must decide what will most benefit you, companions, items, or cash. There is also a store that you can encounter which will sell you item cards, charms, and crowns.

Charms and crowns have roles that can alter your cards’ power and abilities. Charms can be found in the wild or purchased from the store or charm merchants. However, they can’t be removed once you add them to a card, so choose wisely. They don’t hold over to your next run if you don’t use them. Your run is finished if your leader falls in battle, and then it’s time to return to Snowdell to start over again.

It’s Not Perfect, But Wildfrost Offers Great Gameplay

While your items and charms don’t carry over, any unlocks and discoveries will join the pool of random encounters. You cannot brute force your way through Wildfrost. Think you’re being smart by grabbing all the companions with high attack points and HP? WRONG. Wildfrost is about creating a deck filled with effective countermoves and strength. For a game about balance, though, Wildfrost swings more to the unbalanced side.

I really enjoy Wildfrost. In fact, I have put over 20 hours into it. I cannot stop playing it. However, it has a balancing problem. This is not a complaint about difficulty. It is a challenging game by design, but the difficulty isn’t the issue. It takes a lot of runs to come anywhere near to being able to randomly acquire cards that will help you destroy the later bosses. I would also like to take this moment to say that I hate you, King Moko. I hate you so much; back to monkey Hell with you!

Wildfrost King Moko
Photo Credit: Chucklefish

The balancing seems to be a common issue, with many Steam reviewers bringing it up. In the last dev update, Deadpan Games and Gaziter discussed addressing these issues and plans for even more content to be added. In addition, there are daily challenges to complete that give you specific cards and charms to see how far you can get. I hope to see more limited-time events in the future, maybe with the possibility of gaining rare cards.

Wrapping Up

Wildfrost is a game of checks and balances. Currently, it’s a little skew-whiff, but the fact that I cannot stop playing it is a testament to the game’s basic premise. The art style and the variety of characters, abilities, and counters make this endlessly enjoyable. With the promise of future content updates and my unending hatred of King Moko, I’ll be playing for a long time.

Wildfrost is available now on PC and Nintendo Switch.


Wildfrost key art
Wildfrost Review – Adventure on Deck
Wildfrost offers plenty of challenges as a deck builder, but its charm, gameplay, and encouraged experimentation win out.
Cute art
Interesting characters
A wide variety of abilities and counters
Experimenting with different builds is fun
Unbalanced combat
King Moko is the devil
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Written by Emma Oakman

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