After yesterday’s indie showcase, I got the chance to go hands-on with one of the highlighted games. Roots of Yggdrasil is described as a roguelike city builder, but it was hard to understand what that fully meant until playing it myself. I walked away from the pre-alpha demo excited to see more of this title. Its gameplay loop is engaging, the art style is eye-catching, and I’m eager to see how all the planned elements change the experience.
Roots of Yggdrasil just launched a Kickstarter campaign (that’s how early the build I played is). So, if you like what you read here and want to support the title, head on over.
Ragnarok has ripped through all the worlds. And while my base — The Holt — nestled in the roots of the World Tree still stands, Yggdrasil itself has been dealt a mortal blow. There is a way to save it, though.
I can head out on expeditions to find Yggdrasil Seedlings with the energy to restore the World Tree’s life force. I got to travel out on one of these expeditions during my 30-minute hands-on with the game, and the preview has me excited to play more.
The tutorial was a little light on precise instructions, but I picked up the basics as I went. I stare down over a beautiful floating island marked by watercolor and ink. On it, a small green field is crowned by rushing waterfalls. This small patch of grass is the entire starting location.
Playing the single card in my hand, called Sturdy Housing, is my first move. I realize the card requires a few Supplies to build. Looking over to my left, I see a bar that details my current amount of Supplies, Might, and Eitr. Luckily, I have enough Supplies for my first few buildings and I slap some dwellings down into the empty meadow.
Each Sturdy Housing gives me extra supplies and a villager or two, which triggers a pop-up explaining I’ve hit a population goal. As a reward, I get a different card: An Equipment Post. The new structure has to be built next to at least three houses, which I’ve conveniently just made. Instead of granting me fresh villagers, the post increases my Might.
The whole time I’ve been building my happy little village, a floating flag token has been hovering just off my island’s right side. After building an Equipment Post, it starts glowing. The tutorial informs me I have enough Might to send scouts out to explore the land, but I have to move forward a turn to see the results.
Clicking the turn button harvests my buildings’ various resources and allows my scouts time to survey the wilds, but it also moves the day/night cycle bar closer to dusk. And I’m not sure what happens after nightfall.
With the return of my intrepid explorers, my cozy island sprouts a land bridge spanning the gap between my village and the Seedling I’ve come here to find. I also discover a copse of trees, a site of power — called a Wonder — and receive a Lumber Mill card.
At this point, I see the draw of the game and how things will unfold. I’m itching to place more Sturdy Housing cards to store up more supplies so I can pay construction costs for the Lumber Mill. But I also want to put down a new Equipment Post because another expedition icon floats on the horizon. And I’m sure that every move will bring in new goals and, therefore, more reasons to expand my settlement.
To top it off, every few turns I trigger an event. Some are good, like my builder friend offering to construct a house at no cost. But others, like Unstable Grounds, threaten my growing village — and resources — with disastrous weather.
But the loop isn’t endless. Once I discover enough of the procedurally generated world to reach the Yggdrasil Seedling and place all the necessary structures to harvest its energy, I travel back to The Holt with the spoils of my adventure.
The Holt is the nexus of my every expedition, and it boasts special locations like a Workshop for permanently unlocking helpful blueprints, a Greenhouse to strengthen the World Tree, and many more buildings that aren’t ready to function at this early stage.
Though Roots of Yggdrasil is currently missing what seems like half its content, I had a lot of fun with my mission. Enough that it’s earned a place on my must-watch list, and I’ll be keeping an eye on the development process.