Cooperative survival is a welcome concept for us, especially after the betrayal and trolling that plagued our virtual get-togethers with friends to play Among Us or Rust last year. The first two hours of Tribes of Midgard’s Saga mode were spent with us. Sagas are only a few hours long, making it a manageable experience for friends to come together for an evening and continue on their seasonal reward track. Up to ten players fight as Einherjar during Ragnorok against enormous giants known as Jötnar and hordes of Helthings bent on destroying the Seed of Yggdrasil that lies in your village in this mode. The goal is for players to jump in, stay as long as they can, hopefully, slaughter a few giants, and leave with some long-term benefits to help them improve their future runs.
In Tribes of Midgard, our heroes started off mostly naked in the middle of the forest, where they had to scavenge for twigs and stones to make primitive tools; a familiar loop for survivalists. Fortunately, you never start far from the village, your world’s primary hub where residents can make new things and equipment from the treasures you uncover while traveling. Each day, you travel further out to gather minerals, timber, and other materials for the settlement’s new weapons, armor, and fortifications. You’re drawn back at night to protect the town from the evil Helthings. As the eternal winter and darkness approaches, the evenings get longer and longer.
We fought goblin encampments and ferocious beasts out in the world, but the lumbering threat slowly creeping over the landscape was our greatest challenge: the gigantic Jötnar. When one of these colossal beasts comes, a symbol displays on your minimap to inform you of its impending arrival. Jarnsaxa, a Jötnar who controls spheres of lightning and changes into an imposing air elemental, was one of the scouts sent out to see what kind of challenge we were up against. These battles will put your talents to the test, and if you’re playing as a group, you’ll need as many swords, arrows, and hammers as possible to defeat it before it reaches the hamlet.
Additional season upgrades are planned for Tribes of Midgard. Over time, free updates will be released, introducing new features, items, monsters, and other hazards to the game. The first season, dubbed “The Wolf Saga,” has its own set of rewards, which range from cosmetics and runes to beginning kits that allow you to bypass the initial tool hunt. Those who miss a season need not fret; all previous seasons will be available, complete with incentives, as new ones are released.
As someone who has grown tired of survival games, we thoroughly enjoyed our brief encounter with this co-op “survival” adventure, as Norsfell refers to it. There are many more Tribes of Midgard we didn’t get to witness, such as the Saga’s boss and their other major mode, survival. Fortunately, the premiere of season one is only a few weeks away. Tribes of Midgard will be released on July 27 for PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, and PC.