Tag Archives: Epiphany Games

Frozen Hearth Post-Mortem Review

Frozen Hearth RealGamerNewz Review

Frozen Hearth is a real time strategy game available right now on Steam with a unique story-line that gives way to original gameplay mechanics and a diverse set of units which are controlled by the player in addition to a main hero style character that is customized to some extent based on the player’s play-style. Structure building has been simplified quite a bit to keep the player’s focus on the battle at hand and so sub-structures are built and replaced as attachments to the home base rather than freestyle bases being built across empty lands.

In Frozen Hearth, the campaign can either be played single player or with two player co-operative settings seeing both players completely involved as opposed to previous attempts at this in the genre by other titles. Graphics are a decently strong point for the game, and although many have already gotten their hands on this title there’s been some question as to how exactly this title’s detailed mechanics work.

Controlling your troops is problematic and even simple tasks are confusing for no reason. Units seem like they do not know where to go or what to do and players have to tell them over and over again, this can be game breaking at times. When playing the campaign, some of the earlier missions can serve as a more well put together experience, but that just shows how boring the title really is. Take a look below and see for yourself.

With so much ambition and so many good ideas put forward in Frozen Hearth, it saddens me that none of them actually work out. This game tries to take some of the best elements of the RTS and MOBA genres and combine them into something brave, new, and exciting but ends up being confusing, dull, and ultimately disappointing.

This game seems to be geared more towards multiplayer which I was looking forward to playing, unfortunately that never happened. Despite having several friends with the game and some of us even meeting up with the development team online for play, we have thus far been unable to get into a match that doesn’t lag out uncontrollably. There also seem to be no servers being hosted at this time, which is a definite shame. That being said, a group of friends grabbing the title together with LAN in mind can probably still have a great time.

The developers behind Frozen Hearth are still to this day putting work into patching things like this and these hiccups may eventually be addressed with kinks like multiplayer lag being ironed out over time. As it stands though, a large portion of the gameplay is left behind and that really hurts the recommendation of this title. Of course, the Instant Action mode is still a viable option for those looking to have more of a skirmish experience in the game.

Frozen Hearth Gameplay

Final Verdict:

Unfortunately the game’s cluttered and stale interface and how the experience just isn’t where it needs to be are all that comes across to most players of this title. Our team put it in the hands of more than one reviewer and ultimately the responsibility was handed to me. To deliver on the potential of the story-line and gameplay designs selected by the developer, a better color palette, better control scheme, better artificial intelligence, better voice acting, and better writing would be needed.

Some sort of community-driven online service is also badly needed to allow players to meet up easily and quickly without worry over lag or disconnect needs to become part of Frozen Hearth’s main core if the multiplayer is to be truly appreciated by the mass public. Beyond that, many troubling issues exist still within the gameplay itself including the inability to effectively rely on well planned commands to be followed out properly by the player’s troops.

That being said, Epiphany Games is incredibly ambitious and has their hands in many technologies. The Australian-based development studio continues to roll out patches for this title and has been laying the programming foundation for tools that will likely make a big splash in their next title drastically transforming the level of quality they are able to output. Frozen Hearth cannot be recommended in its current state but can stand as a learning experience for Epiphany and a benchmark of some of their more experimental ideas in the real time strategy genre.

Official Trailer:

Official Score: 4.5/10

RGN Rating: Below Bronze

Developer: Epiphany Games

Publisher: Immanitas Entertainment

Available On: Windows PC

Review Copy Info: Four digital copies of the game was provided to RealGamerNewz for the purpose of this review.

Editor’s Note: RealGamerNewZ has moved web servers, some older posts can no longer be commented on and have been preserved without their images. Thank you for your understanding in this matter. This article was written by Mitch Walters on 20140216 and was last modified on 20140216 .

IndieSpotlight: Frozen Hearth

Frozen Hearth

I recently had the opportunity to speak with Epiphany Games about their title Frozen Hearth as well as the universe that surrounds it and through the course of our many interesting and fun discussions many of the details of how the game works and what makes it unique to the RTS genre came to light for me in ways that I thought I’d share with the rest of you RealGamerNewz IndieSpotlight readers. As always, if you have any questions for the developers be sure to leave them in the comments or head to their Steam portal as these folks really are very open to ideas and feedback about everything from balancing issues to totally new feature requests with patches incoming just about every week thus far and more on the way.

Frozen Hearth is a real time strategy game available right now on Steam from a dedicated and passionate team looking to preserve the core concepts of RTS while at the same time make a completely fresh and new experience that incorporates role playing game mechanics in a real way. While each player has their own hero, base, and army Frozen Hearth also provides a more full-featured co-op experience in addition to full campaign and multiplayer player versus player with up to 8 people online or over LAN. Although the co-op could be expanded in the future, right now the feature supports up to two players. But these are just basic checkmarks and bullet points that any gamer in their right mind might be curious about. If you’ve read any of our IndieSpotlight pieces before, you’ll know that this article seeks to get a more in-depth and detailed view of this game and its mechanics, so we will begin that below starting with the vision Epiphany Games has for their title.

At its heart of hearts Frozen Hearth is a character progression-based title that uses role playing aspects to add a layer of choice to the game. While in the campaign players may get close to maxing out their hero (and their army) in terms of abilities / spells since experience is carried from map to map, multiplayer is a different beast and demands more of a decisive strategy in terms of what build the player is aiming for in any given match. This is somewhat standard of the RTS genre, but taken to another level with Frozen Hearth because of its RPG formula mixed in. To fully understand how this all works and why the gameworld is like this let’s take a look at the narrative then break down the gameplay mechanics following that brief overview.

Frozen Hearth Gameplay Screenshot 1

The game’s story is described by the developers as an “Epic tale of woe”. A human-like race called the Danaan is introduced at the beginning and while they have their own individual struggles for power within their species (similar to real life Earth humans) they must overcome their natural instinct to fight each other when suddenly they are invaded by a race of ice monsters who travel with a coming weather climate change sweeping the land. The Danaan call these beings the Shangur and while they are able to fend them off at times and battle them quite competently, the “ice creep” or sheet of ice that the Shangur are spreading as they step foot onto Danaan land and manifest their terraformation is another story entirely. This means the Danaan must retreat and survive in addition to doing battle, and in later titles that will be introduced from this universe the Danaan will look back on the events that take place in Frozen Hearth as the catalyst to their departure from their homeland.

Players of the core variety who have been doing real time strategy for years will appreciate the combination of tried and true as well as new ideas being offered here and the fact that an interesting and logical storyline has been introduced to justify the mechanics of gameplay as well. For example, even in multiplayer the Danaan units are meant to be kept alive, keep experience and grow tougher, and are better when strategically customized as a whole. The player chooses from 3 tribes which sort of represent the Tank / Healer / DPS roles from the MOBA / MMO world and magic is purchased such as leadership or herbalism depending on which tribe the player is a part of. The Shangur (also known as ice demons) are more of a traditional brute force team that spams units and can be upgraded across the board in general ways. Players using this race benefit from sending a rush of units since they spread the encroachment of ice across the land during the course of the match and even leave ice behind when they die. The ice can be upgraded in various ways in order to slow down Danaan units on ice, increase the damage they take while standing on ice, and decrease their morale as well as some Shangur spells being reliant on ice being under the player’s feet. Shangur purchase mainly passive buffs called auras and can also unlock buffers like building faster units, having faster cooldowns through building sub-structures – which brings us to the more fine details of the game’s mechanics.

Frozen Hearth has base building which consists of one structure being put together and then up to 6 sub-structures being linked to it. These are chosen out of 12 which are separated by 3 tiers. In this way, more choices must be made and more diverse battles can come about based on those choices. Different buildings provide different units / research / passive buffs, etc. and while the learning of this system can have a curve the reward of that is a deeper game with a more vast amount of play-styles. In a game that’s set in the dark-age setting, melee is king. Units often line up and do battle making attacks hand to hand with melee weaponry – so you’ll see your troops running up to enemies and getting in position. The appearance of this is being updated over time to look more cohesive to the player’s eye though. There is also a slightly randomized look to each troop, although unit type will be easily identifiable.

Frozen Hearth Gameplay Screenshot 2

The hero of the army can have up to 12 activated abilities / spells with units also able to get spells / abilities. This game is a bit complex at times and tries not to be constrained by the casual preset in order to keep multiplayer very skill-based, but players can still storm through the easy mode to get their bearings straight with the feature set first if need be. In higher levels of play the campaign’s AI has been tuned for more of a challenge. In both multiplayer and single player the Danaan also suffer from poor morale if certain things happen in the game such as the ice encroachment taking a footing over their position which can cause penalties to be suffered to the ability of a unit until the morale increases again. Spells can buff morale though, and ice hurts morale with Danaan on ice because of obvious reasons – physical and mental, as their homeland is being dominated at any given moment where ice is covering their footing.

Even before going into a map players will likely already be deciding what skills they want to unlock and level up in a multiplayer match. The map design is based on introducing unit types, features, and gameplay aspects bit by bit in the campaign mode but online where matches take approximately half of an hour it’s more about versatile play-styles for various game types. Players capture resource nodes and control them which also effects other features in the game including the situation with the ice coverage. In one gametype resources work one way and in another they can work differently though. Frozen Hearth is an open-ended multiplayer experience with various game modes and types including Attrition and resources can be in the form of standard resources (from the traditional RTS standpoint), coins, tickets (similar to Battlefield’s system of spawn tickets), and more with a different gameplay experience resulting each time. Epiphany Games has created a set of mod tools that are currently being used internally to roll out new gametypes and game modes and will aim to release these in the future for the community to work on new content for as well.

In the end, Frozen Hearth is a vision of the core RTS formula interpreted in a unique way and backed up by lore and story that make sense. The combination of classic strategy aspects with character progression seen in MOBA and RPG formats aim to provide a unique experience that is fun to master and worth the effort in the end with the payoff being a fluid and varying experience each time a match is played. Eventually many more game types will come and mod tools could perhaps be given to the community as well, with more games set to be developed at a future date to expand the universe that this first chapter story marker introduces. Look out for our professional Review of the game which will evaluate the current build once our team has had time to play around with the multiplayer and our main reviewer has experienced the campaign some more and of course please let us know what you think about this article and hope to see in future IndieSpotlight features from us.

Editor’s Note: RealGamerNewZ has moved web servers, some older posts can no longer be commented on and have been preserved without their images. Thank you for your understanding in this matter. This article was written by Jon Ireson on 20140112 and was last modified on 20140112 .