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Wildfrost's first big update makes life easier for players old and new

Now you can feel clever for turning down rewards

Out of all the roguelike deckbuilders that have followed in Slay The Spire's footsteps, Wildfrost is my second favourite. The cardplay never quite reaches the dizzy heights of Spire or Monster Train, but it's far cuter than either of them and still absolutely splendid. Now's a great time to pick it up, too, because its first big update is primarily aimed at clarifying rules to help new players avoid all the painful deaths I suffered through.

Developers Deadpan Games have released a roadmap, too, revealing a rough plan for what they're working on next.

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I'll sell you on it, first: Wildfrost hews a little more closely to the Monster Train mould, in that enemies come at you from two different lanes while you plonk fellas down to defend your main Leader unit. Success comes from weaving your way through varied but rarely overwhelming abilities, like a barrage effect that hits every unit in a row or spikes that deal some damage back to attackers. It does a great job at imbuing many turns with a sense of satisfaction, as you punch out dangerous enemies just before they can shred through your lines.

You can move your units around, too, so it's more dynamic than Monster Train - part of the challenge is in building an effective machine from the interlocking strengths of your units, while the other part is all about manoeuvring those components around so they simultaneously soak up damage, deal damage in the right places, and leave your units lined up so their abilities bounce off each other most effectively. There are lots of trade offs, inviting lots of mulling. It's good!

The Fixers and Tinkers update has a few neat changes that let you get at that goodness faster, with an extended tutorial and a sorely-needed option to see the order in which units are going to attack. They always follow the same order based on what position they're in, but I've played for dozens of hours and I still appreciate having some of the cognitive load taken off me by having the order spelled out for me.

Another big improvement is that you can now see the next battle you're up against on the map, meaning you can now pick rewards on the way that you know will specifically help with that fight. Interestingly, you can also now decline to take a new card when they're offered, which is a surprisingly big change to make post-release. The way redrawing in Wildfrost works makes accruing card flab less important than in other deckbuilders, but it can still be a big deal. I'm looking forward to my first attempt at a hyper-lean deck.

Beyond that there are balances and bug fixes, which you can check out for yourself on the update page.

Lastly, here's that roadmap. I particularly like the sound of an extended bell system, which already lets you make runs more interesting via modifiers that simultaneously add extra challenge and extra rewards.

You can nab Wildfrost for £17/$20/€20 on Steam.

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