Frozen Flame is an open-world crafting game that puts exploration first

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How many times has it happened? You’re wandering outside your base, gathering new resources and materials, and you find something incredible: a new region to explore, some mysterious new enemy, a dungeon that definitely has some wild loot inside. Sadly, you’ve been away from home long enough that your character’s starving. You should be exploring, but instead you’re having to trek home so you can refill your hunger bar. It’s embarrassing. Luckily, Frozen Flame understands where adventurers belong: out adventuring, not fetching soup.

The developers at Dreamside Interactive have hand-tailored Arcana, the world of dying Dragons, for those who love exploration. It’s a vast and vivid landscape that invites curiosity, where ruined keeps and towers loom over rich vistas. Ambient wildlife populates the environment, engaging and attacking each other, while a dynamic day/night cycle grants the stylized fantasy world a sense of life. Each region has its own dangers. Titanic beasts of legend thunder across forests, mountains, and swamps. An Ice Citadel spreads a corrupting curse across the doomed world. If that’s not enough, procedurally-generated regions ensure there are consistent new sights to savor.

Frozen Flame screenshot

(Image credit: Ravenage)

While I personally love a good vista enough on its own, Frozen Flame is more than just some lovely panoramas. After all, exploration needs a reward to make it worthwhile. Otherwise, it’s just melodramatic walking. Thankfully, Arcana is littered with storied and enchanted artifacts, as well as rare materials for crafting gear. Contributing to a fully-developed RPG progression and crafting system, every destination and point of interest promises an opportunity to advance your character’s powers and capabilities, whether through improving your equipment or furthering your mastery of the Flame.

The Flame is a powerful source of magic, which players in Frozen Flame strengthen as they gather resources, complete rituals, and hunt powerful enemies. The Flame can be harnessed to unlock new spells from Frozen Flame’s ability tree, to help you master whatever dangers you might find on your next adventure abroad. Transform into an eagle to reach new heights (and glide to safety after you leap off them, as you inevitably will). Unleash chain lightning on bands of enemies. With each new spell and scavenged crafting recipe, you’re better equipped to face challenging areas. And those challenging areas will, obviously, award better spoils.

Frozen Flame screenshot

(Image credit: Ravenage)

As they grow in strength, high-level players can craft entire settlements of their own, hand-sculpting whole villages of cozy abodes or complete menacing fortresses. Eventually, they’ll be able to tame beasts to fight alongside them in combat. And throughout, they’re not burning away their hours with timesink survival mechanics. Frozen Flame’s base-building and crafting work to encourage your exploration, not distract from it. That means less time standing next to a lumber mill while it turns your logs into planks.

If you’re inclined, you can bring others along for your adventures in locally hosted games, official online realms, or rentable private servers. Pool your efforts and raise a shared fortress to safeguard the prizes you’ll win together. Or, if you’re scoundrels, you can do the opposite and raid the strongholds of rival players, claiming their hard-won loot for yourselves.

Fair warning, though: the game’s difficulty scales based on how many friends you bring with you. Still, while the Conduits and the cursed creatures that guard their plentiful rewards might become more dangerous, the tactical benefit of having friends to draw a hostile behemoth’s attention is probably worth the risk. For those who relish an extra challenge, private servers offer custom settings for added difficulty, while an optional Survival mode adds environmental hazards to contend with. Oh, and it makes PvP unrestricted. Best of luck.

Frozen Flame screenshot

(Image credit: Ravenage)

Ultimately, your goal is to amass enough strength so that you and your allies can storm the Citadel, and undo the curse of the Frozen Flame before its blight leaves the world a lifeless, frozen wasteland. Sounds doable. No pressure.

You can find information about Frozen Flame at its Steam page. And if you want to get your hands on it, a playable demo is available for download now.

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