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Aska Review (Early Access) | Challenging but Rewarding Struggles of Survival

70
Story
6
Gameplay
8
Visuals
7
Audio
7
Value For Money
7
Price:
$ 25
Aska delivers a compelling survival experience with a unique Norse mythology twist. Its strengths lie in its immersive world, management gameplay, and comprehensive crafting and building systems. While it has some areas that could be improved, such as its grindy nature and lack of freedom for creativity, it remains an engaging game that fans of the genre will likely find much to enjoy. The game provides a solid and immersive survival experience that, despite its flaws, offers a rewarding journey for those willing to invest the time and effort.

Aska introduces an entirely new level of survival in the Nordic era. Read our review to see what it did well, what it didn't do well, and if it's worth buying.

Aska Review Overview

What is Aska?

In Aska, players engage in classic action-survival gameplay, from gathering essential resources and crafting vital tools to engaging in open-world combat and uncovering the secrets of the land. However, what truly sets Aska apart is its innovative Villager System. Dive into the heart of Norse mythology as you craft your own unique saga with each playthrough.

Aska features:
 ⚫︎ Open-world Exploration
 ⚫︎ Crafting and Building Mechanics
 ⚫︎ Resource and Colony Management
 ⚫︎ Survival Elements (Hunger, Thirst)
 ⚫︎ Enemy Encounters and Combat
 ⚫︎ Norse Mythology Influences
 ⚫︎ Multiplayer Mode

For more gameplay details, read everything we know about Aska's gameplay and story.


Digital Storefronts
Steam IconSteam


Aska Pros & Cons

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Pros Cons
Checkmark Enhanced Upgradable Buildings
Checkmark Comprehensive Villager System
Checkmark Colony Management
Checkmark Building Based on Blueprint Only
Checkmark Too Grindy
Checkmark Repairs Are Too Frustrating
Checkmark Difficult to Keep Up With

Aska Overall Score - 70/100

Aska delivers a compelling survival experience with a unique Norse mythology twist. Its strengths lie in its immersive world, management gameplay, and comprehensive crafting and building systems. While it has some areas that could be improved, such as its grindy nature and lack of freedom for creativity, it remains an engaging game that fans of the genre will likely find much to enjoy. The game provides a solid and immersive survival experience that, despite its flaws, offers a rewarding journey for those willing to invest the time and effort.

Aska Story - 6/10

The narrative of Aska is rooted in Norse mythology, providing a rich, lore-filled backdrop that adds depth to the survival experience. The mythological elements offer players a sense of purpose as they navigate the harsh environments. However, the story lacks the emotional impact and complexity seen in more story-driven games. While the narrative serves its purpose well, offering context and intrigue, it may not be the main draw for players seeking a deeply immersive and emotionally resonant experience.

Aska Gameplay - 8/10

Aska excels in offering a multifaceted survival experience with a strong emphasis on exploration, crafting, and strategic planning. Multiplayer mode can significantly enhance the gameplay, making it more enjoyable and dynamic as players work together to survive and thrive. However, the complexity of the game's systems can be daunting for newcomers, requiring a significant amount of time to master. Additionally, the potential for resource management to become tedious can slightly hinder the overall experience. Despite these minor drawbacks, the gameplay remains highly engaging and rewarding, with a variety of activities to keep players invested.

Aska Visuals - 7/10

The visual design of Aska has beautifully rendered environments that capture the essence of ancient Nordic culture. The dynamic weather system and seasonal changes add a layer of visual depth and realism, making the world feel alive. However, character models and animations, while good, could benefit from more detail and variety to enhance the overall aesthetic appeal.

Aska Audio - 7/10

The audio in Aska complements the visual and gameplay experience effectively. The ambient sounds and music create an atmosphere that enhances the feeling of being in a Norse-inspired world. Voice acting, where present, is competent but not particularly memorable. Some sound effects can become repetitive over time, but overall, the audio design does a good job of supporting the game’s themes and setting, contributing to the immersive experience.

Aska Value for Money - 7/10

Aska offers a substantial amount of content for $24.99, especially considering its expansive open world. The depth of the crafting, building, and survival mechanics provides many hours of gameplay, making it a solid investment for fans of the genre. However, it’s not a standout title, and players may find other games more enjoyable. While ASKA provides good value, it may not be the first choice for players looking for a groundbreaking survival game.

Aska Review: Challenging but Rewarding Struggles of Survival

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Aska positions itself uniquely within the survival game genre by emphasizing colony management and efficiency. As the Chief of a Viking tribe, players must manage resources, cultivate food, hunt animals, and ensure the safety and security of their villagers. While ASKA incorporates many elements typical of survival games, its focus on village management and strategic planning sets it apart.

One of the standout features of Aska is its colony management system. Players use a unique resource called Jotun's Blood to summon random NPCs to their village. Each villager arrives with their own set of skills and abilities, which players must strategically utilize. For example, a villager may excel at gathering wood or stone, while another may consume twice as much food as others. The game allows players to assign villagers to various tasks such as woodcutting, mining, and cooking, which can all be heavily automated using in-game instruction tools. Careful planning and building around these villagers is challenging, yet incredibly rewarding.

However, the interface for managing these tasks is somewhat cumbersome, requiring players to navigate through multiple menus to analyze each villager. Despite this, the foundation of the system is strong, offering a promising start to automating some of the more tedious elements of survival and colony management. While automation of tasks isn’t unique to the genre, Aska's system complements the survival aspects of the experience effectively.

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Initially, players are responsible for performing basic survival tasks, such as gathering berries and storing them for food. As the game progresses and more villagers are recruited, these tasks become automated, freeing the player to explore further and achieve greater objectives. This transition from manual to automated tasks enhances the gameplay, making it less about the menial aspects of survival and more about strategic management and exploration.

The system of automating tasks is both rewarding and essential. For example, a villager may gather berries, another may cook them, and yet another may transfer the food to a warehouse to prevent it from spoiling. This multi-step process applies to various resources, including mining and woodcutting, making the core survival elements initially hands-on but progressively automated.

Outside of colony management, ASKA includes a combat system that, while basic, is functional and engaging. Players can dodge, block, perform heavy and light attacks, and use ranged, melee, and two-handed weapons. Villagers can also be assigned to secure specific areas, such as a watchtower's radius. Although the security system is not entirely reliable at this stage, it highlights the importance of base defense in gameplay.

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The combat is responsive and quick, allowing players to feel confident in their ability to handle most basic enemies. However, the system lacks depth and complexity, making it more of a supporting feature than a primary focus of the game.

Surviving in Aska is no easy task. Players must prepare for seasonal changes, with winter posing significant challenges. Failure to set up essential processes, such as clothing manufacturing, can lead to disastrous outcomes, as villagers may leave or die from exposure and starvation.

In conclusion, Aska reintroduces the essential challenge of survival against the elements, making it a significant addition to the genre. However, the game's difficulty can occasionally verge on frustration rather than challenge, especially when the villagers are inefficient or repairs demand excessive resources. These aspects can result in a repetitive and punishing experience, particularly for solo players, highlighting areas that could benefit from refinement.

Pros of Aska

Things Aska Got Right
Checkmark Enhanced Upgradable Buildings
Checkmark Comprehensive Villager System
Checkmark Colony Management

Enhanced Upgradable Buildings

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Aska offers a robust system for upgrading buildings. As you progress, not only do these structures improve aesthetically, showcasing more elaborate and impressive designs, but they also provide enhanced functionalities. Upgraded buildings can offer increased storage capacity, and are generally stronger. This progression system keeps the gameplay engaging as players work towards improving their settlement.

Comprehensive Villager System

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The villager system in Aska allows players to summon NPCs and assign them specific tasks within the village. This feature significantly reduces the need for micromanagement, as villagers can prioritize tasks automatically based on the village's needs. By delegating responsibilities such as gathering resources and defending the settlement, players can focus on higher-level strategic decisions and exploration. This system enhances the sense of building a thriving community and adds depth to the colony management aspect of the game.

Colony Management

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Managing a colony in ASKA involves a range of activities, from resource allocation and production to defense and expansion. The colony management system is well-designed, providing players with the tools to oversee their settlement’s growth effectively. Players must balance their villagers' needs with the demands of the environment, making strategic decisions that impact the survival and prosperity of their colony. This aspect of the game offers a rewarding experience, as players see the tangible results of their management skills.

Cons of Aska

Things That Aska Can Improve
Checkmark Building Based on Blueprint Only
Checkmark Too Grindy
Checkmark Repairs Are Too Frustrating
Checkmark Difficult to Keep Up With

Building Based on Blueprint Only

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While Aska provides a wide array of building blueprints, the system can feel restrictive for players who enjoy creative freedom. The lack of flexibility in designing and constructing buildings means that every player’s settlement may end up looking quite similar. This can diminish the personal touch and unique flair that players might want to bring to their villages.

Too Grindy

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Resource gathering in Aska, although a staple of survival games, can become excessively time-consuming. The need to continuously farm materials can turn into a repetitive and tedious process, detracting from the enjoyment of other gameplay elements. This grind can feel particularly burdensome when players are required to gather large quantities of resources for building upgrades, crafting, and repairs. The excessive time spent on resource collection can overshadow the more exciting aspects of exploration and crafting.

Repairs Are Too Frustrating

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One of the significant frustrations in Aska is the process of repairing buildings. Structures can be easily damaged by enemy creatures, and repairing them often takes as long as building new ones. This process also requires the same amount of materials, which can be demoralizing for players who have to constantly gather resources to maintain their village. The high frequency of repairs and the resource-intensive nature of this task can make it feel like an endless cycle, detracting from the overall enjoyment of the game.

Difficult to Keep Up With

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The challenging nature of Aska can be overwhelming, especially for new players. While the difficulty level is in line with the survival genre’s expectations, it can be discouraging when players see their hard work destroyed rapidly by unforeseen events or enemy attacks. An option to lower the difficulty level would be beneficial, providing a more accessible entry point for beginners. This would help mitigate the frustration of losing progress and encourage more players to stick with the game long enough to master its complexities.

Is Aska Worth It?

For Fans of Challenging Survival Games

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ASKA is a solid game that brings a twist to the survival genre with its colony management focus and Norse mythology setting. While it has some areas that could benefit from improvement, it offers a unique experience for those who appreciate a challenging survival game. If these strengths resonate with you, Aska is definitely worth considering.


Digital Storefronts
Steam IconSteam
Price $24.99


Aska FAQ

Will there be self-hostable dedicated servers?

The developers are considering dedicated servers, but there is still much discussion about how to implement them effectively. The presence of AI villagers and random events pose challenges that require player supervision, making it a complex feature to develop.

Is there going to be PvP?

The developers are focused on ensuring the co-op experience is stable, fun, and smooth first. PvP is not off the table, but co-op takes complete priority for now.

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ASKA Product Information

ASKA Cover
Title ASKA
Release Date June 20, 2024
Developer Sand Sailor Studio
Publisher Thunderful Publishing
Supported Platforms PC (Steam)
Genre Action, Adventure, Survival
Number of Players 1-4 (Online Co-op Multiplayer)
ESRB Rating RP
Official Website ASKA Website

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