Aska Early Impression Review Featured Image
Screenshot: PC Invasion

Aska early impression review – Building a strong foundation

Happy villagers = Strong village.

As survival games like Enshourded become more popular, the market can be oversaturated with many survival games that don’t stand out. However, it seems that Aska is trying to break the mold. Let’s see if that’s true with our early impression review for Aska.

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More than meets the eye

I have a love-hate relationship with survival-based games. On one side, I love games like Palworld in which I create things and then I get my Pals to do everything after that. On the flip side of hating the genre, games like Valheim overwhelm me by giving me little direction and all the freedom at the start, and it can be a slow time taking off if it’s just one person. In the curious case of Aska, it’s a little bit of both but balanced out. You’ll have to grind, especially during the starting hours, but when you get more villagers, things tend to get easier. 

Aska early impression review - Building a strong foundation
Image: Sand Sailor Studio

The first thing I want to point out in this early impression review is that the survival tag for Aska is just a tag. While yes, you’ll be surviving, gathering resources, collecting food and water, and protecting yourself at the start, things do take a turn. Once you get your first villager, the game slowly starts to shift away from that playstyle. It becomes more about making a self-sustaining tribe rather than surviving — which I liked. Now, instead of me going out to search for food, I can have my new employee forage around and take care of the food department of my village.

Things get easier when you have an NPC dealing with the mundane task of finding resources. If you remember in Palworld how much the game took a different form once you got the Pals doing everything, the same can be said about Aska. But, this mechanic is a lot deeper. More on that later. 

Build from the ground up

From the moment you start the game, you have little direction on what to do. That, at the start, feels a little overwhelming. However, as I began collecting the basic resources like sticks and flax and then a campfire, things started to fall into place naturally. After a while, Aska throws out hints and gives you directions that you can follow — I chose not to.

Instead, I began crafting shelters, water collectors, and other things needed to make surviving a lot at the start easier. Even with the limited things you create at the start, you can feel the building feature start to make sense. This is a stand-out aspect of Aska, the learning curve gradually goes down to the point where you know exactly what you want. 

Aska early impression review - Building a strong foundation
Image: Sand Sailor Studio

It’s that organic growth of seeing your base become something else in a few days that feels rewarding. Whenever I earn a new item to build, like a worker’s pit, I bring certain structures down so that the same worker’s pit can build better and stronger structures. You’ll be doing tons of tearing down for space for new villagers because you’ve unlocked something in the build menu. Pressing Z on your keyboard is a lifesaver. It shows you all the resources in a medium-sized radius. By pressing that in each new area you enter, finding the items you need couldn’t be any easier. So say goodbye to grinding! 

The best part about this feature is that you can designate a villager for a role. For example, if you have a wood guy, you can use him to find and gather all the wood-related items. On top of that, you can mark areas near your base with the resources you need, Then have villagers harvest in that area. This should cut your workload in half because you have people already working in the background. In turn, you can focus on other stuff, like seeing if you can create a sister base close. The options are limitless. 

Community builds homes 

As mentioned, Aska borrows some features from Palworld, like having Pals doing all the work. Instead of catching them in Palworld, you attract villagers by creating the Eye of Odin. This structure needs about five Jotun Blood stones that can be found in certain stone clumps or on the ground. From there, you deposit the required amount in the Eye of Odin. When that’s done, you get two villagers to pick from.

Aska Looking The Stone Of Jotun
Screenshot: PC Invasion

Each of them has their attributes and behaviors. I have a villager who performs well during the summer season and is good at hunting. However, they don’t like the cold as much. This is an easy fix, all I need is a campfire, and after that, it’s smooth sailing. So my main priority is to have the food going. I can keep building, and my villagers can look for food. This makes it easy for other villagers to eat if they need to. So, just like Palworld, where I’d send a Pal to find Polymer, I can have my villager hunt or look for berries. The whole point is to create a productivity loop that you can leave behind.

Sand Sailor Studios went deeper into the villager mechanics by letting you give them schedules. This process I found interesting because not many survival games I’ve played let you adjust those in-the-grass details. I did it all in balance and gave my villagers eight hours of sleep, then they pulled a 9 to 5 shift — every day. After making sure they were healthy and working as fast, I gave them a few hours of doing nothing. This is needed because you have to check if your villagers are happy or not. It’s a good way to see how your workers are and if you’re overworking them. This aspect is important in the speed of the base you’re building. The happier and healthier they are, the faster your village will be built. 

Creating your legend

Aska Backside Of Player1
Image: Sand Sailor Studio

The future for Aska is a fruitful one. I think it has the same pulling power as Palworld in the sense that you as the player do not need to work as hard to make things work. That ability to leave all grinding to your villagers can be a welcoming feature.

My only issue is that, on the surface, Aska does not separate itself from the rest. I just hope players jump into this game and see there’s way more going on than just surviving. The base management features of Aska should not be overlooked and that’s where most of the meat is for the game. Once players discover how immersive and dynamic managing and controlling your base is, I feel Aska will last. 

Giving Aska a hard number is a challenge in the early stages because there’s a lot more going on. However, if I had to give a number it would be 8 out of 10. The reasoning is that Aska offers something different by making it accessible thanks to the learning curve I mentioned. On the other hand, if you look at the game at face value, it might not stick out. This could result in many players overlooking it. I hope that players stick with Aska and uncover the unique aspects of this survival game. That will help the game stand out from the rest.

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Raza Malik
Raza is a Contributing Writer who's been at PC Invasion since March 2023. After he earned his Media Arts degree at Niagara College, he went on to grow his portfolio by working at such publications as GameRant. While he plays a wide array of different types of games, Raza enjoys discussing open-world games, shooters, and live service games. Some of his favorite series include Assassin's Creed, God of War, and the Diablo series. On the side, he enjoys editing videos, and creating content for his side project Marching Into Madness.