In co-op Viking survival game Aska you can work smarter, not harder, by making your followers do all your chores

While you're busy exploring and dying in Valheim's new boiling hot biome, here's a gentle reminder that there's another Viking survival game simmering on the stove. Aska, published by Thunderful Games, will enter early access next month, and while it supports four players in co-op you'll never be alone—even if you play it solo.

Unlike Valheim, Aska has NPC helpers you can recruit to your village, and the new deep dive trailer above highlights what Bjorn, Freyja, and your other loyal Norse followers can do for you. Each follower can be assigned tasks like chopping down trees, chipping away at boulders, hammering together your buildings, planting and tending your crops, and fighting off enemy invaders. With their help your scrubby little camp will quickly grow into a mighty Viking settlement.

But not every Viking is well-suited for every task. Your villagers have traits that might make them better suited for farming during the day rather than manning a watch tower at night. It's your job to manage them and make sure each is happy with their occupation, or at least as happy as someone can be when they spend all their time cracking boulders and hauling logs.

Once you've recruited enough loyal Vikings you can even set up production chains, as I did when I played a preview build of Aska last month. I hated crafting rope because collecting the resources needed for it was time consuming, so I set up a crafting station, assigned one of my Vikes to it, and picked the rope recipe from the menu. From then on, my rope problem was handled.

What do you do while your villagers are doing all the gathering, harvesting, and crafting? Explore the world, fight weird monsters, discover ruins, and try not to die. If you do perish in combat, your villagers can serve one additional purpose: you can consume their souls to bring you back to life at full strength. It felt a little grim to banish one of my Vikings to eternal darkness just because I picked a fight with an angry skeleton warrior and lost, but hey, my villagers knew the risks of signing up with me. (Note: I have no evidence that my villagers knew the risks of signing up with me.)

If you want to build and manage your own Viking village, and occasionally suck the soul from an innocent follower, there's not much longer to wait. Aska releases on June 20.

Christopher Livingston
Senior Editor

Chris started playing PC games in the 1980s, started writing about them in the early 2000s, and (finally) started getting paid to write about them in the late 2000s. Following a few years as a regular freelancer, PC Gamer hired him in 2014, probably so he'd stop emailing them asking for more work. Chris has a love-hate relationship with survival games and an unhealthy fascination with the inner lives of NPCs. He's also a fan of offbeat simulation games, mods, and ignoring storylines in RPGs so he can make up his own.