Valheim's new frost caves give Vikings a reason to love the Mountains

(Image credit: Iron Gate Studios)

Valheim's long-awaited frost caves have been added in the latest patch, giving Vikings a few more reasons to visit the Mountains biome besides collecting wolf pelts and looking for silver mines. I really haven't spent much time in the Mountains since defeating Valheim boss Moder, but I did some exploring today to find a couple of the chilly new dungeons and meet the enemies lurking inside them. 

It's dark, so bring some torches. It's dangerous, so bring a nice selection of weapons. And consider crafting an extra set of armor to leave at your bedside: You might wind up doing a hasty corpse run through the snow to collect your gear when you meet Valheim's newest residents. 

Note: there will be some spoilers below if you want to check out the caves for yourself without knowing anything in advance.

Valheim's frost caves are highly reminiscent of both the burial chambers found in the Black Forest and crypts found in the Swamp, made up of narrow corridors and dark chambers with very little room to maneuver. The frost caves, however, are far more vertical. I've been in burial chambers that had a second level, but some of these frost caves can go down, and down, and down again. Adding to the unsettling atmosphere is the distant call of wolf howls and the ominous sounds of shifting rocks. It's pretty darn creepy in there.

(Image credit: Iron Gate Studios)

And just like Valheim's other procedurally generated dungeons, some are fairly small and some are pretty massive. The first frost cave I found was on the small side, and as I smashed through an ice wall with my pickaxe I met the first new frost cave enemy: a bunch of bats. 

Bats are annoying, honestly, like most flying enemies in games are. They're a bit like Valheim's deathsquitos, only they come at you in a small mob instead of solo and thankfully they're nowhere near as deadly. The best way to deal with them is to block them with a shield, at which point they'll hover in place for a moment, giving you a chance to clonk them into a pile of leather scraps. But they can also flutter away at times and just sort of lurk nearby, which I find annoying. You just know they're gonna fly back and attack again at the worst possible time.

Parts of the frost caves are just that: caves. They look like rough, natural caverns with some crystals to collect here and there (which is much nicer than having to kill stone golems for them). But other areas are stone corridors, obviously created by hand, and there are decorations like braziers, altars, carvings, and furniture. There are also doors, which is good news for anyone who ever found themselves out of their depth in a burial chamber. Slamming a door shut on a skeleton or a ghost is a good way to catch your breath and cheese the fight, and that applies here in the frost caves, too, because there's worse things down here than just bats.

(Image credit: Iron Gate Studios)

Meet the ulv, a sort of a shaggy wolf, though they're not as difficult to fight as the wolfpacks in the Mountains. There are a lot of ulvs in the caves, but on the plus side they're often napping on the floor so I was able to get in a couple hits before they jumped up and came at me. Yes, I was crouch-walking through the caves, not so much because I consider myself stealthy but because I was genuinely terrified to be down there. 

But ulvs and bats are not your main concern. That's all I found in the first small frost cave I visited, but then I kept searching the snowy peaks until I found a second cave. And that one had some serious surprises in it. After smashing some bats and ulvs with my mace, I opened a door. And I got a faceful of fire. 

The true inhabitants of the frost caves are cultists, another new enemy who look like werewolves dressed in red robes, but despite their hairiness have no fear of fire. In fact, they blast it right out of their hands at you. I don't know what kind of cult worships wolf gods and have flamethrowers for hands, but they seem to have their act together.

Worse, after slamming the door in the cultist's face, catching my breath, and glugging stamina and health potions, I threw the door back open and waded in with my iron mace. Unlike wolves and ulvs, which my mace does a nice job of dealing with quickly, the cultist barely seemed bothered by my blunt weapon. Luckily I also had my iron axe, and its slashing damage did much, much better against the cultist than the mace's blunt did.

This second cave was the big one I mentioned, and wow. I just kept finding more and more stairways leading down and less and less motivation to keep going down them because these big caves are just packed with cultists, sometimes in groups of up to four or five. That's too many mean bipedal wolves blasting fire from their furry hands for me to deal with.

(Image credit: Iron Gate Studios)

I am definitely going to have to return, though, because I collected a new resource called Fenris hair from all the ulvs I killed. And as you might know, touching a new resource in Valheim immediately shows you what you can craft from it. There's a whole new armor set I can make from the shaggy remains of the frost cave inhabitants, the Fenris set, and not only does it increase your speed it adds fire resistance. Which sounds like just the type of thing I need to deal with those mobs of fire-flinging cultists.

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.