Frostpunk, by 11 bit studios, is at its core a resource management game / city builder however its unique setting and story make it very different from anything else you’ve played before. Set in a world where an ice age hit the planet, your group of survivors has headed into the freezing northern wastes to set up new community. This community is based around a generator that provides heat for you colony.
With a very gritty art style and atmospheric sound track this game had me from the get go. As did the unique hub style layout of the city.
The goal is to keep people fed, warm and alive by building, researching and managing resource collection whilst completing various tasks. Sounds simple right? Wrong, at the the start there simply aren’t enough resources / people to go around. Running out of food? Get more people on it but then who’s going to chop your wood so you can build? Need more coal? Put more people on it and run the risk of running out of something else crucial. On top of this your people have a nasty habit of dying (quite a lot until you get the hang of things) making this juggling act even harder! Make too many mistakes and its game over quite quickly.
What really makes this game stand out for me are the different laws you can bring into play which have both there ups and downs. Running out of people to work? You could enact a law that forces children into work but kids getting killed whilst gathering coal in a frozen wasteland can bring the mood of the camp down to say the least. Lots of dead bodies piling up? You could build a cemetery or you could use these corpses to fertilize your newly built hot house that produces crops, would you want to eat that?!
Watch the Frostpunk launch trailer below:
All of these decisions affect the levels of hope and or discontent within your colony both of which can end your game. If hope gets too low, you’re done. If discontent gets too high, you’re done (this happened to me A LOT!).
Now for the generator. This coal gobbling beast is set in the middle of your colony and providing it’s supplied with enough coal will throw out heat and keep your people / buildings warm . It starts with quite a small range that can be upgraded but this means you need more coal to feed it and so on. Remember the bit at the beginning where we talked about not enough people and resources? Well upgrading the generator adds even more pressure.
As with other games of this ilk you can research new tech and upgrades for your buildings to make them run more efficiently but once again making the right decision is tough. Do you focus on food supply while people freeze? Focus on heat whilst people die of starvation and disease? You get the point. Even this is a delicate act of balance. It’s like tightrope walking across the grand canyon, get it wrong and you’re a goner
You can also create scout teams to get out there and explore the icy hell outside of your colony. These brave souls can bring back resources, other people or even the rare steam cores needed for advanced buildings. They could also bring back absolutely nothing or simply die and not come back at all.
View some Frostpunk screenshots in our gallery:
Overall Frostpunk is about finding the balance of making the best out of a very bad situation and more often that not choosing the lesser of two evils. It’s also pretty damn challenging and the two of the three scenarios it launches with have kept me occupied for over twelve hours so far so you get quite a lot of game for the £24.99 price tag (at time of purchase). 11 bit studios have already given a development roadmap for the game and announced that the updates will be free. Look out for The Fall of Winterhome on September 19th which is a free story-driven expansion.
I love this game. I found it engaging from the start and challenging on the easy mode. There is also a hardcore mode that I haven’t had the courage to try yet. I loved that you were forced to make hard decisions and that there was no easy path.
Frostpunk was reviewed using a digital code purchased by the author.
Publisher: 11 bit studios Developer: 11 bit studios Release Date: April 24th, 2018 Reviewed On: PC/Steam