Hey there, boys and girls, it's time once again for Uncle Matias' Vidya Game Review! Today I'm taking a look at the survival city builder, Frostpunk. But do me solid, will you, please visit dlh.net and check out my official review for them HERE. Don't worry, I'll still be here when you're done.
Good? Well, let's take a deeper look at this game.
Frostpunk is what you get if you combine SimCity with Fallout. The world has gone to (frozen) hell and you command one of the last groups of humans left alive. All the world has been covered with snow by a never-ending storm referred to as The Frost. It's your job to set up camp at a furnace and survive. Keep the heat going. Keep the people alive. Deal with civil unrest. Explore the wasteland. Scavenge and mine for supplies. But first and foremost, DON'T FREEZE.
Of course you need to gather resources. Coal to keep the heat up. Wood and steel to build new buildings. Food to... well, eat. And the temperature just keeps dropping. Coal amounts that served you well yesterday will run dry today if you want to keep people alive. And don't forget about the sick and injured. They still eat and take up space even if they're not pitching in.
And on top of all this, you have to monitor the two big stats, Hope and Discontent. If Hope falls to zero, you'll be kicked out and exiled to the tundra alone. Discontent rising means more chances of your people revolting. While managing everything else, you have to decide how you'll keep an eye on these two big stats. Will you open bars so people can drink their worries away? Maybe a whorehouse? Or will you focus on faith and spirituality? Maybe just crackdown with tougher laws and prisons for those that disobey?
As you go, you can research new tech to make your heaters more efficient, gain automatons that will work 24 hours a day without the need to heat a workshop, and of course, explore the wilderness for resources and more survivors. But... will you take in new survivors? Will you have the space, heat, and resources to accommodate them? Difficult moral dilemmas lie around every corner in this game.
What did I love and what did I hate?
First off, I love the story. While you're busy running your town and trying to survive, little elements will pop up, like a man deciding to leave the settlement to chase after his daughter or a child who's parent has died. They're uplifting at times, heartbreaking at others, but they always serve to make the world you're building feel real.
You can click on any of the people wandering through your city and learn their name, their job, their health condition, and who else they're related to in the city. You can see that some have strong work ethics and refuse to go to the medic unless you relieve them of duty. Others will stir up trouble and try to divide the city. Each one of them feels unique and distinct.
The game's art and story is fantastic. The music sits quietly in the background, faintly there, but waiting like a predator to strike when the tension needs to ramp up. The gameplay is fun and easy to figure out, but there's so many ways to go about any given goal that you're never locked in to one play style.
There are downsides, however. If you're not one for steep learning curves, this game may not be for you. It is unforgiving. Don't expect to win on your first go. Furthermore, don't expect to know what you're doing either.
The game has a tutorial screen, but it's not intuitive. When given a goal, it's not always clear how you're supposed to accomplish it. What certain buildings do and where you should place them aren't well explained. Trial and error is the name of the game and sometimes, that makes the game frustrating.
The worst offense, however, is the User Interface itself. Screens have red "x"s in the corner. These aren't for closing that window, they're for irreversibly deleting that automaton or building. No warning screen to ask if you "really want to destroy" a facility. Just gone. Furthermore, once you have a city with lots of buildings and tons of steam and smoke coming out, you can't tell what buildings are what anymore. So being told you need to fix the heat in the hot house or add more workers to the hunters hut can be useless information when I can't figure out which building that's supposed to be!
Overall, I highly recommend this game. It's fun, it's addictive, and it really challenges you to think outside the box and multi-task. If you can stand the challenge, give Frostpunk a try. Just make sure to pack a sweater.
Be Excellent To Each Other.
Keep your eyes open for my debut novel, The Paladin.