It’s been a year and a half since Frostpunk first released for the PC. What hasn’t changed is how unforgiving and brutal the gameplay is, even as it makes its way to consoles. While it is still basically the same game, the most notable change as it hits the PS4 and Xbox would be the control scheme but overall, Frostpunk is still the city-builder for people who like a bit of punishment to go with their managerial skills.
(This article has been updated for the console release)
Difficult, unforgiving yet satisfying to play! This is Frostpunk in general. If you’re a fan of city-building and survival games, Frostpunk has all the elements essential to both genres, but 11 bit studios jacked it up with a ton of additional features that made us appreciate the game even further.
Developed by the company behind popular tower defense game Anomaly Defender, and post-war survival game This War of Mine, Frostpunk is 11 bit studios’ unique take on city-building and survival genre. Keeping your people warm and well-fed is the main goal, but the intricacies to pull this off requires grueling and sometimes frustrating steps, which surprisingly makes it one of the best games we played this year.
Challenging is an understatement
This isn’t Cities Skylines. If you think that Cities Skylines or Sim City is challenging enough, you’ve got to try Frostpunk. Unlike other city-building game, Frostpunk starts off really hard at the onset. Your city isn’t a happy place, and expect people to complain and die; and the end of each day, you just got to learn how to suck things up.
As resources plunge, more challenges will come your way. People will revolt, form a faction, and threaten to leave to find their way back to London. People will get sick – some will survive but most of them will die if you don’t have enough facilities to treat the sick. When things get really bad, you will have to enact laws that either leave the dead frozen or give them a decent burial.
Apart from the usual things to consider like happiness and satisfaction of your people, one more thing Frostpunk throws at you is the temperature and its effects on you as you move further and further away from your generator. The generator requires a constant supply of coal to get going so this is another element to the game that you’ll need to look after on top of everything else. This will surely put your managerial and multi-tasking skills to the test.
The Art of Frostpunk is both intricate and beautiful
Frostpunk’s art is rooted from careful planning and imagining. From cutscenes to actual gameplay graphics, Frostpunk is undoubtedly a work of immense creativity. As a city-building game, Frostpunk perfectly reimagined steampunk in a whole new level in the way they designed the houses, factories and facilities. In a presentation by Adam Smientanski, the concept artist behind the game, he said that they tried fusing cyberpunk assets in the modern Victorian era in order to recreate their own imagining of steampunk.
Architectural design was manually drafted and drawn by hand, and recreated for the 3D space. When playing the game, I often found myself zooming into the buildings to see and appreciate the amount of details they put on it. Unfortunately, unlike other city-building game like Cities Skylines and SimCity, zoom level is quite limited.
This was a wishlist of our from last year and 11 bit studios may have heard us because there is now a photo mode after a bunch of other updates since launch. The photo mode highlights the graphics and interactions even more and really gives the fantastic art a spotlight in this otherwise dreary setting.
Deep and immersive storyline
Storyline isn’t usually central to city-building games. Games of such genre usually put gamers to the task of founding and growing a city.
Frostpunk is different as it carries with it a gruesome story of despair and a glimmer of hope. Each survivor has a name and a story to tell, and this makes Frostpunk truly immersive. Each death in your community makes an impact on the growth or fall of your city. A rise of hope or despair can bring about a sigh of relief or a cry for help for the player. Every moment of distrust by your people make you think about giving up or staying for the next 3 hours in the game.
A game with realized potential
The game initially released last year and throughout 2018, its had its fair share of updates that really gave it the amount of content it needed to turn it into a full package. Best of all, the updates came in for free for all players! With its success, a season pass for the PC version is now also available that includes additional scenarios to give even the most seasoned players a real test of wits and patience.
With its transition to the console version, you can expect all of the updates plus an intuitive control scheme that is efficient enough to handle the rigorous requirements of the game.
It’s an inexpensive and extensive city-building game
For PhP649.95 at Steam, Frostpunk performs and presents itself like a triple A city-building game. The game of the year edition clocks in at around PHP1,600, similar to the console version, and considering the amount of content that this game has over counterparts of the same price, Frostpunk is loaded with content to keep you running that generator for hours on end.