“Frostpunk” is a city builder/survival game by 11 bit studios, the creators of “This War of Mine”. The game is set in the late 1800s in a world hit by a new Ice Age, and you must organize the survivors and use advanced steam technology to build a city strong enough to survive the long winter.
The game starts with you controlling a handful of survivors who have managed to reach an advanced heat generator that will protect them from the extreme cold. As you progress through the game, you will have to build shelter, medical facilities and find food sources for your people.
You will also have to upgrade the generator since the weather will get colder and colder as the game progresses. Of all the resources you will manage, Coal is the one you absolutely can’t go without. I mean, you can temporarily run out of wood or steel, but if you run out of coal when the temperature dropped, all your people might freeze to death within the day.
The game’s graphics are pretty detailed, and the soundtrack is perfect for the game. So it really captures the struggle for survival the people in your city are going through. Unfortunately enough though, you can’t zoom into your city that much to look at the buildings and people up close. Sure, you see how they come and go from work but only from afar. The music combined with the narrative elements of the game can create some very emotional moments, which is rare for a city builder game.
Other than that, there are a lot of role playing elements to be found in the game as well, and that add to the game’s replay value. Depending what laws you sign you can be a kind leader, a ruthless dictator or a religious zealot, you can help survivors who come to your city or turn them away.
Managing your people is also very important, you can give them 10h, 14h or 24h shifts, but if you push them too far they might snap and exile you from the city, and that’s game over. You can keep track of your people attitude towards your rule with the Discontent and Hope bars, naturally you want Hope to be high and discontent to be as low as possible.
Furthermore, you also have to play a balancing act of pushing people. So that they work harder and produce more resources but also making them happy whenever you can by opening a Public House or even opening a cemetery so people can be buried with dignity.
The game currently offers three different scenarios, “A New Home”, “The Arks” and “Refugees”. A New Home is the main story and offers the most complete experience while The Arks is all about stockpiling resources, and Refugees is about managing an overcrowded city and solving a conflict between the working class and the Lords.
In my case, I found “A New Home” and “Refugees” to be the most fun while “The Arks” felt too linear and the main objective was not properly explained. So if you run out of time without the required resources in “The Arks” it’s an automatic game over while in A New Home if you didn’t manage to gather all the resources you need the game goes on, and you’re given a chance to survive with what you managed to gather.
I personally enjoyed this game and put more than +40 hours into it, but a lot of people find three scenarios with definite beginning and end to offer too little replay value. For the game to survive long-term they need to offer some larger sandbox experience with randomized locations to explore and randomized events since the scenarios seem to be 100% scripted and there’s little challenge when you replay and know exactly what’s coming.
I also feel that “Frostpunk” has a lot of frost but not enough steampunk. So I would love to see more type of automatons in the game or even a Path of Steam in the book of laws so people can put their hopes in technology instead of Faith or Order. Nevertheless, I’m still looking forward to revisiting the game once 11 bit studios release more content for the game.
So, all in all, I think that “Frostpunk” is a really great and fun society survival/city builder strategy game. That’s also why I would most definitely recommend people who like games of that kind to give “Frostpunk” a try.
+ Good mix of narrative and survival gameplay for a strategy game
+ Excellent soundtrack
– There is no sandbox mode and not enough randomization to add replay value
– You can’t zoom the camera very close to the city
Replay value: 3.5/5
11 bit studios Frostpunk is a great game, and I would really recommend it for anyone who’s interested in city builders, strategy and survival games. It has interesting lore, role playing aspects and an amazing soundtrack. So, will you be putting 300 hours into this game? I don’t think so. However, in the future (depending on what content 11 bit studios will add to the game) you might want to spend a lot of time with it. As 11 bit studios have already put down a rock solid foundation and can make this great game into an excellent game.
Developer: 11 bit studios
Genre: Survival/Strategy/city builder
Resolution: Highest possible for PC
Release date: 2018-04-24
Spent time: +40 hours
Average grade internationally: 86.77% Gamerankings.com
PEGI age rating: +12
Price: 29,99 Euros via Steam
Robin Ek – Editor
The review code was provided by 11 bit studios.
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