Frostpunk, on its base, is just a city building and simulating game such as the likes of The SIMS or ANNO 2205, but once you start playing and get the hang of it, you realize it’s much more than a mere simulator. The developers of Frostpunk describe it as “Society Survival Game“.
Frostpunk is a survival and strategy game that is built upon a solid narrative and storytelling base. Yet, the game manages to offer a rather high degree of challenge to the player, which gets tougher and tougher as you progress. However, the doesn’t ever feel like a burden to play or finish despite its brutal story and gameplay, thanks to its beautiful graphics and engaging story.
Frostpunk Launch Trailer
Frostpunk is a tense, difficult and even stressful survival game. It is difficult to play, and even more difficult to leave since it makes you eager to know the outcomes of the decisions you make.
The survival/strategy Frostpunk is available only on Windows PC. Frostpunk’s success can be measured via its initial sales; It has sold over 250,000 copies within mere three days of its release.
The story of Frostpunk tests your moral compass
Frostpunk is set in the year 1886 of Victorian Era, where a severe snowstorm has hit the world, leading a new ice age. The humanity is devastated and left to die. Those brave ones that are left alive must seek shelter as one. Hence, all the survivors gather together and build a city called New London which has a steampunk feel to it.
You must act as the leader of the last human society on Earth. The future depends upon your shoulders and the choices you make. I must mention that these choices you make measure your moral compass and have a severe and long-lasting impact on the story of the game.
The cutscenes complete the missing elements of the story of Frostpunk. The cutscene animations are simple, minimalistic and even washed out in terms of color composition, yet they do not fail to narrate the grim and sad story of the survivors and the city. The voice acting and other sounds add on to this grim effect. If that wasn’t enough, the first sound that greets you as soon as you launch Frostpunk for the first time is that of a shriek and harsh cold wind.
The story of Frostpunk is depressive, to say the least. And you cannot change that, despite the choices you make. Either you must look after the city and thus greater good, sacrificing the happiness of the survivors or you can keep your survivors happy had direct your city to an ultimate doom. Either way, it is not a story that will make you feel good. The game demands harsh political actions on your end. You may feel bad like a villain for taking a good decision and good like a savior for taking a bad one.
A melancholy and decisive gameplay of Frostpunk
Frostpunk may be a city management game, but what it truly teaches you to manage is catastrophe and doom, which do not end until the game does. You’ll begin by building a city around a giant coal furnace that keeps the city warm in the severely cold climate.
In the early hours of Frostpunk, you’ll face a very tough time gathering resources, unlike other city building games which present an array of resources at your disposal. The resources will be scarce, and workforce to gather them will be even scarce.
The dweller’s of your city will need much more than basic requirements of life, that is food. They get hungry, tired, ill and bored. They’ll need medicine, entertainment, security, comfortable housing, so on and so forth. In case they’re unhappy with a decision you made or your governance, the dwellers of your settlement will protest and even revolt if you don’t do anything about it.
They’ll leave your settlement if they aren’t happy and fulfilled, but before they do that, they’ll spend days convincing others to do the same. If you manage to cause a displacement to a large number of settlers, they may even banish you from your own settlement. In such a case, your settlement will come to ruins and you’ll lose. Then you must start from the scratch in a new game.
You can lift the spirits and morale of the people of your settlement in Frostpunk. You may do so by building a pub or theatre using wood and other resources. But that wood is also necessary for building that medical center without which half the population will die.
You’ll have to enact laws which shall suit both your city and the residents of your city. But a single law will never ever be in favor of both.
You may spend your time glancing at the meters on top of the screen in Frostpunk. They depict coal, wood, food and other resources. But the real game takes place in meters at the bottom of the screen, which depicts hope and discontentment. Send you settlers to bed with a full belly and the hope will rise. Force a longer work shift on your settlers to gather more material for their own good and the discontentment will rise among the population.
You can solve all the above-mentioned problems and even more by expanding the radius of your settlement and the number of settlers. But Frostpunk restricts you to house only a certain number of settlers and build the city in a confined space. Thus, you must make your decisions and use your resources judiciously.
Then there is the technology tree, a sort of skill tree. As you unlock new skills, you can develop automatons and airships which will reduce the workload of your population. But then again, you must choose your skills wisely as there is no turning back.
You will grow to hate the game, the characters and the city as you progress. You’ll be forced to pick between shortly termed fixes for a minor inconvenience which may lead to large riots or long termed solutions which lead to mass problems such as starvation. Relentless choices that’ll make you question your morals await you at each turn of Frostpunk. You’ll be forced to make tough choices. But its this same decision making that makes you hate the game. To continue the game, to know what happens next. Truth be told, you’ll have to let your citizens suffer in unhappiness in order to keep them alive. Thus, Frostpunk shines in the grim of snow and despair.
Frostpunk is among the best overall takes on the survival city builder to date. – GameSpot
I was forcing myself to try something different for the sake of it. – RGPSite
There are lingering bugs and optimisation issues. – PCPowerplay
It’s a pleasant surprise that is definitely worth your time. – WCCFTech
Frostpunk will be right up the alley of those familiar with This War of Mine and the emotion it offered. – HardcoreGamer
A grim yet beautiful Victorian Steampunk World of Frostpunk
Frostpunk world’s manage to deliver an unforeseen beauty in the graphics, despite the harsh weather. It has an extraordinary and unique art style. The worker, including manual labor and automatons, tread their path in the snow. The notifications about the progressions and conditions bing with the sound of cracking snow, another minute detail. The first ray of sun after a long night breath an air of satisfaction and contentment into you as the search night passes. The rising steam from the coal-powered machines presents an industrial outlook to the world. The sharp contrast of fire from the main brazier and machines and that of the grim world covered with snow is a scenario better seen than said.
The only issue with the graphics is that you cannot zoom into the city. You can, however, morph the camera around the city. But the ability to not to zoom into the faces of the dweller, marvel at the automatons or just look at the world closely robs you an element of immersion.
The minimum requirements for the game are GeForce GTX 660 graphics, 4 GB of ram and 3.2 GHz Dual Core Processor. But I must confess that the game challenged my laptop. It is powered by 7th Gen Intel i5 Processor, GeForce 940mx and 8 GB of ram. So you may want to have a rather decent configuration in order to truly enjoy the world of Frostpunk.
The Bottom Line of Frostpunk
Frostpunk is filled with hopelessness and despair. You’ll feel guilty about the choices you make, yet you must understand they were important for the greater good.
For that reason, Frostpunk deserves a solid 85/100.
- A beautiful post-apocalyptic Victorian Steampunk world
- Tough choices that actually affect the gameplay and the story
- A unique city building and stimulating experience
- A rather short 8-hour story (which often needs to be replaced due to the wrong decisions)
- Harsh decisions that may force you to start from the bottom
- Limited building space and dwellers. Also, can't Zoom In