Set in the fictitious year 1886, Frostpunk is a city-building survival game that depicts the horror human beings go through to survive an epic journey in a subzero climate.
The game offers players three different scenarios: A New Home, The Arks, and The Refugees. Each scenario contains very difficult tasks that will test your leadership, decision-making skills, and, above all, your moral judgment.
The game begins with the main scenario, A New Home, which serves as the backstory. Upon learning that your old winter home has been destroyed, you face a hard decision as a captain: to settle what remains of your company somewhere else.
Trekking through an icy landmass, your group finds a huge crater and a massive heat generator at the center of it. They decided to settle here.
Everyone in your group feels this could be a suitable home, but somewhere between hope and hardship, there is a rising factor of unrest among the optimistic. And so begins the cold, hard reality of dealing with the anxiety of building a strong community in this new land.
To say the game is challenging is underrated. It requires a higher degree of critical thinking and pushing the envelope on moral values. Frostpunk does an incredible job of simulating the bitter side of human interests over catastrophic events.
People react to your decisions, and each choice has consequences. And if the affairs of the matter are not handled adequately, a mutiny to overthrow starts to spread. Putting up “the book of laws” is one way that will facilitate some of the pressing issues within your group.
For example, enacting the Child Labor Law, which forces children to work like adults, will speed up the process of building houses. You can enable as many other laws as you need to ensure the survival of your people; just don’t go overboard to the point that you could be seen as a tyrant.
The game also does a decent job of making you feel like you know what you are doing with the ongoing crisis. The different menus show you what tasks need to be done, and the game tries to simplify them with drag-and-drop mechanics and the “action button.”
Of course, if you are not familiar with the “City-Builder” type of games, this will all be confusing to you. But then again, Frostpunk is not your typical city builder. This is not a game you can easily put away. You are going to put in at least 100 hours.
In terms of graphics, Frostpunk delivers a convincing apocalyptic atmosphere. The music and sound thrust the player into a doomed world, while the special effects capture the rising tension and discontent in your group.
In the gameplay department, Frostpunk strikes a beautiful balance between surviving and forsaking moral values. The greatest challenge many players will face is the cooperation of their citizens. Therefore, the group’s survivability depends on increased citizen support.
Overall, Frostpunk is a masterfully crafted survival game with astounding city-building quality. There are a lot of explorations thrown in the mix and a weave of political dramas that will make you scratch your feet. It’s stressful yet addictive. It’s one of those games that forces players to think hard about their choices.
FINAL SCORE: 8.5 OUT OF 10