Frostpunk Review: Warming Up to the Cold…

Jamie Monroy by Jamie Monroy

Could the time be right for a city-building survival game for your console? The usual suspects like Sim City and Civilization, which have been standouts in that marketplace, have their crowd but have been relegated to PCs for the most part. So lo and behold Frostpunk (11 Bit Studios, Rated M, MSRP $34.99) makes its way to consoles after a year plus on computers and has designs on being the itch city-building fans can now scratch on their Xbox One or Playstation 4.

Frostpunk is set in a frozen world in which players must make choices as they seek to develop a city living infrastructure powered by steam technology. You will manage the dwellers’ hope and discontent by actions that affect such and/or events (image pop-ups)  that refer to acts of violence such as eating others just to survive (cannibalism), also acts of suicide. One image even shows a bound prisoner being menaced by a guard wielding a blood-soaked baseball bat. A small handful of images show patients (mostly corpses) covered by bloodstained sheets and such.

So if you’ve kept up with me so far you will probably agree that the tone is dark, to say the least. Speaking of saying the least during the course of the game you will eventually (hopefully) where a pub can employ prostitutes and will then become a “House of Pleasure” with the following text: “Our hard-working people deserve all the relief we can provide, and some of them yearn for the pleasure of the flesh” Also in the text is the word #$%! (four letters, rhymes with duck).

When released on PC Frostpunk quickly became a gem and a brutal city-builder. And the console version is no different, with a UI that makes the game feel like less of a port and more like it was meant to be on the console all along. So what makes it tick? Set in an alternate-history around the time of the industrial revolution, the world has been sent into a dramatic shift in the climate which makes the Earth a frigid wasteland where survivors from London travel north to seek a sort of help or reprieve.

Discovering an abandoned generator within a crater this looks like the best chance they have to call home………. You (the player) are the leader of this camp/settlement which means your at the wheel so to speak as you are tasked to do what most if not all city-builders do and that’s harvesting materials (well making the people, some children), constructing various buildings i.e. (think back to the “House of Pleasure”) shelters, and food pubs etc. All the while you must make laws that help or discourage the dwellers, and oh yeah make sure the generator stays running for power and warmth.

Each day that passes brings more cold which leads to illness and death in most cases amongst the people, so keeping your temperature of the city precisely balanced is key but not the easiest. Not to add to the fire (haha see what I did there) but your town folk have two main dispositions that you as leader need to maintain Hope & Discontent (remember hardworking people deserve some relief) so obviously you don’t want to lose hope in the city amongst the people, as the people become more upset you are bound to find yourself on the business end of that baseball bat-wielding guard.

This can all stem from lack of shelter, not enough roads, or making the decision to extend work hours or even brings to the table a question of if you should make children work the coal mines and such due to the fact most of your adult dwellers may be affected by frostbite or worse dead. This is where you start constantly developing the Book of Laws, which has tools needed in it to make an existing situation less horrific (most times) but later down the road these decisions have ramifications.

If you enjoy city-builders but are steering away from gaming on the computer, you should definitely give the console edition of Frostpunk a try. The complexity and intricacies of how the game is played bring a fresh look to consoles that offer players a decidedly good time. Hopefully, we can see more games like Frostpunk being brought from the PC to console with as much attention and passion as this gaming experience was in the near future.

The Aftermath:

+ Not just a port everything from PC is there (maybe with a twist for console)

-Some graphical sacrifices had to be made, but again all the content is here.

+Intelligent controls that run almost seamlessly, and at a fair price.

8outof10

(Please note that for this review, Pop Culture Cosmos/Game Source did receive a review code/model/sample from the company/developer/public relations firm responsible for distribution to the press.)

 

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