Why You Should Play
- Stunning and beautiful visuals.
- Challenging and unforgiving gameplay that forces you to think and strategize.
- An intriguing and unique take on the city builder genre.
City builders over the past few years have amounted to little more than resource jugglers where you must work to build the biggest cities you can, mostly without any kind of opponent to stand in your way. While they’re enjoyable, they don’t offer any real challenge to those looking for a more unforgiving take on the city builder genre. That’s where Frostpunk comes in. Developed by 11 Bit Studios—the team behind This War of Mine—Frostpunk challenges players to take control of and build up one of the last cities on Earth. Amid the frigid cold that has covered the world, players must keep the Hope of their people up, while managing their Discontent. Along the way, you’ll need to make decisions and sign rules into place that you think will make the city run smoother. It’s a delicate balance to keep, and it creates one of the most challenging city builders we’ve ever had the pleasure of playing. It makes for a nice difference in pace that many players are sure to enjoy.
There is a lot of depth to Frostpunk when you really dive into it. As we mentioned above, throughout most of the game you’ll spend your time juggling your citizens’ Hope and Discontent. Let the Discontent rise too high, and you’ll cause riots, eventually leading to your own banishment to the snow covered wastes outside. This means that every decision you make will need to take the needs of your people into account, and even the laws that you choose to sign will change the Hope and Discontent of your people.
The main goal here, though, is to survive. Unlike other city builders, you aren’t trying to build the biggest city possible. In fact, one of the biggest factors you’ll need to manage is the overall heat of your city. If you let buildings become too cold, people won’t be willing to go to work, and thus your vital resources will start to dwindle. Because of this, you’ll want to build as compactly as you can to keep from having to overload your city with resource draining things like heaters. It’s something that requires constant attention, so be ready to pay close attention to everything going on in your city.
On top of gathering resources and building up your city, you’ll also be able to recruit teams of scouts that can go out into the snow-filled wastes in search of other items and people. This is the only way to gain new survivors in your city, though it does come at a cost. Each time you find resources or items, you can choose to return to your city with them or keep looking around. It’s a risk reward kind of thing, and like every other major part of this game, you’ll find yourself needing to think about your decisions.
All of this comes together for one of the most seamless city builders that we’ve ever had a chance to play. The gameplay loop is addicting, and even losing your city to the cold or being thrust from the city’s seat of power make you want to keep playing to see what you can do differently. It’s a very nice change of pace.
Visuals and Performance
When it comes to visuals, Frostpunk isn’t the most gorgeous game out there. It does look good, but the animations can feel a little rough around the edges sometimes—but usually only if you zoom in on things too much. It’s not a game that’s meant to focus on the finer details, though, and you won’t be exploring all kinds of nooks and crannies while you’re more worried about how to keep your people from overthrowing you and leaving you out in the cold. It does look good for a city builder, though, and each of the buildings offer a distinct enough look that makes it easy to tell what you’re working with—which is important as your city grows larger.
Performance wise, everything runs as smooth as butter. We never experienced any kind of hiccups during our time with the game, and it continues to run as smooth as the day we first picked it up. That being said, it isn’t a game where FPS is really that important, but it’s nice not having to worry about a ton of performance issues while you are trying to micromanage a steadily growing population. If you’re looking for a smooth and pretty city builder, then Frostpunk hits all the right notes.
Game of the Week
Frostpunk brings the brutal and unforgiving story that 11 Bit Studios became well known for in This War of Mine and successfully transfers the weight of the decisions and their consequences into the city builder genre without a hitch. It’s a fantastic game that challenges you to think instead of just mindlessly building, and it offers hours upon hours of replay value as you try to better your city and become a great leader. Combined with the game’s powerful story and its seamless gameplay, Frostpunk is one of the most unique city builders available right now, and it shouldn’t come as a surprise that we’ve chosen this chilling experience as our Prima Game of the Week.