Frostpunk puts you in to a harsh world that hasn’t recovered from the devasting effects of global warming. London is frozen and all you can see is covered in snow and ice. It is over to you then to bring around New London in the late 1800s.
The story features a group of survivors as they make a last-ditch effort to try and survive these freezing temperatures. Their plan is to head north to build a new city around a currently dormant furnace, which will play a significant key role in this game. Once the group arrive to this last bastion, you find yourself in charge of running this city and keeping everything going.
Now what I want to mention from the start is this game does a fantastic job of really getting across the harsh world you inhabit. The sound of the freezing wind is the first thing you hear. Watching your survivors carve a path out in the deep snow while collecting resources and the flickering lights trying to give off as much heat as they can really does portray the dangers of this cold world.
As you progress through the game you will be treated to some great story scenes. All told with artistic animations that do a great job of telling what a very compelling story of survival. Visually, the game is really impressive and fits the world the game is set in. Don’t come here looking for any nice bright colours though as the game sticks to its accurate dark and cold visuals throughout.
Unlike a lot of city building games out there, the objective here isn’t to build a massive city full of skyscrapers and commercial shops. Instead, you need to build a city that can survive. A city that can produce enough coal to keep the furnace going, the heart of your new city.
Overall, the simplicity of this game paired with the ever-changing temperatures seem to create a real tension when playing. Manage the resources and the demands of your people while keeping the furnace on seems easy enough but Frostpunk keeps you on your toes throughout its 10 or so hour story.
As you progress, new buildings and technologies become available. You can invest in resource research first to build up more resources or improve how you heat the city with new steam heaters. The research tree isn’t massive but is large enough for this size game. You really can decide where you want to invest first to impact how you build your city early on.
The residents of your New London will often throw requests or demands at you, depending on the current circumstances. A request for a new medical centre to help the sick or a cemetery to bury the dead you never saved. The demands are never too big but with limited resources throughout and your attention being on keeping warm, any request keeps you guessing and the opportunity cost provides complex moral dilemmas.
Your success as a leader is measured by two bars at the bottom of the screen, these are hope and discontent. These bars will move up and down depending on your actions and the health of your city.
A cool mechanic in the game has you deciding what laws you implement. Interested in extending working hours or how the dead are dealt with? Fantastic! You can decide. Depending on which you decide, your decisions will impact how your citizens feel about you or what extra options you have. At times these laws will unlock new buildings for your city.
Once you complete the main campaign you can go back in and complete some extra missions or set up your own endless game. I would have liked the game to have been longer but only because I was enjoying the game. Once you have played through the story, I am not sure how many will go back. A lot of the enjoyment came from experiencing the consequences of your decisions first time.
Despite the simple nature of this game, you only need to collect a few types or resources and keep the heat on, there is a real tension when playing. It is an enjoyable tension that really marks the stark conditions you are trying to survive. The game could do with a better tutorial to get you started but after a few mistakes you soon pick the game up. I would certainly recommend this game as it is a great play.
*Code kindly provided by the publisher for review*