In the age of flashy graphics, star studded voice over actors and epic storylines, it is hard to see why a $26 dollar game would make it to anyone’s game library let alone keep you playing up all night. Yet this little game by developers 11 bit studios is fast becoming a cult classic in its own right. Enter the world of Frostpunk where the Earth has frozen over and you have to lead a city built around a steam generator for warmth to survive the harsh winter temperatures.
If you know the developers, you would know the other game This War of Mine which is a game of tough choices. In Frostpunk, tough choices are back and they will test the very moral fibers of your being unless you have a heart of stone. Do you put the children to work because you need more manpower to bring in raw resources to keep the generator going? Do you add sawdust to meals to make them more filling to preserve the food rations? Or do you go into total dictator mode to ensure no one ever challenges your decisions? Just some of the choices you have to make to ensure your city survives and they are not easy as the game will throw curveball events at you just when you thought all is settled.
Yet it is all these that make the game real and connects with the player. Moral choices that we can relate to from everyday news or even just scrolling through social media. And it is these things that make you stop to think if sacrificing for the greater good is really the best way forward.
On top of the choices you have to make, Frostpunk plays like your standard city building game where you need workers to gather resources, run factories to process these resources and a technology tree to research upgrades. You can even build automations to take over human workers but they too come with their own set of problems which can affect the city’s faith in you its leader. While the city building aspect is nothing groundbreaking and any city building game veteran would have some idea how to play, it’s the mixture of these tough choices that brings the game to a whole new level and will potentially keep you up the whole night.
For a $26 dollar game, 11 bit studios brings to the table a game that far exceeds its value once you start the deep dive in. The only thing that works against the game is the lack of scenarios once you start to get the hang of the mechanics. Currently there are only 3 scenarios to play and even for the perfectionist, getting all the achievements wouldn’t take too long. The absence of a sandbox mode is also something that the developers should look into. Thankfully they have already come out to say all these are in the works and hopefully we will see updates and reasonably priced DLCs soon.
Overall Frostpunk is still a highly rated game that has cost at least 2 members in the POPCulture Online sleepless nights and we highly recommend it. Just remember that sometimes being heartless goes a long way.
Ratings: 4.5 out of 5 stars.
By Kenneth Wong
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