Frostpunk Game Review
Nicholas Chin

Developer: 11 Bit Studios
Publisher: 11 Bit Studios, Merge Games
Platforms: Playstation 4, Xbox 1, Microsoft Windows
Genre: City Building Game, Survival Game
Price: $29.99


Home is a major word. According to the online dictionary, home is the place where one lives permanently, especially as a member of a household or family. There are many aspects to a home that make it livable. Electricity, food, water, warmth, and the people that live with you. In Frostpunk, these basic necessities are difficult to gain. In order to survive, you must work hard and outlast the cold for these essentials.

Frostpunk is an extreme survival game where you are fighting extremely cold temperatures. It is almost like a Minecraft type game, except less animated and seemingly more realistic. In Minecraft, you can chop down a tree in a matter of seconds with your bare hands. Frostpunk requires workers, who can range from all ages, to haul wood and other necessary materials during a regular 10-hour workday depending on how long you assign them to work for.

Before jumping into the Frostpunk storyline and background, there are different game modes. You can start your own game, which is called a New Home. Another convenient aspect is that you can not only save one game, but multiple games and load them whenever you want. There is also a customization version of New Home where you can set the survival difficulty and change parts to either make it faster or slower. Another game mode is endless mode, mainly part of the expansion pack which also brings a season pass, but more will be researched in a future review.

Also, there are a bunch of story-type scenario game modes such as The Refugees and The Arks. Each has a unique background and story which brings lots of variety to the game. The main storyline is a New Home, where inhabitants of London were driven out due to the cold and the snow. The main incentive is to find a new home, survive, and make sure all potential survivors are found and are kept warm.

Opening up this application on Steam, I had high hopes for it considering the amount of storage it took up (17GB) and the amount of time it took to download (1 hour considering wifi speed). The main menu page gave me a list of game modes, but the top one was a New Home, so I decided to try that one out.

The storyline was very interesting. As mentioned before, the people of London were driven out by the cold and snow and forced to travel to find a new home. The goal of the game is to survive by adapting to this new home in the middle of cold, snow covered lands. Survival requires attending to the people’s wants and making sure hope remains in every person.

I felt the game was very organized as the set of instructions, tutorials, and rules were very detailed and direct. The setting took place in this small crater in the middle of snow-covered lands. Surrounding the camp area, there were piles of coal, wood, and steel. This particular game mode guided me well with clearly explained tasks.

My first job was to assign the 80 people I had to gather materials in order to power the generator. I was able to assign 15 people maximum to each material site, and the various occupations were worker, engineer, and child. Child labor is legal in this game, but sometimes they become upset when they contract injuries.

After gathering these materials and powering the generator, using mainly wood, I was able to build tents which provided shelter and warmth, streets which provided expansion of land to add more buildings, hunter huts where men would gather before their nightly hunts, medical posts for the sick and injured, cookhouses which prepared meals brought by the hunter huts, and workshops. A real trouble during this process, which took approximately a week of game time (not real time), were the many people who fell ill or even died. There is a stress and hope bar level, and the higher the hope bar rises and the lower the stress level bar, the better for the stability. However, anytime someone dies, the stress builds and the hope dies down. Stress makes people less motivated and slows resource generation, but more hope makes everybody happy and increases productivity.

Going back to materials, as soon as you have enough collected and stored, you can research new items such as beacons or heaters. This generally takes about a whole workday, which is from 8-6. The heaters generate heat and raise the hope bar level, and the beacon can help spot survivors left behind. You can also level up your research material. This enables you to research more advanced technologies which will give you better equipment and advanced knowledge.

However, the trouble of all of this work and this entire process is the many deaths, requests, and angry citizens. I had a few people die within the first few days, which agitated many parents because their kids were working in the same conditions. Ignoring townspeople requests angers them, and not following through with objectives when you commit agitates them more. If you follow through, hope rises.

Ultimately, I found this game thrilling and I became really hooked into it. The graphics, storyline, and possibilities are amazing and it was a pleasure to play the game.

Story: 5/5 – The storyline of a New Home is just so well connected and totally flows with the nature of the game. With the variety of different stories in other modes, the entertainment this game can bring is almost endless.

Visuals: 5/5 – The graphics blew me away and were so detailed and clear. 11 Bit Studios did an amazing job of making the visuals appealing and seemingly realistic.

Playability: 4.5/5 – The gameplay overall was pretty good. Sometimes, it can be difficult to keep all of your inhabitants alive, but the flexibility you have in the customization mode can make the game either more challenging or trouble-free.

User Interface: 5/5 – It is mechanically easy to master the game. A mouse makes the game super straightforward and the tutorials explain all the basic functions extremely well.

Replay Value: 5/5 – Due to the intensity, variety, and fun the game brings, I could play it again many times because there is so much you can explore in a large world covered in snow.

Overall Score: 4.9/5– This game is extremely unique and really opened my eyes because this game reached an extremely high standard. It is all around amazing and definitely is worth trying out.