24

Perhaps Really Warm Socks

May 4, 2018 by Tim

Frostpunk is a survival sim with RTS and city-building elements. As the temperatures plummet amidst a sudden, snowy apocalypse, you are in charge of a caravan of survivors, and tasked with building and maintaining the last city on earth, huddled around a giant coal furnace that is all that stands between you and an icy death.

And did I mention it’s also steampunk-themed?

Yeah.

Read More ▼

Frostpunk embodies a type of balance that I absolutely adore in video games. The sort of gameplay seen in Kingdom Death, or This War Of Mine (the developers of which also made Frostpunk).

It’s the type of game where you get about three minutes of “Okay, everything is under control” at the start, and then never again. You are constantly triaging, back on your heels, just trying to hold everything together, fingers plugged in the levy but there are more leaks than you have digits. It’s the type of game where you have to make some very hard decisions, and there is no clear cut “right choice.” Everything has consequences, and you never feel safe.

It’s intense, its stressful, it’s a fountain of anxiety, and I love it. I love it because it makes victory all the sweeter. And failure all the more memorable.

Frostpunk’s arctic apocalypse adds an interesting spin to the city building genre, and the survival elements take it up a few more notches from there. Because the temperatures will drop to -20c, -40c, -60c or more, warmth is key. Without heat, your society will die. Without coal, the furnaces go out.

You don’t build in a grid, rather you build outwards from the heart of your city, a giant, twenty-story generator. Your city expands in concentric circles from this point, and the further away you get from the center, the more you need to work to manage heat and comfort.

Once the game gets you moving, it doesn’t stop. You’ll need to issue laws to decide how to handle your dead; do you bury them, or leave them to freeze for later use? Do you allow your sick and injured to languish, or do you amputate as necessary and keep on trucking? You’ll even be faced with the choice to put the city’s children to work, or build them a school. It sounds like an obvious decision… until the temperature has dropped and you don’t have enough hands to mine the coal you need, hunt and prepare food, harvest lumber and still treat the sick and frostbitten that need care at your hospital. And then you’ll start questioning if perhaps the children should be pulling their weight.

All of your decisions affect the city’s balance of hope and discontent, the measure of your city’s willingness to soldier on under your command. Your people will frequently voice their frustrations, be it shoddy housing, or not enough food, and you’ll be asked to issue a response, your plan to deal with the situation. You can act conservatively, or promise the moon, but they will hold you accountable if you fail to deliver.

Your people will constantly force you to make uncomfortable decisions and live with the consequences. Early on in one of my games, a man fell extremely ill, and we could save his life if we amputated his leg. But he refused. I had to decide whether to forcibly take is leg, or let him die to make an example out of him. There was no good option there.

Layer in a traditional RTS building hierarchy, city planning with roads and remote heat sources, a tech tree, and a surrounding area to explore with scout parties etc, and Frostpunk offers a beautiful and bleak combination of systems that does a great job of keeping you on the edge of your seat.

My one gripe, and currently its a minor one (though I could see it becoming more of an issue if I wanted to put dozens of hours into the game), is that after you’ve started and restarted a few games, some of the systems underneath start to become a little… predictable. In that once you’ve learned what happens when you make certain decisions, you can see things coming and then it becomes more about planning and clever maneuvering, like putting a puzzle together.

I don’t know if that’s a bad thing, but it does remove some of the “surprise” and perhaps even some replayability from the game, which changes its cadence a bit. Perhaps the developers will address it with updates.

Regardless, if you like city building, steampunk, survival or snow, Frostpunk is definitely worth checking out, and definitely justifies its $30 price tag.

Read Less ▲


Subscribe
Notify of
guest
59 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Tue
Tue
3 years ago

Go full cult. Easy to keep them “satisfied”.

Eldest Gruff
Eldest Gruff
3 years ago

GREETINGS PROFESSOR FALKEN

HELLO

A STRANGE GAME.
THE ONLY WINNING MOVE IS
NOT TO PLAY.

Tumbleweed
Tumbleweed
3 years ago
Reply to  Eldest Gruff

HOW ABOUT A NICE GAME OF CHESS?

Somewhere
Somewhere
3 years ago
Reply to  Tumbleweed

CHESS IS BORING. I CAN SEE ALL THE MOVES FROM THE START,
OOH!
WHAT ABOUT STRIP GLOBAL THERMONUCLEAR WAR?

SiliconWolf
SiliconWolf
3 years ago
Reply to  Somewhere

Sure, Joshua! May I go first?
sudo reload Overlay_SARAH

Opesinorbit
Opesinorbit
3 years ago

This is why I come here! My cursor hovered over the Add to cart button when I veered off and purchased Surviving Mars instead. Now I’m suffering from FOMO over Frost Punk.

kane
kane
3 years ago

I am on my third ‘run’.
till now I’m still ‘winning’, my inputs
1) faith looks easier than order
2) you can build more than one workshop (yes.. I’ve found it by checking steam achievements)
3) this is about surviving, and you have to be a chief, not the best buddy. I can clearly say that my second city, successful for 80% of the game died because of overcrowding.

Axlatl
Axlatl
3 years ago
Reply to  kane

When you get the ability to make Workshops the tutorial screen explains that each workshop up to four increases your research speed… 🙂

kane
kane
3 years ago

BTW, did you had a ‘pleasure’ of playing The War of Mine? Previous game of ths studio?

Tumbleweed
Tumbleweed
3 years ago

*plays banished game music*

James Rye
James Rye
3 years ago

I really like Frostpunk, I like the cold-warmth system, how to feed and take care of every citizens and the law makings. What I don’t like is how short it is compared to “This War of Mine” though that is probably due the fast forward system which really speeds up your game. Once you figured out that early Workshops and child shelter + engineer apprentice is the way to go you can beat the game easy as long as you make sure to keep an eye on your food and warmth economy. Still a good game. Would love an RTS… Read more »

kane
kane
3 years ago
Reply to  James Rye

Yeah… I discovered that you can build more than one workshop after my second failure…

James Rye
James Rye
3 years ago
Reply to  kane

I don’t even wanna imagine playing with only one workshop…

Rives
3 years ago

You need to have 3 technologic building and make then work 6h to 20h + 24h when you can.

With that, you can rush a looooot of technology and easy peasy win.

Sry, I can’t understand how to loose at this game… (ok last map is a little tricky at the beggining if you doesnt want childre in work)
Coal thumper and gathering post is like a cheat

kane
kane
3 years ago
Reply to  Rives

for me it was very simple.. I wanted to be a nice guy, so I accepted everyone, for entire game I had a small amount of spare food, steel and lot’s of coal. And then you get a task to gather ‘a lot’ of food. and it was not possible in a time given by a game

Skyblade
Skyblade
3 years ago
Reply to  Tim

Well, I wasn’t planning on going to reddit, but I did happen to look through the comments on here, and that seems to be the recommendations from everyone, so… Although, in all honestly, I’m a bit of a tech/research nut in these types of games, so I might have done it anyway. I always lose games of Starcraft and Warcraft because I spend too long trying to max my tech tree instead of killing the enemy. I only play Creative races in Master of Orion because I don’t want to miss tech. And in Civilization I’m the guy who only… Read more »

David
David
3 years ago
Reply to  Rives

Umm if temperature is dropping, and energy resources depleting the way to survive is definitely to develop energy saving / energy recycling technology as fast as possible.

Build as many think tanks as you can, develop tech first to insulate living quarters and diminish coal consumption, then more machinery to turn poop into coal, and then you win. 🙂

kane
kane
3 years ago

Hi Tim, are comments moderated and waiting for acceptance? Becuase I can’t find my early morning comments.

Somewhere
Somewhere
3 years ago

Subtle expression changes from the first panel to the second were really well done.

Somewhere
Somewhere
3 years ago

Also Tim have you decided on who the main Antagonist of Analog and D-pad is? No need to give us a name but is it going to be someone new for 2.0 or is it someone more…”familiar”
Still betting on the whole “Christian is CEO of Megagame” thing

raven0ak
raven0ak
3 years ago
Reply to  Somewhere

Still betting Emily or her friend to be master mind

Eldest Gruff
Eldest Gruff
3 years ago
Reply to  Somewhere

No matter who it appears to be in the short-term, in the end it’ll be EA.

It’ll always be EA.

NNextremNN
NNextremNN
3 years ago
Reply to  Eldest Gruff

OH please do this make his name an acronym of EA and just let everyone refer to him that way XD

Hamstermer
Hamstermer
3 years ago
Reply to  NNextremNN

Here, have it be the CEO who hired Josh in 2.0. How about:
Eric Alektros (Alektros is Greek for Alone, special thanks to a bio teacher who brought up Alectrosaurus)

Hunter
Hunter
3 years ago

The one gripe I do hear about the game is that it doesn’t change from session to session. Once you’ve beat the game there’s nothing else to do.

I think people misunderstand what this game really is. Frostpunk isn’t a city-builder, nor is it an rts, it’s a thematic survival game with elements of city-builder and rts woven into it.

Once everyone accepts that this isn’t Cities: Skylines with a winter twist, it becomes easier to accept that this game is only good for one, maybe two run throughs.

Kaitensatsuma
Kaitensatsuma
3 years ago
Reply to  Hunter

Well, with post-release development being the norm, it’s a question of how long that will hold to be true.

Hunter
Hunter
3 years ago
Reply to  Tim

While I appreciate Senpai noticing me, agreeing with me, and even changing the news blog because of what I said… Senpai may want to look at the news blog again. It now says both what you said originally and what you edited in :p

Axlatl
Axlatl
3 years ago
Reply to  Hunter

I agree it’s definitely worth playing as it is. I just think that even a moderate amount of randomness at various stages would have made it even better as you could replay it. Only element I’ve found that is random is the timing and amounts of the cold/warm snaps and even that is still tied to the story.

I can see why the did it this way it just is a bit frustrating that they didn’t do a little more to make it more engaging long term.

Brent
Brent
3 years ago

Ah, tauntauns. Best source of nutrition and warmth George Lucas ever gave us. They don’t quite provide Starcaster comics too, but they’ll do in a pinch.

Erik B
Erik B
3 years ago
Reply to  Tim

Big thumbs up! Can’t wait!

Eldest Gruff
Eldest Gruff
3 years ago
Reply to  Tim

Holy crap, Tim. Today, I went and figured “OK, sure, I’ll check and see what this ‘Starcaster’ thing is all about.” I ended up reading it all in one insane binge. This is awesome. I am totally, 100% psyched for #6.

Eldest Gruff
Eldest Gruff
3 years ago
Reply to  Eldest Gruff

Although, Ssissimias is one piece of nightmare fuel that I’m not going to easily get over.

Hamstermer
Hamstermer
3 years ago
Reply to  Brent

Yes yes happy Star Wars day to you too.

Glen
Glen
3 years ago

So its a kind of steampunk version of Oregon Trail?

Brent
Brent
3 years ago
Reply to  Tim

I will never play The Last of Us the same way again.

Him.
Him.
3 years ago
Reply to  Brent

Would you like to caulk the river or ford the river?
>Caulk
>Ford
=====
>Ford
=====
<Joel has drowned. I mean it's not like you don't have the abilities to save Joel, but it happened in a cutscene so Joel is thoroughly dead.

Brent
Brent
3 years ago
Reply to  Him.

Replace Joel with Ellie and I think that’s the end sequence of the SLC chapter

FITCamaro
FITCamaro
3 years ago

I have been looking forward to this game. But with my current backlog, it’ll be a bit before I buy it and play.

Jon
Jon
3 years ago

Finally, I’ve played a game before you made a comic about it. I don’t know why that feels so satisfying. I love the game and can’t wait for more scenario’s to come out. I went through each one blind and failed miserably on my first few tries, but eventually I got there. I’m just worried that now that I’ve refined my strategies going for the achievements, the new scenarios might not be as difficult. But at least I learned that as long as I have a few cities full of people for trial and error, I can totally lead the… Read more »

Brendan Keating
Brendan Keating
3 years ago

So about Frost Punk being a city building game with city building elements… 😛 Might want to reread the news section today 🙂

Axlatl
Axlatl
3 years ago

Tim looking to play Battletech at all it’s big stompy robots a great story and your own Mercenary company to command…. 🙂

Him.
Him.
3 years ago
Reply to  Tim

Not much of a MGS mech design fan then?

aaron Smith
aaron Smith
3 years ago
Reply to  Tim

did you ever play exteel ?
i loved that game

Skyblade
Skyblade
3 years ago
Reply to  Tim

What’s your favorite Mech game? I haven’t played many. I have a soft spot for Robotech: Battlecry, though.

Don’t know that I’ve ever played a Gundam game, which is kind of a shame. Hadn’t thought of the series for years until I saw/read Ready Player One. Do you know any good ones?

Hamstermer
Hamstermer
3 years ago

In honor of Star Wars day I’d like to sing a little song:
“Today is Friday,
Friday Tauntaun
Thursday Brawballo
Wednesday Drapsha
Tuesday Gornnar
Monday Yoba
All you hungry children, come and eat it up!”
The foods are random things I took from Wookiepedia. I don’t actually know what exactly most of the are, they just seemed appropriate.

Matthew
Matthew
3 years ago

I never understood why people got bent out of shape about the Ethan and Lucas reboot. I’ve still enjoyed the comic.

Sadly, after many years, I’m done with CAD and taking the bookmark off my browser. The new website is so poorly made (those drop downs are really buggy and annoying) and it’s swimming in ads. Most critically, the auto-play video ad with max volume audio is absolutely inexcusable. It’s not the comic driving me away, it’s the experience of reading the comic. It’s just not worth it.

Him.
Him.
3 years ago
Reply to  Tim

Kudos Tim, while the ads remain an issue (I stumbled across one about cancer patients the other day; very sweet except for that my sister was recording a video at the time) you are providing a good antidote so to speak. And you are handling this very well
Keep it up 🙂

Clementine
Clementine
3 years ago

Tim in hindsight how do you feel about the awfulness of the cad animated series? https://youtu.be/j2uWWjXh3JU