Is Frostpunk Worth Buying?

Frostpunk is pretty grim, the whole world is frozen and dead except for your little band of survivors and, hopefully, there are a few other cities still surviving. These cities were established by other bands of survivors who set out from London earlier to establish a foothold in the new, frozen world. To make matters even worse your small band of survivors was scattered by a blizzard on your way to the generator. They need to be found or they won’t survive. Is a grim game like this worth getting?

The necessity to balance heat, resources, medical needs, make moral decisions and fend off the cold keeps you constantly engaged with the game without forcing you to micromanage. There is plenty of action to maintain your interest, plus the graphics and sound effects are superb.

The article I started to write was how to survive in Frostpunk but since I ended up being exiled into the cold, I guess that will have to be my next article instead. This is an article about why I think this game is worth getting, not an article about how to survive or one filled with strategic tips. This was my first playthrough in almost a year, and although I was exiled, it was still a lot of fun.

The thing I found most intriguing about this game was the way it held my interest and made the hours seem like minutes. Usually I’m the warmonger/space empire type but this game had me totally fascinated. Why?

One Frostpunk Attraction Is The Urgency Of The Problems

This game drew me in right from the start. Once I arrived at the generator, I was immediately beset with two problems, providing shelter for everyone, and gathering enough coal to fire up the generator to keep everyone warm. As soon as I assigned workers to gather resources from the coal pile, I could actually zoom in enough to see them trudge through the waist high snow to a coal pile.

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Building tents to house everyone was my next highest priority, next to gathering coal. I discovered that tents provide minimal shelter so I built them in the first generator ring so they would be easy to keep warm. Since I had 80 survivors, I built 8 tents.

The colony will certainly die unless everyone works so allowing some of my population to remain idle was not an option, so I assigned everyone to gathering coal and wood. So far so good.

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What To Research In Frostpunk?

Once everyone was tasked with a job my next priority was research. Heating? Exploration & Industry? Resources? Food, Health, and Shelter? All are vitally important, but I decided to research improving heat output first since the cold was my biggest enemy. Another interesting and fun decision, one that held my interest while my workers kept gathering resources.

Something that adds to the realism, and helps with the enjoyment and engagement, is the little notifications you get from some of your citizens from time-to-time, like the woman who lost her husband and daughter in the blizzard on the way to the new city. She asks you to hurry and find them before they die. It gave me a sense of urgency to create a scout team and go looking for them.

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Another thing that kept me engaged was having clear goals with a time limit, like the people pressing me to turn the generator on before nightfall because they were afraid they would freeze. I needed 6 coal to turn it on and was wondering if I would get the 6 coal I needed before everyone stopped working for the day.

There Are Lots of Moral Decisions To Make In Frostpunk

There are a lot of moral decisions to make and the Book of Laws is the main tool for making these decisions. Should I put those children to work or educate so they can help out in places like the workshop? Or put them to work with everyone else? No matter how minimal the contribution is they would be safe if I decided not to pass the Child Labor Law so I didn’t, although I lost some much needed workers. I went the educational route instead. Hope and discontentment didn’t suffer and actually improved a little.

Eventually there is a choice to be made in the Book of Laws, do you rule the city like a dictatorship or try a spiritual approach? Deciding this determines which new set of laws you can enact, seems like I always go with the dictatorial style.

In Frostpunk There Is Never Enough Of Anything To Go Around

Balancing things out and making tough decisions is another attention getter. You never have enough of anything to go around no matter what you do. If you focus on coal and wood gathering you won’t have enough workers to gather food and take care of the sick.

As a matter of fact, if you focus entirely on researching heat production you won’t even have the medical facilities to treat your sick and discontent will rise, hope will fall and people will die, which could lead to you being exiled or lead to an untimely death. It’s a constant juggling act between managing workers, resources, and research. It was not overwhelming but was just at the right pace to keep me constantly engaged.

What makes the management of everything so engaging is that just when I think l have some things figured out the cold gets worse or a disaster strikes, upsetting those carefully made plans I had.

I need to mention that the voice, music, and graphics are exceptional and played a big role in keeping me engaged. I mean, who wouldn’t pay attention to what is going on with a constant snowstorm howling in the background?

Another engaging aspect is having tasks with clear goals and time limits. Leading everyone through those is also engaging and satisfying, that is if you succeed and don’t get exiled, or worse.

You Need To Plan Out Building Placement In Frostpunk

Building placement is also crucial since you need to stack the maximum number of buildings that you can into the innermost rings. This reduces heat requirements which saves coal. That’s one thing I never got the hang of, it’s still a work in progress for me.

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This game is great, I can’t wait to try it again and probably be exiled again!

Rich Gallien

I've always liked board games like chess and PC games, especially space based strategy games, which lead to the creation of this site. I hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoyed creating it and updating it with new games!

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