Frostpunk: Complete Collection - PS4 Review

Frostpunk: Complete Collection by developer and publisher 11 Bit StudiosSony PlayStation 4 review written by Mylène with a copy provided by the publisher.

Estimated reading time: 6 minutes 

Frostpunk is an extensive city building, strategy & resource management game who's story focuses on the collapse of mankind. In a somewhat alternate universe, during the age of steam, civilization as we know it faces a sudden, ruthless ice age. Society unfortunately falls prey to the merciless grasp of permafrost. The normal way of life changes forever with the arrival of that brutal, never-ending winter. Civilization is altered to a point where survival, no matter how, is all that matters.

You are now in charge of the subsistence of your people and the settling of a new, safe haven. Powered by steam technology in a completely frozen wasteland, you and what remains of humanity, must try to survive the overwhelming and deadly cold by any means possible. Your sole source of heat comes from a coal powered steam generator, and you must do everything you can to keep it functional. Let it run out, and your people will quickly freeze to death. To manage survival, you will also be asked to declare new policies, or laws, and make harsh, sometimes cold-blooded, decisions for the best of all. “We must survive.”

The game opens up with some amazing, emotional art and storytelling. The story of the arrival of the frost is quite poignant, and the game does a good job at making you feel both the lurking despair, and the faith remaining in the souls of those survivors as the snow settles, and never leaves. I was captivated from the beginning, feeling as if I was watching a movie as the survivors undertook the journey to find a safe haven to settle and call home. They had lost everything, and for all they know, everyone they ever knew. All that remains a little glimmer of hope that maybe, they will make it out alive. Maybe fighting to stay alive is all worth it.

The music is tragic, moving, and gives you hope that you can hold on to live and see another day. It pushes you to consider your options carefully, but swiftly as well, as time is precious, your resources are scarce, your people are cold, miserable, hungry… and every decision you make will have consequences. It won’t be easy. You may have to manipulate, or exploit your citizens for the betterment, and survival of all.

The concept of the game is pretty simple; Manage and organize your resources properly to grow and sustain your people appropriately. You’ll need reserves such as wood, coal, and steel to build and upgrade your various buildings. Coal will also be needed to fuel your generator to keep a comfortable, and livable, level of warmth for your citizens. All those resources will need to be closely monitored if you mean to persist through the grim living situations. To start off you will have a handful of citizens and workers to assign to gather and scavenge the different types of materials needed for the growth of your city. There is quite a steep learning curve when starting the game and learning how punishing the lack of resources can be, and once you start lagging behind, everything seems to slowly get worst. That said, when you find the right balance, the game keeps throwing new challenges and controversial choices at you. Succeeding at those definitely feels rewarding. Failing hurts, as you see your people lose hope and suffer.

Frostpunk does a great job at engaging you that way. It makes you feel the importance and urgency of your life altering decisions. It also lets you lead your society as you see fit. It will test your moral and ethical compass; Will you be a policing state, cold and slightly sadistic, and assert dominance of your people, or will you be the kind leader, that leads their city with hopeful and kind consideration? Will you make the children work the mines, just as the adults do? Will you prefer radical treatment and amputating the gravely ill, or offer them palliative care? What kind of food will you feed your citizens?

No matter what choices you make, Frostpunk will throw multiple trials to test your leadership and challenge your rule. Some decisions might seem like the more rational, logical ones at the moment, but end up defying your expectations. You might end up regretting the past and being unable to fix your mistakes. That alone, got me absorbed into the game, and me ponder my choices more than once before deciding what path to take. It also never gave me the feeling of being a chore. I loved how it stimulated me to take a moment and think about what path I would employ for the wellbeing and growth of my people.

As the game plays in real-time, it does add to the sense of urgency, without being pushy or rushed. You will have plenty of time to pause and consider your options before making a choice. A system of Hope and Discontent will keep you aware of how your reputation is perceived within your people. Let your hope fall too low and you will be banished into the frozen wasteland, left alone to die. The same goes if your Discontent raises too high and your people revolt against your rule.

Having played both the PC and console version of Frostpunk, I definitely can say that the PC version plays out smoother. On console, the point and click system was a bit slower, which made me slightly anxious about addressing certain problematic situations in my city. The text on screen to describe certain items or buildings was also so small, I often had to pause the game, get off my seat and get closer to the screen to read what was written. These details set aside, the game plays efficiently and is still quite intuitive on console. For a city building and management game, I actually enjoyed being able to see the story unfold on my TV screen. It almost felt as if I were watching a movie.


In conclusion, Frostpunk is definitely a breath of fresh air in its genre. It can be ruthless and challenging, in all the best ways possible. It lets you establish any kind of rule you can imagine, and still manages to keep you on the edge of your seat will all kinds of tasks that question and confront your decision-making skills. I would definitely recommend this title to any fans of city management and strategy games, as it keeps traditional roots in the genre, while being innovative in it’s own way. I’d give the console version a 8.5 out of 10.

Score: 8.5 / 10



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