A steampunk-themed city building and management simulation game. After a deep freeze wipes out most of the world's population, it is left up to you to build and operate the last city on Earth in a frozen, desolate wasteland.
Pro Captures the grim reality of survival incredibly well
As the world lies in a deep freeze and your city is just barely clinging to life, many situations will arise where tough choices have to be made in the name of survival.
When facing a shortage of adult workers, you may opt to send children to work, and possibly their death, out in the wasteland collecting coal and lumber. When people die, you can bury the dead or, in the most dire of times, use them as a food source. When coming across survivors, you have to weigh the benefits and downsides of taking them in. They may provide extra labor, but it's just another mouth to feed. As the temperature plummets, you can order workers to double shifts to keep the heating going, but it puts them at risk for starvation and exhaustion.
There are just so many little decisions that add up to driving the point home that you are really in the middle of a crisis and its captured incredibly well in-game.
Pro Engaging moral choices
You can enact and carry out laws in your city that will affect both the survival and happiness of your citizens in interesting ways. These moral choices add an entertaining and engaging depth to gameplay.
For example, if your workers are frostbitten, you can house them in hospitals which costs resources. Otherwise, you can choose to amputate them which effectively takes them out of your workforce, yet they still have to be housed, kept warm, and fed. Children can be kept protected and warm, or you can send them off in the frozen wasteland to work like the adults.
Every single action you take affects how content or upset your population is. Whether you keep them safe and warm, or make tough calls in the name of survival is your choice. These systems must be carefully balanced if you want to succeed. All in all, Frostpunk offers no shortage of interesting moral choices for you to make.
Pro Balanced simulation experience
Overall, the simulation aspects are handled quite well, and there is a lot to micromanage. Resources such as lumber and coal must be harvested and managed to construct buildings and keep your city warm. Rationing and finding food is important too, as your citizens need to eat to work. You will also be managing your "hope" and "discontent" metrics which is a general indicator of your population's happiness. Overwork them and they may revolt or die of exhaustion. Underwork them and they may starve or freeze to death. Finding this delicate balance between survival and keeping people content is where the game truly shines.
Pro Unique premise
Frostpunk takes place in a steampunk-themed 1886 England. A freak snowstorm has wiped out most of the world's population and plunged Earth into a deep freeze. As the last remaining bastion of humanity, you'll be building and managing an outpost as you fight the weather and human nature itself. It's out of this dark and desolate post-apocalyptic premise that allows the game to offer a lot of grim, yet interesting gameplay choices.
Con Limiting experience overall
Frostpunk's main scenario only runs about 45 in-game days (6-12 hours). There is no sandbox mode where you can keep growing and building indefinitely, making it a rather limited simulation experience overall. This may be disappointing to those who would prefer to keep their city going as long as possible.