Frozen State is a top down survival game, developed by FLOX Studios, that just released out of early access on 6th of August for £8.99/$11.99. Frozen State, as you can probably guess, focuses in surviving cold weather, as well as the dangers of mutated zombie-like monsters and other survivors.
Frozen State heavily focuses on keeping warm, finding this out through the Overworld map, which you use to travel across to get to the other points of interest. However, moving across the map causes the temperature meter to drop quite fast so caution is advised. The maps are moderately sized and each corner has an exit point so it isn’t too hard to escape if the worst was to happen, and it will happen, rather often.
The game begins in a house after your Explorer has broken down, and the objective is to go into the city, and other points of interest to scavenge for parts that’ll help you rebuild the Explorer. Along the way you will need to scavenge supplies, and weapons, in order to keep yourself alive, both of which are scarce, so resource management is essential to survival. The game can be quite unforgiving, and not always intentionally, so this may deter some players.
One of my favourite horror movies is John Carpenters ‘The Thing’ and the atmosphere of this game reminds me of this film constantly, even the monster designs are similar. The movement of the character isn’t quite as smooth as it probably should be, and getting stuck on objects, particularly when running away from a fight, can be very frequent. The movement of the other survivors and monsters are pretty fluent, however this is a little at odds when you’re getting stuck on walls and doors. This can can be very frustrating, especially if you end up dying or losing a considerable amount of health because you got stuck on a piece of debris while being chased.
The camera controls however, pan really nicely, and rotation controls are one of the best control choices of Frozen State. Looting buildings is much quicker when you can hold right-click and drag quickly to rotate the camera to see the whole room, though this can sometimes diffuse the tension of exploring potentially dangerous environments.
The inventory system is not to dissimilar of the pip-boy from the older Fallout games, and everything is laid out in a very easy to use manner, and it’s very easy to drop, destroy and equip items. As I previously mentioned, melee weapons are rare, and guns even rarer, and the monsters you will encounter are very strong so avoiding combat is the best choice unless you have plenty of guns and a truckload of ammo.
There is crafting, quite a lot of crafting actually. You can build cabins and defences to avoid being overrun, and you can build fires, as well as put down sleeping bags so almost anywhere can be made into an outpost, though not a particularly safe one. Stealth is highly recommended as the enemies in this game are absolutely deadly, and soak up much more damage than you. Some of the enemies can even shoot out poison and if you don’t have the items to heal it, it’ll slowly kill you. This is on top of worrying about food, thirst, temperature and plenty of other status meters.
All in all, I really think this is what survival horror should be about. Excellent dark, gritty and isolated-survival aspects. It perhaps needed a little more work on things such as animations and overall presentation however, and although the developers have a lot of content planned and I can see Frozen State falling into the abyss of Early-Access Survival Sims unless some tweaking is made via patches.
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