To me, Frostpunk is a video game about pressure, it supplies the context for whatever you do. What you construct depends upon where you’re being extended thinnest. Are you lacking coal? Research and enhance your coal production. Are you out of food? Do the exact same for food. Has the temperature level dropped and you require much better insulation? You’d much better hurry due to the fact that it certainly isn’t getting any warmer. It never ever slows down. When you believe you have actually fixed one issue, Frostpunk supplies another 2, and whenever it does, it hangs a ghastly option in front of you.

Do you wish to pass a law allowing kid labour? I understand you would not generally however take a look at the scenario you remain in: kids could gather coal, is that truly so bad? How about preparing the odd remains? No one requires to understand and you do not have any food. Gradually you discover yourself down a roadway you never ever believed you would be up until you’re all of a sudden gazing dictatorial guideline in the face. Then once again, would it truly be so bad?

Frostpunk was awesome, however in On the Edge, the video game’s just-released 2nd growth,
things work somewhat in a different way. The old pressures are still there however they’re rejigged due to the fact that now, there’s something else to compete with: inter-settlement relationships. You see, you’re not the only individuals out there. In reality, you’re not even in control of the primary settlement, New London, anymore. You’re a spin-off of it, a station, developed around an Army Warehouse (a brand-new type of structure) where you’re to draw out products from it.

frostpunk_photomode_close
These are taken in the video game’s Photo mode. The zoomed-out image has some filters used however the up-close image does not, so you can value all the beautiful information.

This time, you cannot do it alone. You do not have enough of whatever you require to manage. The most important issue, and a continuous one, will be food, due to the fact that you have no chance to dependably source it. You can send out check to attempt and discover some exterior of your settlement but you never know if they will, and even if they do, it will be a one-off. So how do you mitigate this?

To begin with, New London has your back. You are people sent by New London, after all, so it’s only right the mothership should feed you. All you’re asked to do in return is extract steel and valuable steam cores from the Army Warehouse and send them the other way, which you do via new Administration and Transport Depot buildings. The former is where you manage relationships and demands, and the latter is where you keep track of ingoing and outgoing supplies. And for a while, everything is peachy. You slowly establish your small settlement and your people will be cheery, your outlook hopeful. Then On the Edge will tighten the screws.

New London drops the friendly act and starts ordering you to send supplies, then it cuts the amount of food supplies it sends in return. Then, it decides it wants your steel and steam cores before it sends back food. Unease amongst your population rises. I mean, you need the resources you’re sending too, and now, you’re barely getting anything in return. It’s not fair. But all of a sudden fortune smiles and you discover another outpost offering reliable amounts of food for trade. And that’s when New London wades in to forbid trade with anyone else and how you find yourself at your first crisis point.

frostpunk_mutiny

This is really where On the Edge begins, with you taking your chances and going it alone, and again, for a while it will seem peachy, with you and your new friend establishing a mutually beneficial relationship. But again, screws will begin to tighten. The temperature will begin to drop, not cataclysmically however down to around -50 degrees centigrade: low enough to cause problems and expose weaknesses in insulation and heating, and to burden your coal production line. People will fall ill, medical centres will be stretched and there will be absences at work.

Then your new friends will begin to make demands of their own, and they will be demands your own people won’t like. What do you do, risk the rise in Discontent at home or risk pissing off your invaluable source of food? Then your wood supplies will run out and you will be faced with the bleak prospect of not being able to produce any at all. The clincher here being: that’s what you were trading for food.

But again, there’s help out there if you can find it. Though like the food-rich outpost, the wood-rich place has demands and a personality of its own, which will stretch you yet further at home. And are these new people as trustworthy as they seem?

Manage them right and these other settlements start to feel like extensions of your own. You can even upgrade them to a point where a proper trade route is established and you automatically receive shipments of supplies every other day, though it comes at a huge investment cost. But just when you think you’re approaching something like stability, despite everything, a time-pressured, potentially game-ending event will emerge and you will be up against it yet again.

And then the temperature will drop.

On the Edge is a reinterpretation of Frostpunk less concerned with the cataclysmic cold and outrageous laws of the main game, and more tightly focused around the idea of juggling your settlement’s needs against those of the others. That might sound kinder but it’s hard – harder, even, than the main game, I reckon. It’s another tense test of your resolve.

And you understand what? It’s lovely to be back, watching my poor Victorian individuals trudging through snow to work endless hours accompanied by melancholic strings and howling winds. Frostpunk remains an exquisitely made game, one which leaves a distinct and lasting impression, and On the Edge is the perfect method to find it.

frostpunk_gameover