Although there have been lots of city building games in the past, the extreme, grim nature of the gameplay in this frozen land will truly test your mettle. Frostpunk is set in the 19th century of an alternate history timeline where the world has completely frozen over. As the leader of a small community of survivors, you must lead these people back from the brink of death into stability and sustenance. You're gambling with lives in real time as you get the handle of things, trying to minimize discontent while maximizing citizens' hope -- it's entirely possible that multiple people might not make it through the first cold night. It isn't enough to secure a steady supply of resources like wood, steel, and coal; you have to nourish people's lives and spirits so they don't get burned out on the drudgery of crushing, endless work. You'll also need to provide medical facilities and other essentials to help them survive.
Although these details consume much of your time, especially as you research more buildings and services, it's not as engaging as the philosophical fastballs Frostpunk pelts you with. Your citizens will come to you as emergencies arise, and you'll have to decide what to promise and how to deliver on it at a moment's notice: Do you extend working hours to ensure survival sooner, but risk burning your population out? Do you build a child's shelter, which creates tension in the adult workforce? Do you put sawdust in the food to help stretch resources? These questions are much more interesting to navigate and if made haphazardly, can destroy your society as mistakes pile up. Let's face it: This is a stressful game, with odds completely against you, and survival is frequently close to impossible. Still, it's a heartbreaking thrill to see how far you can get, what you learn, what it cost you, and how you can better plan for next time. With its leap to the consoles, many of the trickier commands have also been simplified to an easy to command radial system. It takes a bit of time to get used to, but once you do, you'd be surprised to find that it works as well, if not better than the mouse and keyboard. That's particularly useful when it comes to quickly and accurately placing buildings or streets without wasting resources. That doesn't mean that the game is any easier, or the included scenarios are lighter in tone -- it's just that you aren't shackled by bad controls if you choose to play on a console instead of a PC. If you're comfortable with an intense challenge to sharpen your survival instincts, Frostpunk's stark setting is well worth a look.