You already know the stakes in Frostpunk’s primary campaign. In the industrial revolution in England, a winter of Biblical proportions descended, driving its citizens to the frozen strangers in search of life-giving generators. In The Last Autumn, you are responsible for creating one of those generators – one that will hopefully save lives in the future. Winter is lurking on the periphery, so you should worry about new resource-gathering resources, time-bound goals, and social challenges instead of avoiding the flu. This is our Frostpunk: The Last Autumn Review.
Frostpunk: The Last Autumn Review: About
- Platform: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Microsoft Windows, Macintosh
- Developer: 11-bit studios
- Publisher: 11-bit studiosMerge GamesDMM GAMES
- Genres: Action, Adventure, Survival
- Release Date: January 21, 2020
Frostpunk: The Last Autumn Review: Official Trailer Video
Frostpunk: The Last Autumn Review: Gameplay
With the cold weather coming to Liverpool, leading a handful of workers and engineers on an expedition to a bay on the edge of the country. Nearly freezing sprays from the nearby ocean splash against treacherous rocky beaches, with only a small space to build by viewing the thickets of trees along the coast. This limited space is immediately stressful – a huge generator needs to be made, the resources around you already seem scarce, and the space to work with doesn’t allow for many placement errors. The odds have been stacked against you since the beginning of last fall’s campaign, but some new tools offer respite in several ways.
Instead of collecting resources from deposits around you, you can build new ports on limited coastal areas to collect what you need. You have to choose which areas are dedicated to food fishing and which others can be set up as large harbors, allowing ships with moorings of timber, coal, or steel to dock and unload. Sending resources is also only part of the supply chain. With new depots staffed with workers, you can quickly equip your capital with resources that are nearly as fast as they are unloaded, which significantly improves when workers manually carry them out of the docks.
Once you have mastered the time limits imposed on you, you can focus more on The Last Autumn’s new motivation meter, which ties in with the recurring dissatisfaction meter from previous scenarios. Each speaks for itself – the first measures how motivated your employees are to get the job done, while the other actions how unhappy they are with their current living situation. However, unlike previous campaigns, it doesn’t mean your game is getting too high or too low.
Instead, Motivation determines how efficient your employees are at the tasks they are assigned to, while Discontent changes how likely they are to lay down and strike tools ultimately. Keeping motivation high and discontent at first, almost nonexistent, is simple. Still, as winter approaches and the reality of your advancing deadlines looms, inevitable scenario-specific adaptations come to make maintenance a real challenge for both.
Strikes are a new social aspect that you will be dealing with, hand in hand with new statistics that measure the safety of workplaces instead of worrying about their overall temperature. Workplaces that are always hazardous and staffed with workers who work long or double shifts will quickly drive their occupants to their tools and picket, requiring you to negotiate before returning to work. For employee requests, you must pass new laws that affect their working hours or living conditions, often requiring more resources from you or tolerance for their slower pace of work to get them back into their factories and factories.
With new mechanics to contend with and different ways to approach Frostpunk’s strategic formula, the new laws it introduces make tackling both morally challenging and always. Your basic set of laws comes back from previous scenarios, but the industries that come with job cleanup or your engineers expand them extensively. During one of my successful runs, I passed laws on the technical path that allowed me to send prisoners for cheaper labor while building oppressive security towers and various penitentiaries to keep an eye on everyone.
Neither of these decisions is easy to make. Frostpunk has always made your choices feel like choosing between two evils, and The Last Autumn claims that. When sending criminals, I was reminded continuously how horrible some of their crimes were and how they could cause problems for my other citizens if not adequately monitored. But even the introduction of a growing security force created issues.
Since poor motivation or dissatisfaction doesn’t end a run and just the stress of missing deadlines to contend with, The Last Autumn allows for more flexibility in your strategy. This will enable you to push the boundaries of what the new laws offer, giving you the chance to move forward with increasingly morally questionable decisions if you’re just focused on getting the job done. However, it doesn’t come without consequences, especially when the cold arrives at the end of the run and imposes further restrictions on resource collection, as well as the frequent temperature monitoring in workplaces and civilian homes.
At the end of my run, I furiously turned civilians into criminals to increase my workforce without new workers arriving, which also increased the size of my required security forces exponentially. The last few days felt like a war of attrition – I was not allowed to give up longer shifts. Still, I was also unable to provide for the living needs of my population without diverting resources from generator work. In just a few days, nearly half of my society had succumbed to illness and died, eventually enabling me to achieve my goal, but with almost no one responsible for seeing the fruits of their work.
Aside from small stories that generate and influence your decisions, The Last Autumn tries to confront your choices through its conclusion definitively. Now that the generator has been built and your citizens have been sent to the next site that needs work, you will see predictions about how effective your generator could be and how many citizens it could save in the future. Based on how many milestones you’ve missed, how many concessions you had to make to get there, and the number of people you lost along the way, the hard-fought long-term victory can be depressingly unlikely to succeed.
The Frostpunk: The Last Autumn Review demands a lot from you. Still, it’s also a profoundly immersive evolution of the formula that makes Frostpunk, where the core rules change just enough to make all of your previous strategies feel inadequate. Whether it’s deciding what resources to order and how to distribute them or which parts of your staff to push just hard enough before they reach their breaking point, The Last Autumn maintains the core game’s morally challenging and consistently riddled decision-making while giving you new laws to experiment and master.
The Last Autumn maintains the core game’s morally challenging and consistently riddled decision-making while giving you new laws to experiment and master.