When I started working on this CryoFall review, it made me realize how much I like indie games. I’m not talking about this game itself, we’ll get to that later, but about the indie scene in its entirety. Since the indie revolution, it seems that enthusiastic developers have been busy filling every niche and every “what if” with interesting games and concepts. CryoFall falls into that category. The survival genre has already been beaten silly by indie and AAA developers. Lots of these games are good, others not so much. Now AtomicTorch Studio, the developers of CryoFall, have taken just another stab at a well-established formula – now in 2D!
CryoFall Review: What Is It?
CryoFall is not a difficult game to describe. It is a sci-fi multiplayer survival game set in the distant future. You already know how this style of the game goes; you get some stone, punch some wood, manage your grumbling stomach, and finally build a base.
As soon as you start the game, a short tutorial takes you through the dangerous world of CryoFall. However, the game is still very much about exploration and you’ll have plenty to explore on your own. Following the advice of a friend, I played a single-player world (by which I mean I hosted a world and restricted access for everyone but me) to learn the ropes. Soon enough you’ll be equipped with various crafting stations and tools to help you not spontaneously die. You will probably also have a base very reminiscent of Don’t Starve’s first-year bases.
But from here the game amps up quite a bit. A unique research tree system lets you discover and build blueprints for things as simple as a small lamp or as complicated as bioreactors. There is an abundance of crafting materials in the game, almost to the point of confusion.
The dangers surrounding the player come from not only the hard-as-nails survival mechanics, but also from other aggressive players. With maps that can host up to 200 players at once and unforgiving gameplay, the fight for resources can be a bit rough.
Filling In An Interesting Niche
Generally speaking, CryoFall is not a groundbreaking game. It was never meant to be one. I approached this CryoFall review thinking that I was getting into a fun “survival game but” title, and I found a lot of that with a little extra. The game promises classic but interesting multiplayer survival in 2D. So, does it manage that?
There are a few things that really shine about CryoFall, the first being its research and skills system. Acquiring new skills in CryoFall feels significant, at least at the start. The levels you get in skills make a noticeable difference – it can be grindy, but we’ll get to that in due time. And research makes you feel the weight of your progression in an otherwise tough environment.
Moreover, while the game never strays too far from a familiar recipe, it does that in a good way. I was promised survival, and I got exactly what I expected. The learning curve of this otherwise difficult to grasp game was accelerated by my experience with other similar games. In other words, this game stands on the shoulders of survival-giants.
That’s not to say the game is entirely a clone, either. There are a ton of new ideas, some great mob designs, and gameplay deep enough to make each new mechanic you face interesting enough.
But It Doesn’t Fit Snuggly
With that said, CryoFall Cryofell in a lot of other regards. Pacing is possibly the biggest offender. After a decent amount of time with the game, I did not progress nearly as much as I thought I had.
Disappointingly, I quickly found that following a neat early phase, the game came to a near halt. There is no way around this, the game is grindy. Worse still, the grinding starts way too early. Perhaps this is solved by having very large groups of players teaming up together, but for my party of 2 and 2 randos, we did a lot of grinding.
But it is more likely that this is done in order to cover up for the lack of content in the game. I get that this type of game requires a lot of work (crafting materials, environment, mobs, tools, networking, etc..) to get even a little amount of content out for players. However, I felt that the content in this game was spread depression-era-thin and covered up with grinding. Personally, I found no reason to continue playing after having a decent base besides good company.
CryoFall is an interesting game with a simple premise – survival in a dystopian 2D world. It has a bunch of new cool ideas but it generally uses your own experiences to give you a fun time.
The game, fresh out of Early Access, did not feel ready yet to me. I played the game once, I experienced most things, but now I have no reason to go back for more. True survival fans who’ve exhausted their options will no doubt have a fun time with CryoFall. If you’re trying to get into survival games, however, you might want to start somewhere else.
If this CryoFall review got you excited to dip into the game’s perilous world, be sure to check out the game on Steam!
This review is based on the PC version of CryoFall. The key was provided by Annapurna IntDaedalic Entertainment