Name: Impact Winter
Developer: Mojo Bones
Publisher: Bandai Namco
Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
Reviewed on: PlayStation 4
Acquired:* A copy of this game was provided from publisher for review purpose*
Impact Winter sounded like an interesting premise when I heard about it. A small group of people that need to survive for 30 days after an meteor impact, stranded in the blistering cold waiting for help. But whether it delivers on the premise remains to be seen.
You will take the role as Jacob- a man in his 40’s, who is the leader of a small group of survivors after a meteor hit earth. They have taken shelter in a church that they use as a base to keep themselves alive. One day their robot Aki-Light picks up a message that tells them in 30 days help will come to rescue them. So the group will have to gather resources and build the necessities to stay alive. Another reason for doing that is to upgrade Aki-Light’s signal so they can shorten the waiting time for help to arrive. It’s a simple premise to follow but not much was being told for me to engage in the people, and it never felt important to me that they survived (except for me wanting to complete the game). The group consists of a chef, a doctor, a vietnam vet, a computer “nerd” and a mechanic. So all of them have to cooperate to survive. And you will be given some information about them, by talking to them and the information given by the game.
Impact Winter uses a unique graphical style with some cartoonish graphics mixed with the gritty environments you will encounter. When roaming around this cold world, it can look a bit bland. Since everything just looks white obviously because of the snow, and then when roaming around the map it just looks boring. But inside all these snow-covered buildings and inside the caves is where the interesting is hiding, both graphics wise but also in the gameplay (more on that later). What these show you is often horrific since the stains from what happened when the meteor hit is still visible and what damage it did. But it tells a story of it’s own at moments or what your imagination tells you.
Unfortunately Impact Winter suffers from framerate drops quite often at least on the regular PlayStation 4. There are also some graphical glitches, and some textures looking a bit outdated.
Impact Winter is a survival game, where you as the player will do everything to keep you and everyone else alive. You will be scouting for resources, managing inventory and upgrading your base to secure the values you have. there is different types of expertise in the group, and they will have different ideas of what we need and what we will be using it for. So they will give you different quests, and that is the biggest part of the game.
Each survivor, including Jacob, has a number of meters that must be maintained at a safe level in order to avoid their deaths or departures from the group. These include overall health, energy, hunger, thirst, temperature, and morale. Keeping the church bonfire fueled and making sure each survivor is fed and happy are as important as exploring the world and completing quest lines, which fast-track the looming rescue operation by taking chunks off the timer. The constant juggling of all these priorities keeps you anxiously engaged, your thoughts constantly being occupied with short-term planning as you trek through the snow.
Each individual back at camp has a different crafting specialty that Jacob can take advantage of to help ease the burden of his tasks. For example, Wendy can effortlessly cook a number of filling meals given the right ingredients, while Maggie is exceptionally handy at mechanical repairs and upgrades. These characters also provide a series of personal quests, the completion of which help decrease the rescue timer and expand that character’s range of crafting recipes. These quests are narratively thin, but they are the primary motivators for you to explore the world and push the boundaries of how far you are willing to risk traveling from relative safety. And it’s the exploration of this bleak, snowy wasteland of a world which is Impact Winter’s strength.
This is what you will be doing for the majority of the game, but there will be situations you will have to take care of. I have experienced that we got scavenged, while I was outside looking for resources. Also the group started to fight among themselves because of disagreements, and I had to come back to end it to keep them happy and the morale up. They have been sick, since I forgot to keep a good temperature. So then I had to go looking for medicine to cure them, or else I would lose resources and important work force.
Traverse frivolously, and you could find yourself in a situation where you’re desperately trying to maintain Jacob’s hunger to avoid health loss. Or perhaps using Ako-light’s flashlight and scanner functions too often has caused it to temporarily run out of battery power, leaving you with no radar, meaning you have have to navigate home with just your memory of landmarks and a paper map from before the world was buried in meters of snow. The game constantly holds you in a state of mild anxiety, worrying and hoping that the path you’ve chosen will pay off. All this makes it a interesting experience since anything can happen it seems.
But there is some things that can be really infuriating and ruin a lot, since you often are outside to gather stuff. You will have to prepare everything in your base before you leave, food will have to be dealt out to each one. A nice hot fire so they won’t freeze to death, and make sure they go to sleep when tired. (it’s like being a parent at moments) so everything has to be planned and managed before leaving, and on itself it’s a great concept but then there is the problems. THEY ARE USELESS!! Even a 6 year old kid would be more capable to take care of himself. They will sometimes not eat the food so they starve, and they will not go to sleep even when you told them to do so. (and not in as Jakob told them with words, but I as a player pressed in a menu that should force them to go to sleep) but no! they have no capabilities to do actions on their own except for what you make them do, but on top of that they won’t even do thing they will have to do to survive. They will just hurt themselves and fight without my help, this often forces me to abort my missions and head back to base to sort this out. Maybe this game is secretly made to prepare people to be parents?
All jokes aside
There is things here that is interesting, and survival game fans will love it, but there is these issues that at least bothered me at times. Some of it might just be glitches that happened at times, or is gameplay elements i’m just not used to.
Its straight forward and not complex, all the menus you will have to use can be a bit scary at the start. but you will have no problems understand it after some time, actions are highlighted so you will know what you need to press. There were moments where I got stuck in things that could be annoying but not a deal breaker. Being a game that was release for PC, I think it’s implemented pretty good on a controller and I didn’t find any flaws.
After beating the game you will get a score based on your performance and of how much you managed to do before being rescued. You will usually not have time to do everything, so there might be more to discover on an second or third play through. Or maybe you want to try out different strategies to try to beat the game in even less time or to complete more quests.
There is a New Game + mode so you can skip the entire tutorial part of the game and jump right in to it. This is a nice feature so you don’t have to use almost a hour each time you want to play through. But after 30 days I unfortunately felt pretty done with it, and didn’t feel to try another playthrough.
Impact Winter was a familiar experience playing through, gathering resources and building to survive. There were elements that made it interesting, but it has it flaws. Some can be fixed, but theres is just some that irritates me more than it interested me. And with the AI that constantly forced me to give up on what I was really doing, it could ruin the experience. After 30 days I was more relieved it was over than happy to have survived.
Total Score: 6,5/10
Decent “There is something here you must experience, worth for fans of survival games”