in Games

Frozen Synapse

I don’t play too many games at my desk anymore; I generally prefer to keep to the console stuff and leave my computer for work and such. But when two places I tend to trust (Penny Arcade and my fellows over at Quarter to Three) recommended the same game at almost the same time, I took notice and decided to bite on a copy.

So here’s my short review of Frozen Synapse:

Take the planning part of the original Rainbow Six—you know, the part that was the best thing about it until they removed it from the game series—and make a game out of that. It’s that awesome.

In the default gametype, you are given four soldiers, of varying types, and your opponent is given the same. You start on opposite ends of a map with rooms, short walls to shoot over and cover behind, and doorways, and you give pathway commands to your dudes. You can have them aim in a certain direction, ignore or focus on enemies, go to different areas, and change tactics all by planning their routes and how you want them to go about their way.

Each player submits their commands and then the game proceeds for five seconds as you watch your respective orders fire at the same time. A game lasts as long as eight turns, so all the action happens in 40 seconds or less. When a match is concluded, the whole thing looks like this:

Of course, it takes a bit longer to compose your orders, as you get to change them between each turn, and you can run simulations based on what you think your opponent will do to help you figure out the best plan of attack. The game can even be played asynchronously, where you each submit your respective turns and then the game emails you to let you know you need to come back.

For $20, you get a copy for yourself and a copy for a friend. It’s a pretty good deal, and you support indie game development by buying it. Find out more here.