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Frostpunk: On the Edge review – pressure from a different perspective

To me, Frostpunk is a game about pressure, it provides the context for everything you do. What you build depends on where you’re being stretched thinnest. Are you running out of coal? Research and improve your coal production. Are you out of food? Do the same for food. Has the temperature dropped and you need better insulation? You’d better hurry up because it definitely isn’t getting any warmer. It never lets up. When you think you’ve solved one problem, Frostpunk provides another two, and every time it does, it dangles a horrid solution in front of you.

Do you want to pass a law enabling child labour? I know you wouldn’t normally but look at the situation you’re in: children could collect coal, is that really so bad? How about cooking the odd corpse? No one needs to know and you don’t have any food. Gradually you find yourself down a road you never thought you would be until you’re suddenly staring dictatorial rule in the face. Then again, would it really be so bad?

Frostpunk was thrilling, but in On the Edge, the game’s just-released second expansion, things work slightly differently. The old pressures are still there but they’re rejigged because now, there’s something else to contend with: inter-settlement relationships. You see, you’re not the only people out there. In fact, you’re not even in control of the main settlement, New London, any more. You’re an offshoot of it, an outpost, established around an Army Warehouse (a new kind of building) where you’re to extract materials from it.

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