Editor: Diane Hutchinson Editor@girlgamersuk.com

Impact Winter

Posted by GG Goblin On June - 19 - 2017

In the midst of Summer, we have a game about surviving an eternal Winter.

 
Survival games are two-a-penny at the moment, with every other developer trying to challenge players to successfully survive one disaster or another, so it takes something quite special to stand out in this crowded genre. Mojo Bones’ Impact Winter throws out an interesting premise, in that the player and their group have only to survive 30 days, and both the audio and visuals impress with their quality. However, certain issues tend to suggest that the game was released far too early. Can Impact Winter survive in the survival game genre?

 
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As survival games so often do, Impact Winter starts pretty bleakly. An asteroid has collided with the Earth, plunging the entire planet into a constant Winter. The player puts themselves into the snow-covered boots of Jacob, a survivor who is hunkered down with a number of other survivors in a church. Even from the very beginning, there is an incredible atmosphere to the game, due partly to the incredible soundtrack and desolate setting. The future seems grim, and hope is a resource that is in very short supply.

 
But hope comes quickly. A distorted, crackly radio message states that help is coming. It will arrive in 30 days. The message is vague, and the source is unknown. Yet, in the absence of any other hope, the survivors in the church embrace this hope and so starts a countdown to rescue which will mean the player doing everything they can to ensure as many of the survivors last that 30 days as possible.

 
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In a truly videogame way of seeing things, players reduce the countdown timer by completing tasks. Complete a task and get a few hours taken off the timer, it’s quite straight forward in that respect, even if it feels a little forced.

 
Exploration of the outside, snow-covered world is where the majority of the tasks will take the player. Wandering the white expanse feels incredibly lonely and desperate, again emphasized by the magnificent score that can ramp up when the player comes close to something important, offering not just atmosphere but also part of the gameplay mechanic. Accompanied by a floating robot thing with limited batteries, the player will have to search the game world for all manner of junk that will be essential to their survival. Limited inventory spaces and Jacobs own limitations will ensure that the player will frequently have to return to the church, and check on the other survivors as life moves on whether the player is there or not. There are other survivors out in the snow, and not all of them are friendly.

 
While the lion’s share of the time playing will be spent exploring the snowy landscape, looking for any signs of life or undiscovered buildings that can be searched and looted, there are other aspects to the game that will play a part. There is crafting system to make use of all the junk found while exploring, and there is a role system for the other survivors, putting them to use back at the church. Skills are unlocked that can tweak the roles of the survivors, but there is a balance that the player will have to account for.

 
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More often than not, I play PC games with the sound off on my PC. But I really need to once again emphasize how integral to the gameplay the soundtrack is in Impact Winter. It is the soundtrack that builds the atmosphere. However, it also has to be said that the game looks absolutely beautiful in its simplicity. The different shades of gray that make up the majority of the environments set the desolate scene, but are then occasionally broken but small pops of colour, which are a cause for celebration.

 
Impact Winter has a lot going for it, but it is let down by some pretty major flaws. Graphical glitches, inaccessible areas and general bugs are fairly frequent. However, the big problem comes with the controls, which have been quite messed up since launch whether the player is using a controller or keyboard/mouse combo. Patches are being dropped at an alarming rate, for which the developers should be applauded, but the shonky UI and incredibly imprecise controls are a frustration that really do hamper the enjoyment of the game. I am sure it will all be fixed, but who knows how long that will take.

 
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Impact Winter has the potential to be an enjoyable and atmospheric survival game. In theory, it does everything right. But in practice, the game feels buggy and unfinished. When the game is finished and all of the issues have been patched out, Impact Winter will be worthy of a much higher score, but in its current state it just requires too much patience to fully enjoy. Hopefully we won’t have to wait 30 days…

 

 ★★★★★★☆☆☆☆ 



 

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