Frozen Synapse takes the concept of chess and gives the 16th century game a 22nd century twist. The developer Mode 7 Games is the indie game developer who created Determinance a few years back. Frozen Synapse is currently in an open beta. Anyone who pre-purchases the game will receive two copies of the game and instant access to the beta for both licenses. No final release date has been posted yet, but the game is scheduled to be released later this year.
The game is designed around competing with other players around the interwebs. You can challenge anyone to a game and it keeps track of your wins and losses and ranks you against all other players. After the first day of nostalgia ended I began leaving it open in the background and letting it notify me if one of my opponents had made a move. I’d then make my next one and minimize it and continue with whatever I had going. It provided me with a little release while working on other things. The game is pretty fun after the first few days, but I don’t just play Frozen Synapse.
In the beta, Gameplay is pretty slick. The board is set up with a few random rooms and each player’s guys are scattered about. There are a number of game variations that keep it interesting, but in every type each player plans their movements and attacks at the same time. When both players have primed their turns it runs all of the movements at the same time. Each game consists of at most five turns. If one player loses all of his or her units before the end of the five turns, the game ends.
There are a few different types of units, but the player does not choose them. Units are randomly assigned. There is a shotgun, machine gun, grenade, sniper and rocket launcher unit. Ever box can be destroyed by the rocketeer. It’s fun to see the wall blow up where your enemy was hiding.
The graphics are very simple. You play in a big blue box looking down at your green guys and your opponents red ones. There are usually a few rooms and blocks scattered about. All of the character animations are simple, but they get the point across. The sounds of the interface feel very digital. It doesn’t take away from the feeling or enhance it the sounds just are. The gun shots and grenades and rockets all sound pretty normal.
Is the game worth $25? No, but you can go in on it with a friend and both own it legitimately. Is it worth $12.50? Yes.