This will be my first piece of coverage for a piece of DLC, without also covering the base game. So this one will feel a little different. I will start with a quick overview of the base game for those unfamiliar with it. Frostpunk is a post-apocalyptic city building Simulator with a few differences from others in the genre. I find that it has more of a story or narrative than most others that I have played. Otherwise, it’s city layout is in concentric circles as opposed to square city blocks of other games. You can sign laws, choosing the order to do so and which side to take on mutually exclusive ones, like what to do with children. Do you put them to work at safe jobs like in the cook house or build a children’s home for them to drain resources without contributing to society? Weather conditions are extra important in the game as well, with increasingly cold conditions shutting down some activities like fishing and increasing the chances of sickness and even death for the citizens. Although roads only need to connect buildings to each other, workers take relatively direct routes, which can be slower if you don’t build roads there. Resources are automatically stockpiled, so you don’t need to worry about supply lines like other games.
Now that a quick explanation of the base game is out of the way, it’s onto the DLC. The first is called The Last Autumn. It is a prequel to the overall story of the game, with slightly different mechanics. You have access to shipping ports, constantly unloading supplies. This means that you don’t need to worry about supplies as much. Your main goal is to build the generator before it gets too cold. A few days before that point, the water freezes, cutting off your supplies. It becomes a tense few days trying to complete the project and keep everyone alive and happy. Overall, I quite enjoyed this aspect of the overall story, and the fact that it is a little easier overall. Most of the important decisions had to do with the construction project, especially with how to react to accidents and setbacks.
The next piece of DLC is called Rifts. This is essentially a harder, more advanced way to play the main story from the base game. The map contains rifts in the land, requiring you to build bridges to cross to the other side. This means that you will spend more time, resources, and manpower to access the same areas available to you in the default mode. It definitely adds difficulty and an extra layer of strategy, deciding where to build bridges and when. You also learn to be more efficient, using less space and saving resources, to counteract the shortfalls. You can also play this mode as an endless variant to see just how long you can survive.
The last part of the season pass is called On the Edge. It acts as somewhat of a sequel to the main story, continuing the overall narrative arc. You are in control of an outpost, away from the generator, next to an old army installation. Your goal is to establish a train depot, open the installation, and send any supplies you find back to the big city. In exchange, they will send food every day, and extra supplies upon request. Without spoiling too much, this arrangement gets worse for you as time progresses, to the point that you may decide to stop trading with them and find your own food supply instead. At first, you can’t sign any of your own laws and must wait for the big city to enact them. You can influence these decisions somewhat, but you never get to choose either side of a mutually exclusive law, you are at their mercy when it comes to that. Obviously trading is more important in this mode than others, but so is exploration to find resources, and dealing with the cold temperatures as you don’t have a generator to use. I think I enjoyed this way to play the most, feeling more tense overall and making your decisions mean more, with some having lasting consequences.
Overall I think the Frostpunk DLC delivers more of its core gameplay, with interesting and engaging twists. If you enjoy the base game, I know you will like the season pass content. Of course, you can always buy the expansions individually if you only want one or two, but I think you would be missing out on a great deal to get it all at a discount. If you want to play the base game as well, and don’t already own it, you can purchase the complete edition to get it all nicely bundled together.
I received a code for the game on Xbox from a PR agency with the expectation for some type of coverage. I played the new content for several hours on an Xbox Series X. I am mostly blind, so some things I have trouble with may not affect your experience with the game. Frostpunk and its season pass are available now on several platforms.