According to Wikipedia – yeah it’s a thing, apparently! – if a meteor hits the Earth and it hits a land mass or water and kicks up dust, ash and particles into the atmosphere, which in turn stops the sun’s radiation from warming the planet, this will cause a decrease in global temperatures. So that is the science behind it – not exactly Mythbusters or Brainiac, but interesting nonetheless!
So, a meteor has hit the Earth and created said Impact Winter. Everything is now deep snow covering houses up to their rooves and burying numerous other buildings and locations. You play as a survivor, alongside four other individuals who have holed up in a buried church. Each individual has their own strengths as to what they can do (albeit a bit stereotypical) – there is an older woman who can cook meals, a younger geeky looking guy who can do electronics, a female mechanic/engineer and an older male survival expert with beard!
Here is where you come in – you need to get out into the world and explore your surroundings to find food, water and other items to survive for 30 days. Why 30 days? Well, that’s down to your little hovering robot, Ako Light, picking up a signal which tells you when you will be rescued. Now you need to realise that you are not alone – there are no zombies or other nasties as such, but there are other survivors out there, one of which is a wandering merchant allowing side missions like collecting bottle caps and so on for goods and experience. Other than that, you won’t actually meet any other groups of survivors, occasionally when you venture into an abandoned building you get a video showing a shadowy type figure going into the church to steal your goods, but that is it. I have only come across one other individual digging near a power station, but couldn’t actually find what he was looking for (there’s a song in there somewhere!).
Impact Winter – Gameplay / No Commentary – Generic Gaming
To get anywhere, you have to look through your four companions’ crafting abilities and upgrade the church, robot, security, survival and culinary abilities. Each companion does have their own speciality, as I have previously mentioned. With this, you get individual back stories and missions – the cook, as an example, needs her cook books from her house. Find these, and you get a lot more recipes for her to make different types of food. Upgrading means you have to get out there searching abandoned buildings and caves, and literally take everything that hasn’t been nailed down back to the church. Thankfully, anything that does have a use in an upgrade has a marker on it to help you out when exploring the many abandoned buildings.
Crafting is a BIG part of the game and adds RPG elements. You need to find items to create explosives to clear paths in some areas, and find specific food items for more intricate meals that will fill up your status bars further etc. Every time an item is crafted, you get experience. Every time you find a new area, you will also get experience. The experience gained then takes time off your rescue countdown. On top of the crafting, you do have to micro-manage the other four survivors, top up the fire in the church, put rations in their respective boxes, and so on before heading out. You can also assign traits which gives boosts (alongside a negative, so everything has a pro and a con) to your companions.
Every time you level-up, you unlock new abilities. If you don’t keep things balanced, there will be in-fighting. They can even die in different ways which can make the game harder, especially at later stages if you need something specific crafting. Why you have to top the fire up, I don’t know. Surely one of your people could chuck some of the wood or other items you find on there, and dish out the rations – it’s not like one of them would take all the food for themselves and run off!
Impact Winter – PC/PS4/XB1 – Help Is Coming – BANDAI NAMCO Entertainment Europe
Visually, the game is really nice. Unity, when put in decent hands, creates some astounding environments – the ambient lighting when near the fire in the Church looks great, and same goes for flickering lights in buildings, external vistas albeit a bit sparse. It can be eerie, especially, when it starts getting dark or when it is snowing. The sensation is even better when you get a blizzard.
You really do feel alone when out and about, traversing the environment. Each abandoned building gives you a sense of wonder and dread in equal doses. There has been a lot or work put into the visuals on this game and it really portrays the world and your fight for survival well.
There is no voice acting at all in the game – it is all text based talk. There is some music, which is quite solemn and ambient to the situation and sounds great.
I normally don’t go for survival-type games, but with this having a few RPG elements in it, I have enjoyed my time with Impact Winter. Granted, it isn’t as high profile as games like Don’t Starve and the numerous other survival games out there, but it is a bit more user-friendly with no permanent death, and it does tell a story. The only thing that can be a little frustrating at times is movement – it can be a bit slow. You can craft a snowmobile-type vehicle later on after finding the relevant bits, but it does rather guzzle fuel. At the same time, you wouldn’t be able to run or move fast through snow that is up to your knees!
There are currently issues with the controls which needs mentioning. I couldn’t talk to anyone when I first started playing as the game wasn’t recognising my keyboard inputs. Even pressing the Escape key to get back out of the options menu wasn’t working. This is an issue the developers are working on presently as high priority, reading the Steam forums They are a small developer and team, so it may take them a few extra days to sort things, but they are listening. I did play with my Gamepad and the game works great and as intended; and I do enjoy using one of those so I can just sit back with my feet up and take everything in, instead of hunched over a keyboard!
Another thing worth mentioning here is that the game is priced at £16, which is a fair bit cheaper than top titles and you will get hours of enjoyment from it.
Check out the awesome press kit we received, below, and click on all the photos (including the main one, top-right) for the full-size versions.
Impact Winter is out now on PC/Steam.
Impact Winter – the awesome Survival Kit – press kit from Bandai Namco Entertainment Europe
- Publisher: Bandai Namco Entertainment Europe
- Developer: Mojo Bones
- Players: single player-only
Retro at heart and lover of all things ’80s, especially the computers, the music and the awesome movies and TV shows! Crazy huge retro gaming collection spanning the ’80s and ’90s with hundreds of tapes, discs and carts for various machines on top of a 600+ strong Steam library that is ever-growing. No I am not a serial hoarder, just a dedicated retro gamer!