Cold. Alone. Imposing. That’s the feeling that Impact Winter aims to give players out in the open expanse of an asteroid destroyed city. Starting the game, you wake up in a barricaded church, around the fire with some other survivors. Armed with your robot friend and a large backpack, your aim is to bring back supplies and food in order to survive the 30 days until rescue arrives through your beacon.
With you in the church are four other survivors, whom are specialists in different areas. Quests need to be completed in order to further the stories of the other characters, and to breathe some life into the your bleak situation. However, when you are first introduced to your wee robot pal, your friendly tech-oriented survivor Christophe informs you that as you level your helper up, the time until rescue arrives becomes shorter. So of course, as a player you are incentivised from the very beginning to focus on leveling up by completing quests and advancing the ‘stories’ of each member of your crew.
Of course, being a survival game, the game focuses around exploration, foraging for food, and crafting objects in order to strengthen your chances of survival till arrival. Through completing quests for your crew (Maggie, Wendy, Blane and Christophe), you can improve their skills, and in turn they become more helpful and useful to you. The quests normally centre around things they need in order to craft more stuff for you to use, which is fairly straightforward in the survival genre, so it should come as no shock as that is what the game heavily focuses on.
The main bulk of the game is the exploration. You will trek for miles and miles around the almost deserted snowy wasteland to scavenge abandoned homes and buildings of a civilization that once was. For the most part, the atmosphere of the game is very effectively executed as the feeling of loneliness really hits you when you’re out there on your own. Your only chances of contact are either nomads or the local wildlife. Nomads are random encounters for whom you can complete quests in order to obtain a large amount of RP for your robot. Wildlife on the other hand… you’ll have to risk it to find out.
Unfortunately, playing this game on day one in particular was a slog. Loading times were absolutely abysmal, taking up to or at least a minute every time you wanted to explore, really taking you out of the experience. There were reports of certain quest lines, Maggie’s in particular, being impossible to complete due to bugs. This is the sort of thing you would expect if the game had first released in early access and then finalised it after some feedback. Another bug involved items in your inventory disappearing from your game entirely. This is something that should have been weeded out after some thorough QA.
Mouse and keyboard support was also non-existent on day one, leaving you rather shafted unless you had a controller. Although there is one shining positive, in contrast, controller support was fantastic. I had totally responsive controls and didn’t even have to set it up, which is exactly what I’m hoping for. Impressive from an indie title.
I chose to be reasonable and allowed Impact Winter a patch or two. The patches helped the game significantly, which caused loading times to be shortened, bugs got fixed, etc. I’m glad that Mojo Bones care for their game and have patched relentlessly to make the game as they intend. Just yesterday they rolled out a 250MB~ patch in order to optimise and further improve the game.
The game is, at its heart it is a good, fun survival game. Some absolutely glaring bugs needed to be fixed for me to enjoy the game at its fullest. I will admit, I myself am not a fan of survival games, as the market has become saturated with them. Impact Winter’s beautiful visuals and very chilling ambiance are enrapturing, which does the game wonders. Your home base has a very warm, cozy feeling to it. If you are a fan of survival games, this one should definitely not disappoint, so go ahead, support an indie.
Overall, I’d recommend this game if survival is what you’re looking for. At the core, it has a nice heart and delivers on what is promised. I would say, however, maybe give it a wee while until they’ve fixed it up nice and pretty.