Video-Games

CryoFall Review – Stone Age to Cyberpunk

cryofall review featured image The Indie Toaster

During the 2000s, we were first introduced to open world games. Over the years, well-established franchises like Rust and ARK gained a huge player-base. This made it difficult for new titles to gain traction within the  genre. Now, an indie title named CryoFall is making its way up the survival ladder.

It might look like CryoFall is just another indie game taking its shot at the survival genre. However, the staff at AtomicTorch have been at this game for over four years now. But was this enough to build something that could last?

Surviving on a Desolate Planet

Player spawns in CryoFallYour spaceship has crash-landed on an alien planet. Alone on a distant world, with enemies unknown and terrain unexplored, there is no way for the players of knowing what dangers lie beyond the horizon. Environmental harshness aside, however, you are not the first to crash on this planet.

There are several others creatures in CryoFall; some friendly some not. More importantly, a few of them will have high-tech weapons you cannot fathom. You are now caught in the middle of this race for survival. Form alliances, raid enemies, bend your surroundings to your advantage – the only goal is your own survival.

When your character first spawns, its inventory will include nothing but a torch. You’ll have to collect twigs, stone, and other materials to make tools out of it. During this initial phase, you’ll wander a lot to gather the resources and create tools. Then, you go can go on to finding more resources and food.

For that, all you’re asked to do is to keep your mouse button pressed ’till the health bar of the item you are mining/gathering depletes. The game has similar building mechanics as well. If you are building something or expanding your base, you just have to keep the button pressed and wait until the health bar fills.

Admittedly, these mechanics make the whole gameplay somewhat sluggish. There’s no denying that CryoFall can feel a bit repetitive and monotonous; at least until you have enough stuff to take on your enemies.

A Handy Tutorial

CryoFall Objective-Based Tutorial

As you follow the objectives, CryoFall will encourage you to also explore your surroundings. Unfortunately, the trees, stone, and mineral deposits in this indie game don’t have much output quantity – further requiring you to explore the terrain. A bit too much exploration, perhaps.

And this might understandably confuse new players, especially those who have never dealt with a survival game before. But fear not, as the tutorial system in CryoFall is one of the best I have ever experienced. If you are a newcomer to the survival genre, with no prior experience, the tutorial will familiarize you with every aspect of the game.

Through a series of mini-quests, you’ll be shown how to gather and build anything you might need to continue – from fireplaces to useful medicine. As a veteran survival player, I can easily say this is one of the most functional application of an objective based tutorial I’ve seen in my lifetime.

The Ultimate Progression System

CryoFall Tier 4 Tech Tree

Progression also plays an important role in CryoFall. As you complete objectives, you will earn learning points (LP) which will be used to unlock new tech and learn new skills. The skills and all progression trees is where this game really shines.

The developers have patiently categorized, organized and made the progression trees as polished as they can. There are multiple sub-sections to choose from – such as combat, cybernetics, and medicine for example – all of which will allow you to further customize your character and make it really unique.

The whole system is also extremely approachable, with its well-organized menus and user-friendly interface. Advancing in skills and unlocking abilities is one of the more complex parts of a survival game but CryoFall does a fantastic job at simplifying it, so that both the veterans and newbies of this genre can feel at home.

About CryoFall’s Art-Style

Player standing in a Radioactive wasteland in CryoFall

In my opinion, CryoFall has a particularly beautiful art design.  It has neutral colouring, with doodle-ish style sprites and character models. The environment is filled with intricate details and the developers have also included a decent day-night cycle – which definitely adds to the survival experience.

Not everything, however, is perfect in the world of CryoFall. Although the game has  simple – yet pleasing – 2D graphics, my GTX 1060 was not able to push the FPS to anything higher than 40. After testing it on 3 different GPUs and ensuring there was no other bottleneck, I realized my hardware wasn’t the problem.

CryoFall still suffers from big performance issues that will make it look unappealing in the eyes of most gamers. The developers should focus on that first, especially if they want the game to continue being relevant in the long run.

The Final Verdict

At this point, anyone reading this article might feel this is just another indie survival game. And it is, there’s no denying that fact. However, CryoFall has a plot of its own and – aside from the technical problems – promises a refreshing take on the survival genre.

With dedicated developers who are devoting all they can towards this game, I’d say this title could easily find a spot in your library. Throughout your time with it, you will experience the gameplay from the stone age to the cyberpunk era – more than enough to cover the $19,99 (or your regional equivalent) price-tag.

So, by all means, feel free to delve into this unique survival adventure. If you want to learn more about CryoFall or give it a shot, you can do so by visiting its Steam Page here!

1 Comment

  1. Hi,
    CryoFall programmer here.
    I’m really surprised to hear you have the performance issues on GTX 1060. I have a similar GPU myself (GTX 1070) and the game runs 450 FPS in 1080p and 150+ FPS in 4K here (not only that, but we’ve ensured there are as less micro-stuttering as possible (I mean “delayed frames” due to CPU load spikes) to actually make it butter smooth!). Most players are playing on a much lower spec machines (including Intel integrated graphics) and never complained about the game unable to reach 60 FPS. The only major pain point for some players is that the game requires DX11-compatible GPU but according to Steam that’s only 5% of the total Steam audience, and we list this requirement clearly (as well as 64-bit Windows only requirement).
    Please contact me back via my email or add me to friends in Discord @ai_enabled#2198 I’m ready to investigate the performance issues you have!

    Thanks for the review, it’s great to hear you’re enjoying the game so far.
    Regarding some aspects like “you need to hold the left mouse button to perform the action”. Currently, weapon and mining/woodcutting system is the same system—basically, axes and pickaxes are weapons—so we’ve chosen that all LMB actions require clicks (or holding to continue the action), while RMB actions (interactions with world objects) are never require holding (even if they’re continuous). Anyway, it would be easily customizable with mods installable via Steam Workshop in the future (currently it’s possible to make mods and install them manually, there are already some great mods on our forums like CNEI mod — all items and objects encyclopedia right in the game). The game is done in C# and compiling the game source code on the fly, you can find the source code of the game (but not the game engine) right in the game Core folder (Core.cpk archive) or on our Github. It’s not FOSS—we provide it for modders and all the people interested in making videogames, for educational purposes.

    BTW, PvE mode is coming in the second half of May with servers wipe, and PvP servers will have boosted bombs (currently they’re nerfed as we don’t have PvE servers and some peaceful players prefer to play on official PvP servers instead of joining community-hosted PvE servers). Offline raiding protection will be also added with this update to ensure better gameplay for most players on PvP servers. Plus some new content and other improvements.

    Regards!

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