Helpless on a god-forsaken mountain top,  a group of mountain climbers need to fight the blizzard for survival. The survivors are directionless, having nothing to guide them to their next goal, comms are down, and there is no power. This is the premise to Project Winter, indie game developed by Other Ocean Interactive.

On top of that, the environment is harsh and food is scarce. There are bears, wolves and other wild animals wandering the sub-zero wilderness looking for nourishment. And if that didn’t make your survival nightmare, know that there are people among you who are planning everyone else’s murder.

The Survival

As I already mentioned, the main goal of Project Winter is to survive You spawn in the game’s safe house, which serves as the HQ throughout the game. Everything needed to complete objectives would use the facilities in the safe house.

There is a crafting station, a stove and a fireplace for heat. The addition of a chest for loot storage is a nice touch, which is of great help while crafting items. Yet, the most important piece of equipment in Project Winter is the radio. This will call in ‘da choppa’, once the power is up and comms gets fixed, allowing the group to escape.

Yet, the traitors among you have only one goal, that is to make the rescue a failure. And this fact makes communicating with your fellow survivors all the more essential. Without which the traitors’ victory would be almost certain.

Craft Your Tools and Keep An Eye Out!

As soon as you spawn, you and your friends will need to collect resources. Rocks, and wood can be used to  craft axes, sickle or a pickaxe. As you collect more resources, you’ll also be able to create more items and complete a series of minor objectives.

Generally speaking, though, the ones I mentioned before are the tools you should focus on. As they have higher damage compared to your fists, crafting any of these items during the start of the game will increase the resource collection rate. Plus, if you are one of the secret murderers, you can use them to kill unsuspecting survivors.

I do, however, have a problem with the basic tools at our disposal in Project Winter. The damage dealt by all three is exactly the same. Not a major issue, but a bit of variety would be nice. This could be achieved by having different resource requirements for each item.

The same goes for the rifles, which you’ll unlock later in the game. While they’re great to fight off traitors, I did not feel much difference between a shotgun and a semi-automatic rifle.

Speaking about traitors, these players will have a greater advantage when it comes to finding loot. As there are crates lying all over the map which are accessible only by traitors, they will have easy access to all kind of stuff.
Project Winter survival ScreenshotThe crates contain very useful items, like gun parts, electronics, mechanical parts and sometimes have guns in them. Besides the crates, there are traitor air drops, which will provide them with premium loot. Spread across the map are also underground pathways; perfect for a quick escape after back-stabbing a survivor.

The Importance of Tactics and Communication

The survivors, on the other hand, are more in number and can collect resources much faster. They can also divide specific tasks to complete objectives in groups for higher efficiency. And, if they catch the traitors during the initial phase of the game, can easily outnumber and kill their foes.

Your surroundings will also impact each game. Throughout the match, there will be frequent blizzards. During these, visibility will be limited and you might get lost. You also have to keep an eye on your body heat level and hunger level, as both drop rapidly in foul weather.

But fear not, as Project Winter has its own way of easing the navigation. There are lookout spots located across the map, which provide a third-person view of the area in which you are standing. So, it would be of great help if you remember the spots, as a third-person view can help you find your way if lost during a blizzard or lost in general.

The core gameplay of Project Winter also revolves around communication. It’s one of the few games in survival genre, where communication is highly essential. If the survivors want to survive and traitors want to sabotage, they will need to communicate effectively. Its the only thing both the parties have in common.

The game has proximity voice as well as text chat. So, if you decide to wander off alone and a traitor tries to kill you, nobody will hear your cry for help. In this case, what you need to do is find walkie-talkies. There are two colors, and both have different voice channels and can be used across the map.

You can either use the walkies to communicate separately with the players you are sure are on your team, or you can use them to secretly listen to the other party and stay one step ahead.

Take It or Leave It?

“Trust, is one of the most important things in a person’s life, without it, life will be misleading”. As even your most trusted gaming buddy might be planning your demise, choosing who your friends are becomes extremely important. Past that, however, how does Project Winter perform?

In my opinion, it is one of the finest survival games out on the market. It has all the elements of a classic survival game, plus the survivor-traitor deception which adds a twist to the experience. In addition to this, the top-down view of the game adds a certain level of handicap which makes the gameplay captivating.

However, this does not mean it is a perfect game. We’ve already seen the lack of variety that taints the items available in Project Winter, but that isn’t everything. There is also graphics optimization issue, as the game struggles to maintain its framerate even on a GTX 1060 at 1080p.

Considering the fact that the graphics have a pretty minimalist low-poly design, these frame drops should not be present. We must keep in mind that this project is still in early access though, and it will eventually be optimized as it gets closer to the full release.

Finally, I want to spend a few words on the way matches are found. Instead of always forcing players through a server browser, an option for casual matchmaking would be great. This would make finding games easier for everybody.

Still, these types of issues only arise if you get nit-picky and are pretty minor. If we were to ignore them, we would discover how the gameplay is solid and, if you are matched up with players with a strategic mindset, playing Project Winter it will be a hell of an experience

Now, the choice is up to you. If you want to know more about this indie game or purchase a copy, you can visit its official Steam Page here!