CryoFall is a multiplayer survival game that drops players in an irradiated wasteland to gather supplies, fight enemies, craft equipment, and build bases in conventional survival game fashion. However, CryoFall has a lot of unique aspects to it as well. Developed by AtomicTorch Studio and published by Daedalic Entertainment, CryoFall has been in early access since April 2019. Over the years, this game has become an impressively large experience that sees players advancing through technological eras as they discover electricity, gunpowder, petroleum, and, eventually, Mechs and even cyberware implants.
When a player first starts CryoFall, they have few options. A tutorial leads them through getting their first tools and supplies, but the world is filled with dangerous monsters that make short work of any players who aren’t careful. After a few harrowing days, players can build a modest base and begin establishing themselves properly with various crafting stations, a fire to cook food, a bedroll to respawn on, and the early beginnings of a farm.
From there, players work to explore the world further, upgrade their base, level up skills, and research new technologies that unlock additional upgrades and new systems for players to learn. It is the skill and research system that really makes CryoFall stand out. There are 20 skills in total, each associated with gathering a certain resource or crafting a category of supplies. They can be leveled up simply by performing the action enough and increase the speed at which players perform their associated action. While not a complicated system, they can be instrumental when playing in groups, as they help players choose one aspect of the experience to become proficient in. Having one friend be the base farmer, another the miner, and another the woodsman is a fun dynamic that also benefits the players and encourages cooperation.
Researching new technologies and advancing through the ages is also a boon to the experience. As players move through time and slowly advance their base, it keeps the experience fresh. Not only do the new technologies help alleviate some of the more mundane activities of the survival genre, but they also give players new systems to discover and learn, leading to some cool mechanics and capabilities. It feels gratifying to figure out the electricity system and get one’s entire base running with electric lights or to refine one’s first barrel of petroleum.
These later systems in the game each have their own solid set of mechanics and complexities and are often iterated on throughout the technology trees so that players frequently return to them to optimize their setups further. Advancing from living in a wooden house with nothing more than stone tools and a torch to running a sprawling base complete with solar panels, refineries, and refrigeration units feels great. Cryofall is impressively well optimized to support all of the levels of advancement without any of them feeling undercooked.
CryoFall also manages to keep players from ever feeling too secure by having high-level areas for them to explore that are irradiated and filled with giant scorpions, mutants, and various other horrors that can make short work of even an advanced survivor clad in a Mech suit. There are also frequent world events that offer players the opportunity to challenge various difficult bosses.
CryoFall can only be played online through official servers, leading to worldwide events often bringing the server together to conquer the giant monsters. CryoFall’s servers also have a unique feeling of community to them thanks to the game’s interesting economy system. After researching the right technologies, players can produce currency that allows them to buy items from other players who have set up automatic vending systems. The economy and world events push players to interact with one another in positive ways and are also a good way for players to capitalize on their specializations by selling hard-to-get tools and objects for other residents of the server to purchase.
The economic system also encourages players to travel more around the map to reach specific vending machines for supplies. The map is split up into different biomes that each have their own resources and critters, but they are a bit of a lost opportunity since they don’t carry any specific challenges with them such as temperature or biome-specific hazards. The biomes overall have a lack of personality visually, with most of them merely being color changes from one another.
CryoFall’s other visual aspects are also a bit lackluster. While its art style is predominantly sufficient, its isometric perspective causes many of the animations to look awkward and imprecise when trying to hit items like ore veins or trees. The perspective also makes melee combat, which is already a bit dry due to simplicity, a bit finicky with attacks sometimes landing just a bit too far above or below an enemy.
Luckily, these few issues detract very little from CryoFall. The vast majority of the game is an extremely engaging and rewarding survival game that is made only more fun when you have friends to jump into a server with. Advancing through the research trees and advancing from merely surviving in the wasteland to comfortably living in it is a great experience, and is one that CryoFall offers players in a unique way.
CryoFall is available now on PC.
- Rating - 7/107/10
The vast majority of the game is an extremely engaging and rewarding survival game that is made only more fun when you have friends to jump into a server with. Advancing through the research trees and advancing from merely surviving in the wasteland to comfortably living in it is a great experience, and is one that CryoFall offers players in a unique way.
Arron is a writer and video editor for But Why Tho? that is passionate about all things gaming, whether it be on a screen or table. When he isn’t writing for the site he’s either playing Dungeons & Dragons, watching arthouse movies, or trying to find someone to convince that the shooter Brink was ahead of its time.
March 20, 2023