I first covered Frostpunk in May of 2018 and was instantly hooked on the frozen society survival title. Developed by 11 Bit Studios, Frostpunk put you in charge of managing a post-Ice Age settlement that focused on managing citizen needs against the harrowing effects of a constant super winter. Though brutally difficult, gorgeous if bland on the color palette side, Frostpunk was a strong contender for my Game of the Year choice.
With the console release in October 2019, Nick gave the challenging city-builder a go and likened the thematic atmosphere of Frostpunk to Naughty Dog’s beloved Last of Us; regardless of the genre of game, that is extremely high praise. Now 11 Bit Studios has released The Last Autumn, a self-proclaimed “turning point in the Frostpunk universe” that stands as the prequel to the core game. Gone are the frozen wastes of Frostpunk in favor of the lush and gorgeous colors of mid/late autumn. In the retelling of the events at Site 113, 11 Bit Studios has truly cemented themselves as unique developers capable of attaching a gripping story with challenging gameplay in the societal survival city-building franchise juggernaut that Frostpunk has come to be.
One of my, albeit petty, problems with the Frostpunk core game was the stale color palette; now I know (as many here do) that I am fairly horrifically colorblind, but the palette has always been high in contrast and stale throughout the entire base game. The Last Autumn changes that, ushering the ambience of autumn in a way that I never knew possible. While still teeming with life, the slow decay that is associated with autumn is damn-near palpable in The Last Autumn. Tie to it the expansion of the fantastic lore in Frostpunk and it is a recipe for excellence. Better yet, 11 Bit Studios continues to not pull its punches as The Last Autumn is difficult, difficult enough that I (shamefully) cut it back to Easy in an attempt to move through the scenario.
Gone is the micromanaging of your heat, however the time management needs in The Last Autumn are far more crucial as you work to develop your settlement around the special reactor that you’re trying to build before the super winter appears. Managing time versus the needs of your settlement versus the need to progress through the varying research stages help keep things tense (and at times humorous) while removing some of the more challenging aspects of the core game. Die hard Frostpunk fans might not feel as challenged as new players, and while I don’t consider myself “die hard” it’s still a fantastic addition to the overall Frostpunk experience.
One of the primary concerns I have with The Last Autumn though is that it seems to struggle a bit with regard to performance in the later stages of your city’s development. Running Frostpunk on an Intel Core i7-7700k with an nVidia GeForce GTX 970 and 16GB of RAM say some significant chug near the tail end of the scenario when all settings were maxed-out at 1080p. It is something to note, though, that running Frostpunk – The Last Autumn on either a Ryzen 7 2700x with a nVidia RTX 2080 8GB with 32GB of RAM or a Ryzen 7 3700x, 16GB of RAM, and a nVidia RTX 2080 Super (both at 1440p) saw no slowdown, so if you want to see Frostpunk – The Last Autumn in all of its glory then you’ll need to be running some hefty hardware.