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Review: Impact Winter

What would happen if an asteroid hit the Earth and changes the environment into a new ice age? Well, the same as any other post-apocalyptic setting. Lots of people have died, the electricity is out and food is scarce. Everybody has to remain indoors for warmth and those who are out in search of materials and food have to act fast in order to survive the relentless blizzard outside. This is the premise of Impact Winter, a Steam Greenlight project that has just been released.

30 days

Impact Winter lets you take control of Jacob Solomon, the leader of a small team of skilled individuals who have taken shelter in an abandoned church to get out of The Void, which is the in-game name for the cold outside world. One of your companions, a robot called Ako-Light, picks up a distress signal that tells the team that help is on the way. However, you and your companions have to survive for 30 days before the help arrives. It is up to you to keep everyone alive until the timer runs out. You can decrease the timer by leveling up and gaining experience. This is done by exploring The Void and completing events. The more efficient you play, the faster you’ll get rescued.

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You spend 30 days inside a church

Survival game like any other

The gameplay of Impact Winter is like any other survival game: collect and craft items while completing quests. You also have to keep an eye on several meters that are linked to Jacob and his team. These meters tell you how hungry or sleepy someone is, along with several other stats. These stats can be managed with items you find throughout The Void. The more items you find and bring back to the base, the higher the chance of survival Jacob and his friends have.

Team members can also take on roles that give them both a positive and a negative effect. For example: your mechanic can work faster but also have a higher risk of receiving injury. There are many roles to unlock and assign, but most of them don’t change the gameplay the much. In fact, not assigning roles to your team members still results in a successful rescue. If you’re good at exploring and time-management, then Impact Winter will probably be an unchallenging experience for you.

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Each team member can craft specific items

Great atmosphere

The developers have proved with Impact Winter that they know how to build an immersive world. The blizzard outside in The Void looks and feels real. You even leave a trail when walking through snow, although some areas will cut that trail once you pass its borders. When you enter a snowed-in house, the corners of your screen become frozen which can only go away if you find some heat source, like a fire. Impact Winter is filled with little details like this that add to the overall immersive experience. You’ll quickly find yourself exploring The Void just to look at the different environments and to experience the loneliness of walking through the snow.

Some areas don't allow snow trails to be formed
Some areas don’t allow snow trails to be formed

Held back by technical problems

While the gameplay of Impact Winter is not anything unique, the world design is something I would recommend to fans of the survival game genre. However, the technical problems that have occurred throughout my playthrough are what keeps me from doing that. If you were to look at the Steam user reviews of Impact Winter, you’ll see that 90% of them al bring up the same topic: the controls. The game has a huge problem with registering button inputs and camera control. Every time I wanted to speak to someone or execute an action, I had to press the corresponding button multiple times before it went through. Even the hint box in the loading screen can’t respond correctly if you want to scroll through hints. Speaking of the loading screen, the loading times in this game are pretty terrible. Every loading screen takes about 30 seconds, 15 if you’re using SSD. This would be tolerable if you didn’t have to load every time you enter or leave a building. Also, if your loading screen looks like it froze and doesn’t respond to anything, don’t worry, that’s “normal” in this game.
There are also issues with controlling Jacob. Sometimes he will be stuck behind invisible walls or move to the wrong direction, which can be a real hassle when the camera starts to freak out too. In short, playing Impact Winter at this moment is a technical nightmare. Luckily, the developers have already acknowledged the problems and are working on fixes. It’s just a shame that they though the current state of the game was good enough to release.

Verdict

At this moment, Impact Winter suffers too much from technical problems in order to be an enjoyable experience. The gameplay itself is fine but doesn’t bring anything new to the table. If you’re looking for an immersive world, then this might be a worthy title to check out in the future, after some patches.

5/10