Frozen Synapse is a multiplayer turn-based tactical combat game set in a destructible neon world. It's not your typical strategy game. There are no bases or build orders, it's just your tiny squad, a hidden enemy, and some rocket launchers. It's a tense and brutal take on turn based strategy, and it's coming to Steam early next year. Here's why you should be excited.
This is how it works. Both players simultaneously give five seconds worth of orders to their small squad of fighters. Each player has complete control of their squad, and can map out their movements using waypoints, tailoring everything from the stance of each soldier to the direction of their aim. Importantly, players can simulate how their orders will play out before submitting them, removing the frustration that would arise from a slightly misplaced squaddie, and also allowing players to simulate what their opponent might do.
Once both players have submitted their orders, the game calculates the results, and the five seconds of action will unfold. After that, it's time for both players to adapt their plans and give another set of orders. This continues until one team is horribly dead. Each skirmish becomes a cerebral battle of wits in which both players try to predict and outmanoeuvre each other. Victory comes from succesfully reading your opponent, and managing the different weapons in your arsenal properly. A single soldier with a shotgun can clean out a room if used well, and the destructible scenery means a well placed rocket blast can provide a good entry point for your close quarters fighters.
The game kicked off a promising beta earlier this year, demonstrating many of the game's different multiplayer modes. Some ask you to capture points, others are straightforward fights to the death. There's one that asks both players to gamble on the territory they think they can secure, the player who makes the most ambitious gamble then has to defend their claim. Every kill and casualty affects your overall score, which is fed into a global leaderboard, so you can see exactly how good you are. Matches can also be uploaded straight to Youtube at the press of a button, so you can show off your most masterful manoeuvres.
Mode 7 are working on an extensive single player campaign for the game's final release, which will consist of a series of skirmish challenges that will contain "a variety of missions, from escorting VIP's to defending against all-out rocket launcher attacks." The small selection of single player challenges available in the beta turned the competitive game into a violent puzzler, and will hopefully prove to be good training for the online battles.
The game's available to preorder now from the Frozen Synapse site . When you buy it, you get an extra copy for a friend as well as access to the ongoing beta. Everyone who has bought the game will receive a key for the game once it appears on Steam early next year. Check out the trailer below for a good overview of how the game works, and a taste of the game's minimalist style.