Frozen Synapse is an independent tactical strategy game that was developed by Mode 7 Games. The game is currently released for PC and Mac. Frozen Synapse was released on May 26, 2011 as a direct download from Mode 7 Games as well as through Steam, GamersGate, Impulse, GetGames, Matrix and Desura. An iPad version of the game was released in May 2013.
Matches take place between two human players, or between one human and one AI opponent. Each player controls a team of virtual soldiers, who are individually armed with one of five weapons: Machine Gun, Shotgun, Sniper Rifle, Rocket Launcher, or Grenade Launcher.
Each round begins in the Planning Phase. During this phase, players queue up a set of actions for each team member still alive. Each round is 5 seconds of action after which new orders can be given. Players can set actions such as creating waypoints for units to travel along, setting an aim direction, indicating that the character should ignore certain enemy units, ducking behind cover, or force-firing some weapons. Players must plan carefully, as enemy units are being programmed in parallel. The player can preview their orders and even give orders to enemy units to simulate what they think may happen.
After all orders are set, players must hit the "Prime" button. After both teams have been "primed", the game enters Outcome mode, where the five second turn is carried out, and players watch to see how it plays out.
Units are not given life bars; if an attacking unit has enough time to get off a killing shot it will. Combat is resolved based on four principles (listed in rough order of importance):
- Cover - units behind half-height walls are given an advantage; units ducking behind half-height walls cannot be shot by enemies who cannot see them.
- Changing Stance - units in the process of changing from standing to ducking or vice-versa are less likely to win a fire fight.
- Stillness - a moving unit is less likely to win against a stationary one.
- Aiming - units facing the correct direction or actively aiming at hostiles are given an advantage.
The game continues until the five round limit has been reached, or one team completes the given objective.
Each multiplayer game mode is available in "Light" and "Dark" variants. In "Light" modes, all soldier positions are known to all players at all times. In "Dark" modes, line of sight between an enemy unit and one of the player's units is required to verify enemy positions, adding an effect similar to the fog of war into the game. (Players are shown "ghosts" where enemies were previously known to be, which can be manipulated in the same way as a team member to simulate what the enemy might be doing.)
The multiplayer game modes include:
- Extermination: A simple deathmatch mode, one team wins when all members of the opposing team are killed.
- Disputed: plays similarly to Extermination, but in the fifth round of play, boxes will appear on the play-field. The goal is to collect as many boxes as you can and then escape the map to the outside blue area. Should all team members be killed or escape, the other team is awarded all remaining boxes. The first team to score three boxes wins.
- Secure: the game begins with both teams "bidding" as to what area of the map they believe they can successfully defend. The larger bid wins and goes on defense. To win, the attackers must enter and stay in the zone for three seconds, or the defenders must eliminate all of the attackers.
- Hostage Rescue: One side plays as the Rescuers, while the other side becomes the Captors. The Rescuers must liberate the hostages from the middle of the map (where they are invulnerable) and escort them to the yellow escape area. Hostages can be given orders beginning in round 2, but their entire escape plan must be given in one go and cannot be edited once submitted. The Rescuers win if the hostages manage to escape; the Captors win if they kill all of the Hostages.
Single player modes in the current beta include a "Random Match" against the AI (currently only Light Extermination) and "Puzzle Mode", where players must capture boxes for five turns to score points. More single player content is planned for the full game.
Frozen Synapse contains both a level editor to allow for finely tuned map creation, as well as a random map generator.
Because Frozen Synapse features asynchronous multiplayer, players can play multiple games at the same time. The game can provide notification via email when turns are ready to play. Players logged into the system can use the red/yellow/green traffic light signal in the lower left to indicate their desire to play a game, with Red being "Not looking for a game", Yellow meaning "Willing to play a game", and Green meaning "Actively looking for a game".
Any completed game is available for review as an online replay, which can be reviewed, rated, and commented on by other players. Any replay can also be exported to YouTube.
The game also includes community profiles, daily and global leaderboards, and IRC-based chat.
Pre-Order / Editions
On April 19th, 2010, Frozen Synapse became available for pre-order in three separate editions. Preordering any edition grants the buyer two licenses, one intended for a friend, as well beta access for both players until the game is released. The second license can be generated and activated from within the beta.
- The standard edition ( £16.99 / $25.99 ) includes the two licenses and instant beta access.
- The bonus edition ( £22.99 / $34.99) includes everything from the standard edition as well as a copy of nervous_testpilot's debut album Module, download access for every piece of music written for Frozen Synapse as it is created, early access to betas for any expansion content, the purchaser's name in the credits, and the ability to send in a picture to have it included in the single player campaign, providing "instant dubious video game stardom".
- The full edition ( also £22.99 / $34.99) includes everything from the bonus edition, as well as a single copy of Mode 7's swordfighting game, Determinance.
On February 7th, 2012 Mode 7 Games tweeted that an iPad version of the game would be available "soon".
Frozen Synapse: Red
As of May 30th, 2012, the first major expansion pack titled "Red" was released on Steam for PC and Mac platforms. The additional content includes a slew of new content for both single-player and multiplayer modes. Along with new maps, missions and units is the all-new co-op, local multiplayer and gameplay modifying modes.
New features introduced in Frozen Synapse: Red include:
- Hotseat Mode, a local multiplayer mode in which two players can play against each other on one machine.
- 15 new single-player missions
- 10 new single-player challenges
- New Riot Shield unit that is used to tactically defend teammates by blocking incoming gunfire.
- New non-randomized maps used for more serious competitive play in which the outcome of games are determined more by skill rather than the randomly generated combat situations.
- Upload multiplayer mode
- Option for Timed Turns, encouraging faster and more intense gameplay.
- Co-op is now available for the single-player missions, in which players can bring a friend to tackle the campaign together.
- Gameplay modifiers available for skirmishes, including the ability to move whilst shooting.
- Red mode, in which the terrain color is changed from blue to red.
- New music composed by nervous_testpilot exclusively for Frozen Synapse: Red.
UK electronic artist "nervous_testpilot" composed the
for Frozen Synapse.
|Track No.||Song Title||Running Time|
|01||Welcome to Markov Geist||01.15|
|04||A Functioning God||05.39|
- OS: Windows XP, Vista, 7
- RAM: 512 MB
- Processor/Graphics Card: should run on low-end modern hardware (e.g. netbooks)
- Hard Drive: 220 MB
- OS: OSX Leopard or later
- RAM: 512 MB
- Processor/Graphics Card: 1GHZ PowerPC (or Intel)
- Hard Drive: 220 MB