The generator sits at the heart of Frostpunk’s small, frigid maps and gives them their novel layouts and character. Everything is laid-out in concentric rings around that generator: Buildings inside the generator’s radius of effect are kept considerably warmer than the outdoor temperature, but those beyond it are at the mercy of the weather and their own insulation.
You can see the effects most drastically in the map’s thermal overlay, where the generator and its surroundings burn merrily in reds and yellows, while buildings on the edge of the settlement appear in colder aquamarines and deep blues. But the effects are almost as dramatic in the normal view thanks to 11 bit Studios’ gorgeous and detailed artwork: snow melts to slush and mud in the streets around the generator, and homes and buildings glow with warm light from their windows, while in colder areas you’ll watch work crews struggle through dense snow drifts, and buildings become encrusted in frost. It’s a game that captures the subtle differences between a harmless, heavy snow and a terrifying, lethal blizzard, and makes its struggle for warmth and survival feel almost palpable as you play it.
The goal in Frostpunk is to survive each of its scenarios for a fixed number of in-game days (the main campaign scenario ends after 60), and as the days go on the weather keeps getting colder. At the start, most of the map is only “chilly” and the generator keeps buildings nearest it “comfortable”. But as the temperature plunges deeper below freezing, you’ll need to run the generator hotter to keep the temperatures livable for your citizens, which means you need three other things: New technology upgrades, raw materials, and a healthy workforce. And here is where the Frostpunk begins to get brutal.