In 30 days, help is coming… but surviving the days will be no easy task! Developed by UK independent studio Mojo Bones and published by Bandai Namco Entertainments, Impact Winter is a blend of survival and adventure game where you play as Jacob, the leader of a group of survivors struggling to stay alive in a frozen world after an asteroid hit the planet. You’ll need to feed your group, protect and keep them warm, explore the world after resources, water and food while avoiding natural hazards, scavenger and inner conflicts. Now prepare your best winter coat and follow us into this cold review: There’s a huge blizzard ahead!
- Your group of survivors is composed by five individuals: Jacob, the leader and character under your control, Blane, a retired police officer with great survival skills, Meggie, an expert mechanic and engineer, Wendy, the nurse and cook of the group, Christophe, the computers specialist, and Ako-light, your robot sidekick programmed by Christophe. Using each class is important and the road towards success, you’ll be able to create tools and structures into your shelter or to be used outside, helping you to survive. Each NPC has a backstory that you can delve into by doing quests to discover more about the character’s past and have access to new tools and construction options.
- Impact Winter gameplay is mostly focused on exploration. The church, the shelter where your group is living at, has a limited amount of food, water and materials to keep the campfire lit. As time passes, your characters start to feel hungry, thirsty, tired or unhappy and you must manage to keep them comfy and in a good mood to keep the group united to survive these 30 days until help arrives. But soon your resources will end and you’ll need to venture outside searching for food, water and something to maintain the fire burning to keep your team in good conditions. Out of the shelter, the temperature is very low and there are predators like wolves and coyotes lurking and waiting to turn you into their next meal. You will also find other survivors that could use some help from you. Any task accomplished (usually by giving them some food, water or medicine) grants you RP points, the experience from the game, used to decrease the time remaining until rescue arrives and to unlock roles for your characters (more about that later).
- Artistically speaking, Impact Winter is quite impressive! The atmosphere created by Mojo Bones really sucks you in. It is somehow sad to see so many buildings covered in snow and so many bodies of people who froze to death. The music, composed by melancholic tones, helps building this cold ambience to the point I could almost feel all that cold Jacob and the crew where experiencing (especially when lost, during the night, facing a whiteout).
- When your localization tools (mainly provided by Ako-light) aren’t available, you really feel like you’re lost and desperate, needing to resort to an old map from when the sun still shined over the surface. When Ako-light’s tools are available, you have at your disposal a sonar to detect buried resources and radar that pinpoint most of the objectives but gives little information about how to get there. So once again the exploration plays an important role in your gameplay. To help you to navigate in the snow, you can install beacons that indicate the direction for your shelter or prepare small camps where you can rest, prepare some food and restore some energy. After some upgrades become available, you can also send instructions to your NPCs.
- Talking about instructions for NPCs, you can define roles for each one so they can perform some tasks to help you, like looking for food, fuel or resources. They also have their own needs that you may take care about: they need to be fed, they get tired, they argue with each other (to the point of abandoning the group). They get sick and injured. Sometimes they will present you dilemmas where you need to decide what to do. Some may have impact over their moral, others only over their energy and hunger or thirsty. It’s an interesting aspect of the gameplay that plays a huge role over your decisions (you want to save all the group members, don’t you?).
- Since I couldn’t finish all the stories of my NPC friends (you’ll see how these 30 days aren’t as long as they look), I’ll need to do a second run (or maybe a third after) to accomplish the story of a different character, adding some good replay value to the game. To help things get more interesting, there’s an Expert mode where there’s no respawn available if Jacob dies. So, if you’re looking for an additional challenge for the game, here’s your option.
- Combat (yes, there’s combat in the game) feels a little clumsy. It’s great to have to forge your own ammo (or arrows) to be able to hunt or to defend yourself, but I was never able to kill any animal using my guns or bows. I don’t know, maybe I was really bad at aiming at them. Or maybe there was something wrong with the combat.
- I ran into some bugs while exploring some caves that bothered a little. When facing some wildlife, I could use a gun to scare them (or so I imagined) and make them run away. Sometimes, it worked. In others, the predators weren’t afraid and simply stood still, apparently not caring about me unloading a clip from my gun at them. A small bug that I believe will be treated in a future patch.
Impact Winter [Score: 88%] Mojo Bones developed a game that’s immersive, full of content and very addicting. A game that you start to play and don’t want to stop. As I only do my reviews at night, this feeling of ‘ok, just one more day/one more mission’ got me carried away for longer hours in my time with the game. And I’m not done with it yet. I need to go back. I need to see other stories. I need to save my group from the cold future. I need to help them to survive!
With a history of gaming that goes from his old man’s Atari 2600 to his Xbox One, Rafael or RAF687, our Brazilian editor, has a love for games as old as he can remember. He has already spent countless hours in many consoles (Mega Drive/Genesis, Sega Saturn, PS1, PS2 and Xbox 360) and is always ready for more (as long as his wife is asleep). Raf has been writing for LifeisXbox since 2017, with a passion for games of almost all genres – though we know he has a special place in his heart for RPGs, racing games and anything that includes pixel art. Writing about games has always been a childhood dream to Raf, dream that he has fulfilled reviewing games for you here. You can drop him a message at Twitter, Facebook or Xbox Live at any time.