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Previews

September 4, 2012

PAX Prime: Frost Wars: The Rise of Fatty Sparkles Preview

When an evil mega-corporation starts drilling in the arctic, it spawns a war with the locals. Along comes Fatty Sparkles, an opportunistic polar bear with baditude who sells his advanced weaponry to both sides. Such is the premise of Latern’s Frost Wars: The Rise of Fatty Sparkles.

It may be their first game, but the folks at Lantern have some impressive former employees on their collective resume, including Pixar, The Jim Henson Company, Sony, TreyArch, and Dreamworks. The team takes feedback seriously, and have been developing and tweaking the game (currently in alpha) based on player feedback. According to their representatives at PAX, they are just about to expand the player base from 100 to 1,000.

At a glance, Frost Wars has the look and feel of a miniatures board game. It turns out that was how it originally started life. The current build of the game was created from a mix of playtesting of the board game version (when it was made completely out of paper pieces) and the feedback they’ve been receiving from their players.

There is nothing I love more than finding creative games that put their own spin on familiar genres. Most turn based strategy games follow a pretty similar pattern; You move a character, then attack. Each character type has it’s own movement and weapon ranges. Some games let you move all your characters on your turn, some limit the number of actions you can take. Simple enough. Frost Wars mixes the basic move/attack mechanic with speed chess. On your turn, you have one minute to move and attack with as many of your characters as you can get through.

At PAX we were using pre-made teams in a four player death match. In the game proper you have the ability to pick and choose from a variety of different unit types to make up your team. From grenadiers to long range tanks and everything in between.

Battles take place on a hex based board (so they’ve already got my number) with variable heights and terrain. While the current build doesn’t blatantly tell you how your stats are being changed by them, different terrain types and heights can provide advantages and disadvantages to your units. Having a height advantage may raise how much damage you can reign down from above on your enemies, for example. In some instances, terrain might even break out from underneath a unit if it is crossed too many times.

As a fan of turn based strategy, I was already mildly interested before knowing anything else about Frost Wars. Now that I’ve seen what they are doing differently, it’s fair to say I am pumped to play more.

Frost Wars: The Rise of Fatty Sparkles is browser based and cross platform. You can sign up for the alpha now on the Frost Wars website and give your own feedback on what you’d like to see from Lantern. Check out the promotional trailer below:



About the Author

Jonah Gregory
Jonah Gregory is a writer on various websites, including WingDamage.com and SideQuesting.com. He is the writer and creator of the all-ages comic book "Here There Be Robots", which he is currently adapting into a novel.