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Frozen Synapse is a simultaneous turn-based strategy game. Players guide a squad of units through enclosed areas with rooms, corridors, windows, entrances, and objects that can be used for cover. The focus is entirely on strategy and tactics, as every shot is lethal and there is no way to customize units. At the start of a game players are dealt a hand of units. They are defined by the weapon they are carrying, for instance one with regular bullets, a machine gun, a shotgun, a sniper rifle, a rocket launcher, or a grenade launcher. They also have different capabilities and range. The goal of a general game is to kill all opposing units. The game has a minimal look. Shown from a top-down view that reveals the entire area, including enemies, the player's team is green, the opponent's is red, and the entire environment is rendered in shades of blue with futuristic design. There are also civilians, and friendly units controlled by the computer shown in yellow.

Matches are comprised of turns that generally take no longer than five seconds when they are executed. During the planning phase, the player can define a number of actions and test these against the stationary units controlled by the computer by running a simulation. At the same time the computer is also planning actions, but these remain invisible to the player as well. When happy with the result, the orders of both sides are executed at once and the result is shown as a five-second burst of action before the next turn is entered. Through this system, the player does not only need to plan an attack, but also anticipate the opposing actions at the same time.

The outcome of encounters is determined through a number of parameters, including cover, the chosen stance, stillness (improves the chance of targeting first), and the chosen aim direction. To deal with this, the game offers a large number of options for units. For movement, players can determine waypoints through the environment. Keeping the aforementioned parameters in mind, movement can also include standing still for a set amount of time, or ducking. Other options include to keep moving when an enemy is in sight (to avoid encounters), engage on sight, target a specific direction, check for opponents before progressing, focusing or ignoring a specific type of enemy or zone, and cancelling focus. Many actions can be combined and defined in succession to executive a detailed strategic plan that anticipates actions from the opposing side.

The singleplayer portion includes a storyline and 55 missions. There is also a skirmish option for quick games and an option menu to specify the game parameters and unit composition. Multiplayer is offered through five game modes: Extermination (kill all opposing units), Secure (defend of secure a certain area of the map), Disputed (collect more boxes than the other team and escape through an exit), Hostage (defend or take out stationary units), and Charge (bid to see how far down a map units can be taken). Game types can be played as Light (all units are visible through the match) or Dark (opposing units are only visible when they are in the line of sight). The game includes in-game chat and the option to export matches directly to YouTube as a video.


Frozen Synapse Windows I killed one enemy, but you can't predict the enemy's actions in the planning phase, so the eventual outcome can be quite different.
Frozen Synapse Windows Toying with the different action options in the tutorial
Frozen Synapse Windows Zooming in on a single unit
Frozen Synapse Windows Enter the strategic phase

Promo Images

Frozen Synapse Screenshot
Frozen Synapse Screenshot
Frozen Synapse Screenshot
Frozen Synapse Screenshot

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Critic Reviews

Brash Games May 28, 2011 9 out of 10 90
PC Gamer Jun 15, 2011 89 out of 100 89
Indie Game Magazine Aug 16, 2011 88 out of 100 88
Game Kudos Sep 01, 2011 8.7 out of 10 87 Jun 17, 2011 85 out of 100 85 Aug 03, 2011 17 out of 20 85
IGN Jun 15, 2011 8.5 out of 10 85
Gameplay (Benelux) Jun 24, 2011 82 out of 100 82
GameStar (Germany) Aug 09, 2011 78 out of 100 78
Indie Game Reviewer Sep 02, 2011 1.5 Stars1.5 Stars1.5 Stars1.5 Stars1.5 Stars 30


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Sciere (511466) added Frozen Synapse (Windows) on May 30, 2011
Other platforms contributed by Alsy (18641), Sciere (511466) and Kabushi (209748)