Spotlight On Biscuit – Frozen Synapse

By Quintin Smith on May 28th, 2011 at 11:20 am.

You know the RPS idea of the 'Guns and Conversation' genre? This is Guns and Consternation.

I think the singular of synapse should be synap. What do you think? Ah, Saturday is no kind of day to be worrying about those things. This week’s Spotlight On Biscuit sees PC gaming celebutante Total Biscuit talking us through indie tactics sensation Frozen Synapse. It’s been released, you know! 55 mission single player campaign, comprehensive multiplayer, the whole bit. Meanwhile, I’ve been thinking (and eating) my favourite biscuit of all time. What could it be?

It’s the oatmeal raisin cookie.

I know what you’re thinking: “That’s a cookie, not a biscuit.” And here’s what I’m thinking: “Shut up, shut up, shut up.” In-depth discussions of what constitutes a biscuit or a cookie belong in the halls of first year university students, not in the comments of the UK’s finest gaming journalism outlet.

The oatmeal raisin cookie is perfect. No, it is. That soft texture with the occasional crunch? The flavours like you’re eating something healthy? The sheer size of the thing? Top marks. Ten out of ten. If the oatmeal raisin cookie was a game, it would get a Metacritic score in the 90s and it would not have DLC because HOW COULD YOU ADD TO IT? You couldn’t. Editor’s choice award.

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87 Comments »

  1. Lewie Procter says:

    I’m pretty sure synapse is the singular of synapse…

    • Quintin Smith says:

      That is. That. That’s not what I’m saying.

    • Premium User Badge lurkalisk says:

      Uh, no. I believe the singular to be, “Synopsis”.

    • Veret says:

      Lies. The singular is “synapsum” from the Greek synapsopolous (plural synapsopolae), meaning “simultaneous turn-based tactical top-down shooter.”
      See also: synaptitude, synapocalypse, synapotamus.

    • SuperNashwanPower says:

      Now you have made me wonder what the collective noun for synapse is. For this, a plague on your house.

  2. FionaSarah says:

    What the hell, that’s not a rich tea?

  3. magnus says:

    Oatmeal raisin cookie? A bit brown and sandles isn’t it?

    • LionsPhil says:

      What’s wrong with you people? Oat and raisin cookies are great.

  4. Premium User Badge Harlander says:

    Raisins? What’s next, a wheat celery biscuit?

    More pertinently, Frozen Synapse is slick and cool and the more people who play it, the bigger chance of me finding someone who’s even more incompetent than me so I can actually win

  5. Wolf0x says:

    Thanks for the video been wondering what this game was all about

  6. StranaMente says:

    Wait, for aliens like me, what’s the difference between a biscuit and a cookie? ‘Cause I’m pretty sure the translation in italian is pretty much the same.

    • MD says:

      I reckon cookie can be used synonymously with ‘sweet biscuit’, with “cookie” as the more American-sounding option. But if there is a difference, to my mind cookies are a bit more cake-like than biscuits. So ‘biscuit’ covers savouries and thinner/harder sweets, and cookie is more into rich doughy territory. For context, I’m Australian. Also I don’t really know much about biscuits.

    • Premium User Badge Arathain says:

      You see, the whole thing is complicated by the American concept of the biscuit, which is kind of like a slightly less sweet scone.

      I know, I know, I thought it was silly too. Then the remarkable person who is now my wife fed me hers, and you can call them whatever you like and I’ll still want some. You can eat them just as well with jam or honey-butter as sausage gravy.

    • bob_d says:

      The American “cookie” encompasses everything described by the Brits as “biscuits.” Although it comes from the Dutch word “koekje,” which means “little cake,” the term “cookie” doesn’t encompass the cake-like. The cookie is flat, crisp and dense compared to “cakes.” The American “buscuit” on the other hand, is an unsweetened or even savory version of the scone.

    • thegooseking says:

      Cookies are more cake-like than biscuits. The word ‘biscuit’ comes from the Old French ‘bescuit’, meaning “twice cooked”. Given that etymology, you’d be forgiven for assuming that a ‘cookie’ is so-called because of something to do with cooking as well, but it actually comes from the Dutch ‘koekje’, meaning “little cake”.

      This comes with the caveat that etymology is not meaning, though.

    • SuperNashwanPower says:

      It doesnt matter how much sacrasm a journalist writes about the idea, this argument was always going to happen.

      And to think this was all started by the bloody Jaffa Cakes advert. “Biscuit? Cake. Biscuit? Cake”. GAH. I HEAR ITS VOICE EVERY DAY

    • FRIENDLYUNIT says:

      Again, we probably need a translation for those whoes first language is not English.

      A “sacrasm” is a pleasant, building release felt after rapidly eating an abundance of sugar, often in cookie form.

  7. Clockwork Peanut says:

    I just HAVE to share the love for the oatmeal raisin cookie, I’m bloody addicted to them.
    As you say, of all the cookies in the world they are the most consistently soft and chewy (no one likes a rock hard cookie), and eating one (or more often than not, five) you get the strange feeling that you’re not killing yourself, and there’s no reason why you should feel guilty. Om nom nom, might need to get some on the way to the library.

    On a side note, I’m going to get this game. RPS must ensure that Frozen Synapse does not go the way of Plain Site and Multiwinia!

    • BAReFOOt says:

      Then you haven’t tried Swedish oatmeal cookies (there is also a version with a chocolate back) or even better: Florentine biscuits. (In German, we just say “Kekse“, and fart in the general direction of your pointless distinction. ;)

      They are rock-hard and very awesome.

      Also, all hard cookies/biscuits/whatever are made to be eaten with milk / coffee / hot chocolate. But all cookies taste better in coffee with milk or hot chocolate (also WITH milk. no exceptions!)

      Waitaminute… isn’t this a blog (actually, it’s not a log) about games?? ;)

  8. Navagon says:

    So do you think Biscuit liked it? He seemed pretty unsure to me.

    • Bhazor says:

      7.4 out of 10

    • Premium User Badge Hypocee says:

      This apparently endless onslaught of stunning indie projects seems to making ‘The Cynical Brit’ ever less so.

      What a tragedy.

    • Navagon says:

      Yeah it’s a real tragedy that there aren’t enough crappy games to complain about right now.

    • spiderwebby says:

      Fear not, young Hypocee
      Yahtzee should more than fulfil your requirement for moanyness. after all he somehow managed to bitch about portal2…

  9. StranaMente says:

    Two packs only for almost 19€? That’s pretty steep. I was almost tempted, but I don’t know anybody to share the price and the game with.

    • Glycerine says:

      If you’re finding the price a bit steep, you can always make your own…

      Link

    • LionsPhil says:

      An indie game that you cannot try for less than the outlay of a mildly discounted big-team professional game (you know, like Steam bristles with) due to this ridiculous double-pack-only thing and lack of a demo?

      Yeah, no.

  10. Pie21 says:

    FYI, if you pre-ordered the soundtrack edition (like myself), the link that’s sent to you only gives you the game. You WILL get the final soundtrack soon, but not yet due to some technical issues, as stated in the FAQs.

    Apart from that, I’m about as excited for this game right now as I was when I pre-ordered it a year or so ago. I can’t believe what they’ve done with the single player (it looks awesome!) when they were originally wondering how they were going to do it at all, and downplaying their ideas. Only a few weeks until after exams and I’ll be getting stuck right back into this.

    • suibhne says:

      Unfortunately, the soundtrack edition was $5 more via Mode 7 ($30) than via Steam ($25), but I absolutely wanted to buy the game from Mode 7 so they could get as much of the profit as possible. So the result is…no soundtrack for me. Too bad, because I rather like the sound of it.

    • sidhellfire says:

      At least you can purchase a game in $$$, not that shitty €€€. Fuck, I’m not buying this one until it’s price becomes reasonable. I’d rather get dinners to eat for two weeks instead.

  11. Hematite says:

    As an antipodean, I would like to make everyone aware of the related, but superior, ANZAC biscuit. The principle is the same as the common “oatmeal cookie”, but due to wartime necessity it was weaponised as a highly efficient calorie delivery mechanism. A correct recipe for ANZAC biscuits uses the maximum possible sugar and butter with minimal oats and coconut providing structural rigidity.

    Raisins are optional.

    • chiroho says:

      And don’t forget the golden syrup. That certainly helps with the overall enjoyment.

      But much though I love ANZAC biscuits, I still think I rate Tim Tams higher.

    • Stranglove says:

      Actually, we’ve been talking about ANZAC biscuits recently on ARPS.

    • Deccan says:

      For maximum effect, eat an ANZAC biscuit with a Granny Smith apple, one bite of each at a time. Divinity itself.

      Should Australasia ever embark on world conquest, it will do so through the medium of Tim Tams.

  12. chiroho says:

    While I do have to share the love for the Oatmeal Cookie, as I do adore them, the best biscuits would have to be Tim Tams, hands down. There just isn’t anything better.

  13. frenz0rz says:

    What, still no love for the humble custard cream?

  14. McDan says:

    As a first year university student I can conclude that all biscuit-type things such as cookies and wafers do in fact count as biscuits. Truth.

    • Tams80 says:

      Odd, in our discussions me concluded that cookies aren’t proper biscuits. Wafers, however are.

  15. xfxian says:

    “You have lost connection to the Grand Server” (while playing the tutorial…)

    Gameplay: Great
    DRM: WTF

    Edit: Okay, at least it is possible to change to an alternative server and play in offline mode.

    • Premium User Badge VelvetFistIronGlove says:

      The Grand Server is used to manage the multiplayer challenges and stuff. You don’t need it at all for single player. Sadly there is not yet an option for internet-less LAN play (it would be excellent for it).

    • xfxian says:

      I understand that. But having logged in at the first time, the game threw me out of the tutorial when the connection broke – of course not saving any progress. After that i was able to begin again in offline mode.

      Anyway, it seems to be working again now.

    • Teddy Leach says:

      Yes, the Grand Server is currently undergoing severe strain. It diddled you because you were playing in online mode. Ergo, you didn’t use the ‘offline’ button while signing in.

      It’s hardly DRM.

  16. Escalus says:

    whenever I hear Total Biscuit talk i flashback to the Warcraft 2 human campaign narrator :D

  17. Kent says:

    Dudes, when you keep linking to Biscuits stuff instead of writing your own articles I kinda wonder why I’m still subscribed to you lot for.

  18. Serenegoose says:

    Well, this WTF completely sold the game to me and my girlfriend in short order. I’ve rarely grabbed a game so quickly. Thanks, Total Biscuit. :)

  19. Eddy9000 says:

    The word ‘biscuit’ means ‘twice cooked’, so technically to qualify as a biscuit it must be cooked in a specific way. Although cookies, pink wafers and allsorts seem to pass muster on RPS; it’s a good job it’s a sterling quality PC gaming blog, becasuse as a source of information about biscuits it’s kind of sloppy.

  20. Freud says:

    The game looks amazing. It looks like the spiritual successor to X-Com or Incubation (if anyone remembers that one).

    • Vinraith says:

      It’s only similarity to X-com is that they’re both tactical games and the both have turns.

      That’s not to say that Frozen Synapse isn’t great, the two just bear very little resemblance to one another.

    • Freud says:

      No, it’s not the only similarity. The main similarity is that you had to be aware of where the enemy were and prepare for it. Surely you didn’t play X-Com without saving action points for men so they could shoot if an alien walked into their line of sight when it was their turn?

    • Vinraith says:

      The main similarity is that you had to be aware of where the enemy were and prepare for it.

      Right, they’re both tactical games.

      Frozen Synapse has no strategic layer, no base management, no squad management, it really bears very little resemblance to X-Com in any way aside from the fact that their respective combat engines are turn based tactical games (and even then, they operate on very different mechanics and principles).

      Anyway, my sole intention was to keep you from making a purchase based on an erroneous comparison.

    • Freud says:

      Did you really think I was referring to the base building, shooting down UFOs and so on when I said there were similarities? Holy straw man, Batman.

      Perhaps you played X-Com very differently to me. But the way I played it, it has significant similarities. Even if it has mechanical differences.

    • Vinraith says:

      @Freud

      I’m not sure why you’re trying to make something antagonistic out of this, but I’ve no interest in doing so. Again, I was trying to prevent you from buying a game under false pretenses, that’s all. I’m not here to argue about this, I have no interest in arguing about this, enjoy the game.

    • Malawi Frontier Guard says:

      Imagine a huge ocean.

      On one side of the ocean there’s a whale. Quite distinct. You know what a whale looks like.
      On the other end is a little rowboat. Looks nothing like a whale. Not a whale at all.

      Those are the only things swimming in that ocean.
      You would say this whale is very similar to the rowboat. Both are swimming in the ocean, and nothing else is.

      It is the same with tactical games.

    • Hastur says:

      Or Robosport. Back in the day, we’d have some epic pizza-and-Robosport marathon sessions. Of course then it was all hot-swapping on the same Mac, none of this internet stuff.

  21. MikoSquiz says:

    Half an hour?! I’m curious but I couldn’t commit to that kind of time investment for a long-form Zero Punctuation, never mind .. uh .. non-Zero-Punctuation things.

    • Bhazor says:

      So he’s British ergo he is a Yahtzee rip-off?

    • Tams80 says:

      You wouldn’t even be able to watch Zero Punctuation for 30 minutes? (Actually I;m not sure I could). I’ll keep my judgment to myself, but I’m sure it’s clear. *judges*

    • LionsPhil says:

      No, he’s posting “cynical” video reviews, so he’s a Yahtzee “ripoff”. (Shut up about if Yahtzee was first.)

      More pertinently, as usual Internet content is in dire need of an editor weilding a huge pair of pruning shears and a manically enthusiastic grin.

    • TotalBiscuit says:

      The last thing first impressions content needs is editing. It is valued because it is honest, raw, live-commentated footage.It provides different things to a review and adheres to different standards.
      It’s also absurdly popular and probably wouldn’t be if people didn’t want to watch 25+ minute videos.

      As for the Zero Punctuation thing, the only similarity is that we are both British. I’m not even going to mention that we’re both cynical, that is the default position of a British person.

    • Bhazor says:

      @ Lionsphill

      You haven’t watched either of them have you? They’re absolutely nothing alike.

  22. MythArcana says:

    Wow. All the comments are about silly food items. On a game review site. Anyway…

    This game is really cool, albeit a one trick pony, but worth checking out. Just keep in mind that after about 20 games in single player, you will probably end up dominating the AI. This is because once you learn the rules of the game and the environment, it’s all about manipulating these factors to your tactical advantage. If you start out in your corner with no buildings surrounding you and the AI starts in a room, you will probably win the game in about 1-3 turns. The further your units are from any walls, the better your advantage to win. This game does what it does very well, but it just does what it does.

    • Tams80 says:

      NO FUN ALLOWED.

    • Fuxalodapus says:

      I’m hoping they add more tactical options like throwing flashbangs, smoke, etc.

      I’m afraid, for me, this game will end up like Solium Infernum where I’m intensely interested for a few months and just drop it a year out never to be bothered with it again. A strategic X-COM, Jagged Alliance type layer with unit upgrades would have added to its longevity, but like you said, it’s pretty much a one-trick pony with some Yomi type guessing of where the opponent is gonna move his guys.

  23. Premium User Badge Nero says:

    I totally bought the game right after watching this and though my pc is still borked so I can’t play anything, I’m still enjoying the great soundtrack.

  24. Sinnorfin says:

    this looks much like Subversion…released early

    • Dominic White says:

      Having seem a lengthy bit of Subversion gameplay, I can safely say that this is absolutely nothing alike, other than having a pseudo-blueprintish art style. They really couldn’t be more different.

  25. Koozer says:

    I love how these posts have more discussion about biscuits than the games. I hope to see Jammie Dodgers appear at some point. Not because they’re my favourite, but just for the historical record of major biscuits.

  26. Kdansky says:

    So, I have to decide whether I want the soundtrack version before I have ever heard a single track, because I cannot play the game without buying it? That seems.. silly?

    • BAReFOOt says:

      You mean just like in every other game ever?
      Also: There IS a single track at the end of the video. Starts at 25:17.

  27. Betamax says:

    Those biscuits are particularly nice when warm I find.

    The game sorta reminds me of Swat 2 taken to a whole new level of awesome (and turn based)? I have fond memories of Swat 2.

  28. Muzman says:

    I’d love it if it had a slightly different viewpoint, even if just for the replays. Watching the civies freak out and evacuate from the ground would be really fun.

    • Wedge says:

      The game and all it’s assets are quite two dimensional, so I imagine that could be problematic…

    • Muzman says:

      Really? Oh well. There’s some perspective there so it’s not isometric, I thought. But I suppose that doesn’t mean anything. I guess I was hoping the characters where modelled a little bit, like Alien Swarm but not so detailed. Or that new Introversion game’s level of detail would do.

  29. xcopy says:

    Really nice game! Reminds me of a 20-year old game: Robosport from Maxis http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RoboSport

  30. Sweep says:

    I haven’t played this game, but it sounds awfully similar to Flotilla, which I exhausted fairly quickly. How does it stack up?

    • Oak says:

      It’s not similar to Flotilla, aside from their both using a simultaneous turn-based system, and the randomly-generated maps and distinct weapon types keep it from getting samey. It also does not feature space cats.

  31. Axyl says:

    Laser Squad Nemesis….updated and polished.
    Imo, that’s the best, most accurate, shortest description of Frozen Synapse.
    Plus, it’s frikkin awesome. :)

    Also…Fruit in biscuits? Pfft, please..

    If it’s a cookie it’s gotta be the Chocolate Chip and Hazelnut Cookie, or Double Chocolate Chip Cookies.
    The big ones Sainsburys sell 5 for £1. ;)

  32. Premium User Badge MonkeyMonster says:

    he really loves that game :D

  33. tripwired says:

    Damn you Biscuit… watching that made me purchase the soundtrack version immediately afterwards! Just fumbled my way through the tutorial and first mission, but I can see this being a thing of beauty once I get more into it.