Saw Red: Frozen Synapse Expands, Gains Co-op

Does anyone else find it irresistible to put their mouse cursor over that tiny one and make a slightly larger mouse?

The indie darlings of yesteryear are back with a vengeance. I mean, with titles like Wrath of the Lamb and Red, what else could they possibly be out for? A pleasant stroll? A picnic? No, this is a declaration of war – or at least “Hey, we still exist. Notice us.” And I have! So everything worked out. Thank goodness. And wow, Frozen Synapse: Red, I must note in my trademark eloquent and considered fashion, contains a lot of stuff. Foremost, the entire single-player campaign’s been retrofitted to include co-op, and there’s now another 15-mission campaign to top it off. You’re also looking at challenge missions, mutators, deployable cover, riot shields, and a new multiplayer mode. But most importantly, levels can be red now. Yes, that’s right: Mode 7 has included a new color. Take that, Unreal Engine 4.

It will, however, run you $9.99 (or your local equivalent), but there’s a catch. A, er, good kind of catch. I didn’t actually know that was possible. Says Mode 7: “All online features, including co-op, can be shared between expansion owners and non-owners, meaning that there is no division in the community.” Hey, everyone else ever, do this.

Meanwhile, the physical embodiment of an SNES scrolling technology has seen fit to launch some free content as well. Specifically, all Frozen Synapse owners now have access to a local multiplayer Hotseat mode, timed turns for friends who take weeks to make their damn move already damn it, and a batch of preset, non-randomized multiplayer maps.

Honestly, it all sounds wonderful, and I’m fairly certain this is part of a highly targeted effort to make sure I never play any new games again. If I’m going down, though, I’m taking all of you with me. Here’s a trailer that will entice you with its sexy, sexy redness. Watch it and be possessed by a fiery desire – like a bull chasing a cape or a middle-aged man spending too much on a sports car. And now, you and I will take turns sending tiny men to their barely visible deaths. Forever.

Oh, hey, the trailer totally cites RPS’ Glowy Lines award. We’re famous! TAKE THAT, MOM. All right, now back to robotically clicking on neon-lit office spaces for all eternity with the lot of you.


  1. DanPryce says:

    Fun fact: Monetising colours is exactly what made Draw Something successful.

  2. Jams O'Donnell says:

    Okay, I’m excited. Are you excited? Because I’m excited. This all looks excellent. Well played Mode 7.

    • Jams O'Donnell says:

      Talking to myself:

      It’s already out and available and suchlike? Holy moly, I’m going in!

  3. Fanbuoy says:

    Does this mean that we will get to choose between the red ending or the blue ending? I have a bad feeling about this..

    • RaytraceRat says:

      what if I want a green ending ?

      • jezcentral says:

        We had the green ending. They patched it in and then patched it out again.

      • ClockworkTiger says:

        You don’t really want the green ending. It seems like the best choice out of your rather poor options, but in the end it makes even less sense than the other two.

      • Saldek says:

        Had you worn a tin fedora 24/7 the last few weeks, you’d remember having played and thoroughly hated the green ending. Just like the mauve launch week, it was patched from the game AND your memory to optimise residual user experience satisfaction metrics.

        Of course, the whole debacle is now only remembered by the fashionably paranoid. Speaking of which, let me doff my hat to Jezcentral for slyly alluding to the mnemo-patching . . . what the hell am I talking about!?

  4. Tusque D'Ivoire says:

    Those are some of the funniest angles I’ve seen!

    Question: Is there a difference between buying from Mode7 directly or from Steam? do your journalism thing!

    • GTRichey says:

      There is a difference, being that Steam (Valve) doesn’t get a cut so it supports the devs slightly more. Buying direct does give you the option of a steam key so if you’re worried about that kind of thing it’s a non-issue. Other than that the game is the same (i.e. amazing).

  5. Milky1985 says:

    When i watched this trailer people were looking at me oddly, might have been cause i was trying to stuff money down to the screen shouting TAKE ALL MY MONEY.

    In all seriousness tho this looks awesome. Loved this game, never got too far into the campaign tho but it was nice to sit back, listen to the awesome music and make some elbaroate plan that would inevtiably fail in a wackey races style way, but look awesome while it did it (i think my favorite was the rocket launcer guy shooting a rocket at a enemy… only for another enemy to run round the corner as the rocket fired, hitting him at point blank range killing 3 of me and 2 of them)

    Hell this expansion is worth the money just for the music in trailer tbh :p

    • Tusque D'Ivoire says:

      I seem to recall that it was pretty much impossible to hit a person with a rocket. that’s why you avoid all cover and just stand in the open when there’s nothing but rockies left…

      • Milky1985 says:

        Oh yeah the enemy was at the back near a wall, i was aiming at said wall thinking that even if he runs off the timing should work just his mate made the ultimate sacrifice (or i position my men wrong and actually shot a corner of the wall, either way it was entertaining to watch :P)

      • Tusque D'Ivoire says:

        I do have to agree that rockets definitely made for the most surprising twists and turns, due to them changing the architecture of each game.

        • Devenger says:

          Rockets allowed for my favourite technique, which was having someone take cover behind a low wall while still obscured by a high wall, then blowing up the wall between my covered machinegunner/sniper and the opposing team, giving my own soldier line-of-sight (and combat advantage against anyone not standing still, in cover, and facing in the right direction).

          (Also, I may have just immediately purchased FS: Red…)

    • Shortwave says:

      I’m only had the pleasure of having a single actual friend who owns this game.
      When we played it together and were on skype blah blah, we had A LOT of fun.
      It’s seriously good but playing it with many of the hardcores on it is mighty intimidating for me personally.

      • Fumarole says:

        On the RPS forums there is an ongoing league for shooty goodness.

  6. Yehat says:

    Are there still enough people in the multiplayer? Bought the main game not long after its release but somehow managed to avoid playing more than a few campaign mission despite enjoying it quite a bit.

  7. Colthor says:

    They are named after the SNES mode, then? Traitors! I’d hoped they were named after the BBC Micro’s Teletext mode, or a mono VGA/EGA text mode. Not that filthy console rubbish.


    • siegarettes says:

      What do you expect from a bunch of guys called “Mode 7”. You should have known better.

  8. VelvetFistIronGlove says:

    I demand that Nathan be fired immediately! He spelt ‘colour’ without a U.

    • Shortwave says:

      He’s European no? : P
      You Yankee’s and your odd spellings and your imperial system!
      Get with the times.

      • Vorphalack says:

        Colour is the English spelling. So yes, Nathan should indeed be fired.

        Out of a cannon into the sun ¬ ¬

      • PopeJamal says:

        Sure, we Americans got rid of the royal family and superfluous U’s. Sure, we’re just all around awesome, the English are awesome too! Why you guys still have the market utterly cornered on…on…
        uhhh…ummmm…hmmm. Being frumpy?

        Also: This

        • Dances to Podcasts says:

          Right-o. link to

        • Lord Custard Smingleigh says:

          Fun fact: The tax on lead made the American printing press owners look for ways to economise on the wear and tear on their letter blocks. So they eliminated as many of the letter “U” as possible to save on using a vowel (and vowels are common, as any Scrabble player knows!) and they made the slacking “Z” stand in for a lot of the “S” blocks in words like… well… economize.

          Like most of my fun facts it’s completely made up on the spot, but that doesn’t make it any less true.

  9. Nikolaos says:

    Will this version NOT bluescreen my system when I try to run it? :P

    • Kelron says:

      If there were any red error screens I could make a silly joke here!

    • ThePast says:

      A game doesn’t just cause a bluescreen on a healthy system. There is either something wrong hardware or software wise (faulty drivers for example). You should look into that. Every bluescreen shows the error code for that purpose.

      • LionsPhil says:

        That’s the lovely theory, anyway. And, indeed, it is by definition a OS or driver bug if an unpriviledged application can cause a system crash. (Or even a priviledged one in a lot of cases.)

        But since you can’t bugfix your OS or graphics card drivers, if Microsoft/nVidia/Intel/AMD won’t do it, it behooves software which wants people to run it to avoid stamping on any particuarly fragile toes. Reality is full of kludges and workarounds for other people’s bugs.

  10. Anzcm says:

    Losing an ongoing multiplayer game in Frozen Synapse? Just stop playing, and no win/loss will be registered.

    Frozen Synapse is brilliant though in concept and implementation, but the game is still fundamentally broken, a year after release and after repeated claims that this particular bug, and others almost as serious, have been fixed. I understand the need for Mode 7 to make money, but I would not give them any more until they have proved that they care about their existing customers.

    • TidiusFF says:

      “timed turns for friends who take weeks to make their damn move already damn it”

      Next time, read the news before trolling…

      • Anzcm says:

        So that would be the… third or fourth time they make this claim?

        • Delusibeta says:

          They;ve also, y’know, actually gone ahead and added them into the game and made it so that if your time runs out, you lose.

    • Toberoth says:

      “Fundamentally broken” seems rather strong to me. That implies that it doesn’t work at all, when it quite clearly does.

      • Anzcm says:

        A competetive multiplayer game that can’t keep scores is fundamentally broken.

        If you’re playing against people you trust or just the single-player campaign then, yeah, sure… too strong.

    • Unaco says:

      They’ve introduced time limits. Problem solved.

      • Anzcm says:

        That wasn’t really my point. But I’m happy to see that indie developers have such remarkably patient customers.

        • Unaco says:

          What was your point then? It seemed to be that, without any sort of time limit, games could go on indefinitely and never be finished, thus people could avoid completing games they were going to lose.

          They’ve introduced the option to put time limits on turns, thus, a game cannot go on indefinitely. Your point (as I saw it) is now moot.

          Care to expand?

          • Anzcm says:

            My point is that Frozen Synapse contains serious bugs affecting gameplay which are ignored or claimed to be fixed but aren’t (or break again) for months.

            I used one of them as an example, the most serious bug for me. While it is good that this particular bug is finally, for-real, actually fixed now (maybe), the fact that it took the developers a year to reach that stage remains. Is that really acceptable for a commercial developer, indie or not?

          • Unaco says:

            And the other ‘serious’ bugs? Or is it just this one… which has now been fixed?

            As for it being acceptable or not, seems like the majority have been willing to accept it. I find it acceptable because this was never a problem for me, was never a problem in any of the competitive leagues and tournaments I was involved in, and this is the first I’ve seen mention of it as being a problem. So, yes, I think it’s acceptable for them to take time to ‘fix’ issues that a small minority of users have.

          • Fumarole says:

            That’s not a bug, that’s working as designed. Whether it should have been designed that way is a different point.

          • Highstorm says:

            So it’s “Wah wah wah, fix this bug”, and then when they finally do, it’s “Wah wah wah, you took so long to do it.”

            Are you ever happy?

        • subshell001 says:

          They already added time limits now, despite whether or not you actually believe that this update exists (which it does). I am starting to believe that you really don’t have anything else to complain about so you are being vague about them not fixing “other serious bugs” that exist (which they do not).

  11. rocketman71 says:

    Still missing LAN support, which is kind of jarring, since it’s been discussed in their forums time and again and the answer keeps being “for future updates”.

    Perhaps after Frozen Synapse: Green, Magenta, Cyan and Cold Shit we’ll get it.

  12. JD Ogre says:

    Awesome game. Pity it makes my brain melt when I try to play it. Maybe if it had come out 15 years ago when my brain wasn’t all old and sludgy… :P

  13. jezcentral says:

    Hmm, FS in co-op seems to me to be one of those things that people ask for because they think it will be great, but in practice sucks. (A bit like people who wanted Portal Death-match). I can’t see that appealing to many once the initial fuss has died down.

    The new music, campaign and new unit are great, though.

  14. Makariel says:

    I like the color. Reminds me on Red Alert. Except, Frozen Synapse is an excellent squad-tactics-game while all I did in Red Alert was building the largest tanks available until I win. I reach excitement level 4!

    • Lord Custard Smingleigh says:

      Build a research installation, it’ll allow you to reach even higher levels of excitement!

  15. MythArcana says:

    Alright, you got me on this one. Excellence deserves a second helping I say!

  16. Ted Brown says:

    Retro! Very nice. Does it still have the rage-inducing, early 90’s, Netscape Navigator-inspired UI?

  17. povu says:

    6 new music tracks, awesome! I love FS’s soundtrack.

  18. LionsPhil says:

    Oh boy! Finally I might get some mileage out of…
    >Paid expansion pack
    …oh well. Suffering through the lousy singleplayer with a friend might have made it worthwhile, but not for further investment.