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Freeware Garden: Hypothermia

An ocean of deadly cold water always breaks the ice at parties.

I only recently (re-)discovered that I love my games with snow storms in them. I seem to find extreme, digital snowfall soothing for some reason. Even if said games are called Hypothermia, which doesn’t sound like a particularly enjoyable thing to experience, but here is a lovely looking game that feels effectively cold and blizzardy.

Despite its short length, Hypothermia starts off as a man-against-nature survival story only to eventually turn much weirder. A bit scarier too as the tale unravels and the story turns into something that has to be survived. Besides, a game with so many skeletons in it could never be a stroll in the park.

Unsettling things aside, Hypothermia is also a very polished and robust first person adventure/exploration game, that tasks you with unveiling the secret of the deserted island you seem to be stranded on and that of its bone-chilling frost. To do so, you’ll get to read logs, do some rudimentary puzzle solving, search crates and carefully navigate the treacherous environment.

Ah, yes, a skeleton. In the cold.

Falling off a derelict bridge and into the frozen water will, quite realistically, be lethal and walking across thin beams is always taxing; even more so when you are hallucinating and lacking your pills.

The game, you see, sports some interesting mechanics that go beyond the standard journals and exploring stuff, entering the very fitting survival sim territory. In order to preserve your physical and mental health and your body temperature, which rapidly decreases when exposed, you’ll have to consume food, pills and alcohol. Food restores physical health, pills restore mental health and reduce physical health, and alcohol helps you keep warm at the cost of both physical and mental health.

This juggling of consumables, combined with the search for more of them makes exploring Hypothermia a tense if brief experience. We can only hope for a sequel then, which the game almost promises.

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Konstantinos Dimopoulos

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