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Greeting Seasons: Frozen Cortex Adds Singleplayer

Mode 7’s simultaneous turn-based future-sport game, Frozen Cortex [official site], has received an enormous update, adding a lifetime’s worth of singleplayer content. Even if you expect your own lifetime to cover an extended period, you should be covered – the update includes randomised seasons, persistent story elements, commentators, a perma-death knockout mode and loads of unique players. I’ve been looking forward to this as much as almost any other game this year.

If you don’t know the basics of Frozen Cortex (previously Frozen Endzone), imagine Frozen Synapse without the guns and with a faint echo of American Football, or watch the trailer just above this paragraph. The attacking team aims to move the ball to their opponent’s goal area, finding routes for passes and hoping to deceive the defenders who would block either the ball or their own movement.

While American Football is there, at the foundation, you won’t need to know the intricacies of an Oklahoma 6-4 Loopaway or an Alley-Oop Truncheon Pump to the Wide Receiver’s Tight End. It’s the most sensible starting point for tactical sportsplay though, seeing as it’s essentially a turn-based sport in real life. Some people complain that it’s all stopping and starting, and I shed a tear and wonder how they’d cope with Panzer Corps.

Here’s a description of the various modes straight from the devs:

This update adds Knockout, a kind of rogue-likey-likey permadeath type mode. Get as far as you can without losing a single match, using only limited (and somewhat randomised) player upgrades each week. Rewards will come for doing specific things in matches: it’s up to you to figure out what those are. It’s pretty hard, but a lot less annoying than a kind of massive, vague flaccid league mode.

Also available is the somewhat-less-hardcore Global Cortex League mode, a more traditional league where the aim of the game is simply to do as well as you can in a season. Earn cash to buy new shiny robot players.

Finally, there’s the Random League mode which pits you against a vast array of randomly-generated teams. This is the Wild West of Cortex. If you happen to like massive vague flaccid league modes…then this is for you! Except it’s really good. Yes.

Each one of these modes has sub-modes with various difficulty settings and rule variants, including Timed Turns: think speed chess with more robot punching. There’s also Killer where you can knock your opponent’s robots out of the game with a single hit.

Short version? You can build your own team and rebuild it as robotic permadeath occurs mid-match. You can design arenas, perfect your tactics and enjoy the simulation of a fictional sport and its surroundings until you’re old and grey, and the actual superbowl contains more metal than flesh.

Speaking of which, I’m looking forward to Sunday’s SuperClash. Rooting for the Seahawks purely because I enjoyed their comeback in the previous game much more than I enjoyed watching the Patriots marching onward all-but unopposed. Being British and therefore having no in-built regional allegiance, I’ve somehow become a Detroit Lions fan. Someone’s got to be, I suppose.

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Adam Smith

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