Summer is coming, it’s time to find our summer body to wreak havoc on the beaches of the coast. What better way to do this than to use our passion for video games, and this is precisely what the latest title from The Quantum Astrophysicists Guild studio, namely Freshly Frosted, absolutely does not offer. Worse, this puzzle game puts before our eyes an avalanche of donuts and other donuts that we will have to make according to demand. In short, a game that will ask us to use our gray matter while making us salivate. What if that was happiness? The answer will come, like a good dessert, at the end of the test.
The cloud assembly line
Determined to think outside the box from the start of their title, the developers offer us a small sketch very atypical for the genre. Indeed, a soft-spoken narrator tells us that she loves to look at the clouds. Depending on the season, each reminds him of a different shape of donut. She then likes to imagine an assembly line that would connect a donut oven to its delivery area, passing through the various stages of its design. Like what, it is quite possible to be a frenzied industrialist endowed with an exacerbated sensitivity… Well, that seems to be the message conveyed, doesn’t it??
This beginning of the story is far from being anecdotal, because at each new level, this same narrator will tell us a little more about what she particularly appreciates in this or that season. Very short, these explanations pleasantly refresh our heads between two puzzles. We will therefore have to help him put the chain of movement back in place to be able to hear our narrator thank us before continuing her monologue. This small effort on the implementation of a form of narration is very pleasant and completely breaks with the habits of the vast majority of games of the genre which do not bother with such additions.
Fully dubbed in English and subtitled in French, these short sentences are very easy to follow. Similarly, if she sees us stumble too long on a level, the narrator will naturally offer us her help by sending us to the game menu to activate the clues. If she sees us activating time acceleration too often when crafting, she will remind us of the presence of the “impatient” option in the accessibility menu, which directly gives the result of our creation. Small touches that do not change the gameplay, but completely remove the austere side too often stuck to puzzle games.
The Donut Maze
The gameplay therefore consists of setting up a functional assembly line that meets the wishes of our narrator. These are always pretty much the same. Make the right donut and deliver it to the right place. The achievable products are more or less complicated. It’s up to us, once the donut is out of the oven, to deliver it natural, to add icing to it, on this icing, to add, or not, chocolate chips, then a tear of whipped cream, and to finish if necessary with a cherry. Decidedly, the summer body is to be forgotten…
If the puzzles are grouped in boxes of twelve, with twelve boxes to fill, each of these boxes is linked to a seasonal event as well as a gameplay mechanic. Whether it’s spring, winter or Halloween, each box adopts a different donut shape and adds novelty, keeping us from falling asleep over our pastries. Possibilities, as well as constraints, are updated every twelve puzzles, ensuring a steady pace throughout the 144 available puzzles.
With delivery areas that only start by accepting one type of donut, for example the complete: icing, sprinkles, cream and cherry, or the area only accepting the plain donut, our start to the adventure is quite simple and the first three boxes fill up in less than an hour. The difficulty increases steadily during this time, the delivery areas gradually lose their specificity, guiding us less and less, and new mechanics appear.
First there is the crossing of platforms, then appear switches or even pushers. Each box begins very slowly, an appetizer, before becoming more and more devious. Overall, the progression within a box is quite linear, and it is very rare that a puzzle is easier than the previous one. This set up is truly addictive, and once started, Freshly Frosted is very hard to put down.
Its grip is classic, but offers all modern comforts. Action-by-action rewinding, box-by-box erasing, as well as a reset are thus available to help us design our paths as efficiently as possible. In the case of a blockage, clues in the form of a few boxes, arranged in the right place and in the right orientation, come to guide us towards the solution. An intelligent aid that in no way spoils the challenge.
Each box has its own visual identity. We will thus have to make classic donuts, eclairs, donuts with shapes more or less related to the theme. Special mention for the Halloween donut. For the rest, the graphics are renewed only too little, only the background color changes. Being focused on our creations, we don’t necessarily realize it in game, but a greater variety would have been a plus.
The same goes for the soundtrack. If she is very discreet during our phases of reflection, she is however quickly off-putting, especially since the rhythm she adopts, if it is adapted to a donut factory, is not necessarily so for a game that requires excellent concentration. Only the verification phases of our chain are pleasant to listen to, the music then being modeled perfectly on the production noises. Unfortunately, we pass this moment quickly as it takes time for not much.
- The graphics are nice and clear…
- The soundtrack is really nice as we kick off our production line…
- The principle is simple to understand, but offers a real challenge
- Gameplay mechanics are constantly being renewed
- Getting started is immediate and complete
- The hint system is well thought out and does not ruin the challenge
- The narrator is quickly endearing
- French subtitles are good from time to time for an indie game
- … But do not renew themselves enough
- … But she annoys over time
Price / Lifespan