Review: Frozen Synapse Prime (PlayStation Vita)

Reviewed by Thomas Hugh, posted Sep 24, 2014
Sep 24, 2014
  • Release Date (NA): September 23, 2014
  • Release Date (EU): September 24, 2014
  • Publisher: Double Eleven
  • Developer: Double Eleven/Mode 7
  • Genres: Strategy / Turn Based Tactics
  • ESRB Rating: Teen
  • PEGI Rating: Twelve years and older
  • Single player
    Local Multiplayer
    Online Multiplayer
Frozen Synapse was released back in 2011 by Mode 7 for PC and was then ported to mobile platforms. Frozen Synapse Prime is developed exclusively for PlayStation Vita by Double Eleven with additional input from Mode 7.
Thomas Hugh


What is it?

Frozen Synapse Prime (FSP) is similar to a game of chess, only with guns, grenades and rocket launchers! You play as a commander called Tactics and are in charge of manuevering units throughout levels in the 15-20 hour 40 mission campaign mode. After a short briefing from the mysterious Belacqua you start each mission with a set loadout of units such as machine-gunners, snipers, grenadiers, shotgunners and commandos and have to complete an objective such as clear out all enemies, escort a hacker, extract intel and so on. There is a story woven into the campaign which is serviceable, but is ultimately just there to give you reason for your current objectives. The world is set in a futuristic SciFi dystopia which is clinically clean and precise and is scored by an excellently eery digitised soundtrack.

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The Shapeforms are deliberating!

Once you have your objective, you must plan how you intend to tackle the level. Each unit has 5 seconds of time to play with and within this time you must map your units movement, aim, and whether or not it will attack or duck or just wait in overwatch. You have full control over you units using the intuitive streamlined command wheel, making the planning phase significantly less complicated than the original PC version of the game. When you are happy with your commands and confident about the outcome, you Prime your turn and wait with bated breath as the ensuing chaos plays out on screen. Grenades bounce of walls, snipers take out enemies from across the map and rockets destroy walls and anything and everything nearby. It is a joy to behold when your plan is well concieved and you are witnessing multiple killcam replays.

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What I love about FSP's multiplayer is that you don't need to find someone to play it with, you don't even need to be online at the same time as your opponent! You plan your strategy, prime your turn then wait it out for your opponent to do the same. Whether they make their move in the next minute, hour or even week doesn't really matter as you can create and join as many matches as you want simultaneously. This ensures you will always have a match to continue, providing there is someone else out there also playing the game at some point.

As well as the standard Skirmish mode, there is Extermination, Secure, Disputed, Hostage and Charge. Each of these modes has their own objectives and rules and are different enough to feel fresh when you feel like changing it up. All of the modes are also fully customisable, from the map theme, squad and wall positioning, turn limit, unit count and whether to enable fog of war or not. You can even build your own entire level then put it online to see if anyone can beat you at your own design. It's a pretty spectacular feat when you consider the entire package of this game is only 281mb!

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Frozen Synapse Prime is a delightful addition to the Vita library that was in much need of a great strategy title. I was at the bottom of the leaderboard for days with only 2 wins and 10 losses for a whopping -310 points, but after checking the ranks before publishing this review there is actually someone below me! I feel it says a lot for FSP's gameplay that I am continuing to learn and wanting to better myself within the multiplayer section of the game, despite sucking I am hooked and intend to work my way up the ladders. The game has frozen (no pun intended) on me a couple of times, but it was during some matchmaking process and I haven't encountered it again since that initial instance.

+ Lengthy campaign mode
+ Deep tactical gameplay
+ Lots of fully customisable multiplayer modes
+ Streamlined precision controls
- Ocassional freezes
9 Presentation
Frozen Synapse Prime has completely reworked graphics and is indistinguishable from it's PC release in everything except gameplay mechanics. The SciFi setting and design works extremely well for the game and the accompanying soundtrack fits the setting perfectly.
10 Gameplay
Any tacticians out there will be right at home with FSP. It is strategy in it's purest form that goes as deep as you want it to.
9 Lasting Appeal
With a lengthy campaign to blast your way through and an endless meaty multiplayer component, Frozen Synpase Prime should remain on your memory card for a long time to come.
out of 10
Overall (not an average)
Frozen Synapse Prime is a great all-round package and is a must buy for any Vita owners that enjoy the genre. An in-depth strategy title has been a long time coming for the Vita platform and it doesn't get much better than this.


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