Game Reviews

1941 Frozen Front

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1941 Frozen Front

Hitler's war against the Soviets on the Eastern Front was one of World War II's bloodiest campaigns, and ultimately led to the collapse of Nazi Germany's finely-tuned war machine.

Cited by historians as the key reason for the demise of the Axis forces, the frozen battle lines of this region present the backdrop to HandyGames's latest strategy offering, and the war of attrition which occurred 70 years ago is neatly replicated in the palm of your hand - but perhaps not in the manner in which you would expect.

1941 Frozen Front allows you to marshal the forces of the Nazis or Soviets, with each army having the same unit types and general gameplay.

Missions feature objectives such as capturing supply depots and wiping out all opposing forces, and also showcase subtasks such as destroying a certain number of unit types.

Your army consists of 2D sprites which trundle around a hexagonal grid map. Moving, attacking, and other activities all consume action points, and when these are expended you must end your turn and await your enemy's response.

Trench warfare

There's a surprising amount of depth to 1941 Frozen Front. Units can dig themselves in for additional protection and supply trucks dart around the battlefield replenishing health and other expendable resources.

The fog of war means you rarely have a complete picture of the entire battlefield, and this keeps you on your toes as you send out scouting parties to track down hostile stragglers.

However, while 1941 Frozen Front has the basics in place, it shoots itself in the foot with its irksome insistence on putting in-app purchases in your face at every given opportunity.

The prime offender is the advertising banner which is present at all times at the top of the screen - the only way to remove this is to pay a fee to "unlock" the full game - something you are reminded of regularly.

Paying this fee may remove the banner, but it doesn't change other elements of 1941 Frozen Front. Gold is required whenever you need to build or repair anything in the game, and is awarded for taking down enemies units.

Predictably, the rate at which you win gold is too slow to balance out all the required costs - so just as predictably, you are repeatedly reminded that this resource can be obtained via an in-app purchase.

Shell shocked

It wouldn't be so bad if 1941 Frozen Front were balanced so that gold wasn't such an issue. However, the odds are often stacked so highly against you that there's no way of conducting a clean, clinical campaign because you're certain to take a beating and therefore feel the temptation to reach for your wallet and gain some more gold.

In the end, 1941 Frozen Front is undone by its desire to part you from your cash. There's unquestionably a deep and enjoyable strategy title here, and one which calls to mind the likes of Advance Wars and the PC classic Battle Isle, but things are unbalanced by the developer's hunger for money - even after you've coughed up the required amount to remove the obnoxious adverts.

1941 Frozen Front

1941 Frozen Front has the capacity to be a deeply rewarding tactical experience but the title is clearly constructed around in-app purchasing, which destroys the balance and leaves a sour taste in the mouth
Damien  McFerran
Damien McFerran
Damien's mum hoped he would grow out of playing silly video games and gain respectable employment. Perhaps become a teacher or a scientist, that kind of thing. Needless to say she now weeps openly whenever anyone asks how her son's getting on these days.