Simple enough to grasp within seconds, complex enough to have you playing for hours on end. Freshly Frosted is a delicious delight.
The puzzle scene is full of options. You’ve got those games which will pick you up and spit you out without a care in the world, whilst others try to drag you in, only to fail to land the addictive needs required.
Freshly Frosted is different. Delicately created, it’s a puzzler which will keep you utterly relaxed, as you go about trying to solve the tests put in front of you, immersed more than you could ever imagine by the tipping and tapping of a soundtrack which complements the action.
But let’s hold up and get back to where we should be. Freshly Frosted is an in-house creation of those from The Quantum Astrophysicists Guild. A game in which you are put in charge of a donut factory, it’s up to you to create the conveyor belt systems needed in order to keep the factory moving and to fulfil all sales.
It starts simply, with an oven unit that throws out plain donuts (of various shapes as things progress). Initial levels will have you creating a conveyor from that oven, directly to a delivery counter, whisking your sweet sensations off to the neverland for the folks of the earth to enjoy.
From there, complexity is slowly filtered in. Machines are added that coat a glaze onto your treats, and then sprinkles, cream and even a cherry on top. Creating a snake-like system which winds its way through each of the stages, passing the machines in order is your task. It may seem complicated, but the first few dozen stages that the QAG team throw out really are fairly simple.
But then it ramps up. Duplication comes in, as does the use of single bits of the belt systems to shift a variety of donuts; donuts waiting in line for a space to be made. Machines that push donuts from one conveyor to the next are then integrated, alongside path splitters, fixed conveyor systems and more. But far from these levels becoming frustrating, they simply heighten the state of sticky flux that you are in. Granted, a few of the 144 that are available become taxing affairs, but for the most part Freshly Frosted is a considerate puzzler.
Being able to skip puzzles helps alleviate any issues, whilst a hint system should be utilised before you ever get that far. Your end goal is to complete a box of a dozen puzzles (or at least, as near as damn it complete) before being able to move onto the next, where further mechanisms and donut types are dropped in. It’s complicated by the fact that some delivery counters will only accept specific donut types, with a running total of what is needed for this factory to run impeccably always available in the top left of your screen.
A gorgeously serene soundtrack hammers away with every beat of your donut machines, and an equally slight, softly spoken narrator quips as every level plays out. Is any of that needed? Not really, as the puzzles that Freshly Frosted has as its backbone are more than enough to keep anyone playing, but it’s all very nice to have nonetheless.
Creating these long snakes of conveyor belts is simple to do, with an easy to handle hold of the A button and movement of thumbstick or D-Pad, dropping pieces in place. Admittedly, things can and do get confusing in the bigger levels, particularly when multiple donut types are using the same piece of track, as you hope to send them around the factory multiple times, but stay focused and it all just seems to come together neatly. And when it doesn’t? Resetting the entire board is a single button press away, or you can amend individual pieces of track just as easily.
We’ve been taken in massively by the variety of levels found in Freshly Frosted, rarely needing to call on the ‘Impatient Mode’ which helps push you through the game at speed. I guess it could be pointed out that the soundtrack does get a tad samey after a while, and that may wish to be muted after a few hours, but on the flip side, we’re sitting here with our finest donut machines running as we type, still feeling every last beat.
A joyous puzzler that happily puts you in a zen-like trance, Freshly Frosted is stunningly sweet. When you consider the sheer number of levels and pretty low asking price, this is one that you should be taking a bite from pronto.
Freshly Frosted can be downloaded from the Xbox Store
- A huge amount of puzzles
- New mechanics are integrated well
- A puzzler which can easily help you achieve a zen-like mood
- The soundtrack is utterly lovely
- … although the audio can get a bit samey
- Massive thanks for the free copy of the game go to - The Quantum Astrophysicists Guild
- Formats - Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, PS4, PS5, Nintendo Switch, PC
- Version reviewed - Xbox One on Xbox Series X
- Release date - 10 June 2022
- Launch price from - £8.39