Top Critic Average
Everything is stripped away, leaving two coaches to duke it out over a weird looking ball. It's how robots would design a sport if, you know, they actually liked sport. Just the bare essentials, all purity and rawness with simple rules, simple tools and a clear objective. It's a game that, at a glance, you know how to play. And you should probably go and do that.
Speaking of replays, occasionally, on a very long pass, the ball will just freeze in the air, immobile as one turn ends and another begins. It's beautiful: so much attention focused on something so seemingly trivial. The ball hangs in space, while everyone on the ground rushes to switch up their plans to take into account where it's going to land. Adaptation, anticipation, creativity: this is what strategy is all about - and this is a game that really gets it.
Frozen Cortex deserves a place in your inbox and your heart: while its stark simplicity might feel cold or even cruel at first, Mode 7 have in fact boiled the Synapse formula down to something perhaps more beautiful, burning away its impurities to leave hard diamond.
At times it can feel a bit helpless, as certain situations become unwinnable, but generally that boils down to the fault of the player earlier in the match. Frozen Cortex is a great competitive game to play either in short spurts or in longer sessions thanks to its turn-based playstyle, and has a very low barrier to entry for players.
Frozen Cortex provides that, but only with custom modes, which require patience to create and are less viable for multiplayer. As it stands, it's a one-note game whose one note is fairly enjoyable, at least for a little while.