Ever wanted to plot, scheme, and stab your friends in the back? Then Project Winter is just the game for you. Following a premise similar to that of table-top Werewolf, Mafia, or Gmod’s Trouble in Terrorist Town, Project Winter puts eight players on an arctic wasteland. Their goal: to collaborate in finding enough resources to put in a rescue call and get the hell out of there. That said, two of the players are secretly traitors and they must scheme to sabotage the group’s efforts without being caught.
If you’ve ever wanted the Werewolf experience online, Project Winter is a great addition to your Steam library. One of the best features of the game is that it includes proximity voice communication, meaning that you can’t hear the players that aren’t near you. If you’re a wily traitor, that means separating the survivors and cutting them down one by one which adds a further layer of tension to the game. There are also walkie-talkies in there so that you can communicate with those you trust, but you never know who is listening in!
The moments I spent playing Project Winter were tense, but very fun. Trying to decipher who is the traitor by listening to audio queues or sneaking around hoping not to get caught adds a further layer of fun to the genre of parlor games — a genre that is enhanced thanks to the digital capabilities of gaming. The aesthetics of the game are also quite striking and give it a breath of fresh air compared to everything else out there.
There are, however, some shortcomings in the game. Although not entirely necessary, the lack of music during the games makes for quite the drab experience. I realize that music might block out critical information you could receive through the proximity voice chat, but there are times when you play the game that it just feels strangely empty. When the survivors manage to get to the third objective and a rescue vehicle is on the way, an urgent soundtrack begins to play which adds to the tension and is a great addition to the overall experience. I just wish there was more of that throughout the game.
I had a great time playing Project Winter, and one of my favorite things to come out of it was the small community that I built during my time there. Since the game’s player-base was so small, given that this was pre-release, a lot of the people I played with were repeats. As such, everyone became more light-hearted and comfortable with each other — making the moments when you got stabbed in the back even more poignant. That said, I wonder if that same feeling will be present with the game’s full release. Project Winter is best played with a group of people you know, and is a blast when you’re playing with close friends. But how difficult will it be to get eight of your friends online at the same time and get them all on the same page about playing one game? That’s something to take into consideration when thinking about buying Project Winter.
For those wondering about the replayability of the game, I do have this to say. While of course the mechanics of the game are simple enough so that you can get the hang of it quite quick, Project Winter does offer something to keep you coming. After every match you earn points depending on how well you performed and those points can be traded in for cosmetic items like skins, hats or goggles. While not the most riveting of progression systems, it’s something to consider for those who want to get more out of the game.
Will Project Winter be the game that occupies your every waking moment for the next few months? Probably not. After all, the game’s mechanics are quite simple once you get the hang of it. In terms of the parlor game genre it doesn’t add much. But it doesn’t have to. Project Winter offers a fun experience for you and your friends, and like many games out there right now, it shows the promise of much more as it gets updated. For now, keep Project Winter in the back of your mind until the time comes when you need a game to play with your friends. And once you do, get to stabbing their backs, ya filthy traitor.
Thanks to the developers for the early access code. Project Winter releases today, so check it out if it sounds appealing to you!