I’ve had my eye on Freshly Frosted since playing a demo at Steam Next Fest and with its full release yesterday, I’m delighted to say Freshly Frosted is one of my favourite puzzle games of the last decade. It is simple to understand but fiendish in its level design and will keep you entertained and satisfied for hours.
Whilst it looks like an automation game, Freshly Frosted is more like a train track style game – just with donuts on conveyor belts. Donuts get dispensed on a grid shaped level from various ovens and need to reach various countertops. Each countertop will only accept a certain type of donut and there’s five types. Plain, frosting, sprinkles, cream and cherries. The crux here is that if you want to make a cherry donut, you have to add on the three other topping first in that order to then add the cherry and get the ultimate topped donut. These mechanics are outlines over the first ten levels and then from there, you are on a rollercoaster ride.
As a player, all you are doing is laying down conveyor belts and the levels are formed in ways that leave you little space for manoeuvre. You will be initially looking at how you can snake conveyor belts around each other to deliver the goods but after about 48 levels of increasing difficulty around that, Freshly Frosted starts adding new tricks. A divider block has a swiping rod that pushes donuts left, then right, thus creating forks in your conveyor belt. This means you can have loops of conveyor belts spiralling off into new paths and adds complexity. There are also pusher robots that when they see a donut of a certain style, it’ll push it off the conveyor belt. You’ll need to build to catch these and often its like building exit ramps off of endless loops. Things get tricky but you can always use logic to get through these 144 puzzles. I also found the option to skip a couple of levels helpful too if your brain just gets stuck.
Whilst the puzzles are superbly put together, its everything that gels with it that elevates Freshly Frosted to my “favourite games” tier. It is so satisfying to play. The ambient music when building the donut factory is chill, along with calm pastel colours and a relaxed, almost soft spoken ASMR voice over. There is a story going on about a girl who is trying to calm and unscramble her thoughts but as she is a foodie, her brains thoughts are like donuts. When you turn on the factory, a bright and colourful synth song will kick in and the donuts rhythmically move around. The donuts move as a kick drum, the toppings added as a snare and the other mechanics are like cymbals. It gives such a huge dopamine hit seeing your work come to life, its genuinely cheery. There’s an element of rhythmic synesthesia to it too that caps it all off. It’s also worth noting that whilst the game does have a lot of colour defined gameplay mechanics, if you have visual impairments, each station looks different too so you can still enjoy the experience. I also want to highlight the hint system which drops a few conveyor belts into place to help you along without solving the level for you. It’s like adding 5 jigsaw pieces to the board to let you build off it but doesn’t remove the satisfying result of completing the level.
Put simply, Freshly Frosted is perfectly formed. From fantastic theming to brain melting puzzles in the late game to being easy to pick up but tricky to put down – this is a gem. Easily my favourite puzzle game of 2022 but equally deserving a place on my all time favourites list – this is a game I urge you to devour. A perfect ten.
Review copy provided by developer.
Freshly Frosted is a masterpiece in puzzling and earns a place on my favourite games of all time list. Buy this now.
Easy to understand rules, constantly increasing complexity.
The dopamine hit of satisfaction seeing, hearing and feeling your factory come to life each level is superb.
Wholesome through and through.
Not a push over in the slightest - this will test your brain.
Undo, redo, restart, stop and start - all the required controls for your puzzle needs are here.
If you are on a juice cleanse and afraid of getting hungry - this won't help.
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