Review: Freshly Frosted

Donuts have a special power. Every time I look at them being displayed in my local bakery they tend to speak to me more than anything else. I won’t say I’m addicted to them but there is certainly a craving for them. My real-life cravings for the sweet treat might have influenced my interest in Freshly Frosted, a puzzle game by The Quantum Astrophysicists Guild.

Donut dilemmas

Freshly Frosted put you in charge of organizing a donut factory. Don’t worry about making a turnover and getting your taxes filled out on time. The only thing you’re supposed to do is put in the conveyor belts from the “doughy” end to the finished “frosted, sprinkled, whipped creamed, and cherry on top” end. Each room is presented from the top down as a grid. You lay down a path to complete the puzzle. With limited room and some rules to follow this gets harder than one might think. The limited room and the pre-rendered lay-out of the frosting, sprinkle, whipped cream and cherry-on-top station make things not so straightforward.

You can’t sprinkle a donut before it’s frosted just like you can’t put a cherry on top when the whipped cream wasn’t added first. This asks for some strategic thinking before you start plotting out your conveyor belt routing. Not everyone wants a full-on decked-out donut, some customers like it soberer. To cater to everyone’s liking you are asked to deliver different variations making some puzzles more complex. After a dozen of puzzles, you fill out a box of donuts and move on to the next variation. Each new “box of donuts” introduces new mechanics making things more complex while keeping the puzzles fresh.

A dozen dozen

With a “dozen dozen” or 144 puzzle rooms you’ll have plenty of puzzles to solve. The first few dozen of rooms might be relatively simple but act as a sort of tutorial to ease you in. after about a third of the puzzles you won’t be solving them at first glance. New mechanics like merging paths, splitters, cloners, teleporters, and more will fulfill all your puzzle demands. Demanding as some puzzles might be, Freshly Frosted never feels stressful. The game is intentionally made with a certain laid-back vibe. The music and announcer’s voice have all been intended to make you feel as relaxed as possible. The pastel colors and cloudy surroundings cushion the blow of potentially not figuring out a puzzle even softer.

Freshly Frosted starts to feel a bit like a sleep meditation app merged with a tough puzzle game. This combination might sound strange… and it is… But it works. I kept trying and instead of getting frustrated I kept my zen and retraced my steps. Eventually, the “pushed” mindset led me to solve even the harder puzzle rooms. And mind you, the puzzles do get hard and complex after a while. Multiple times I had to restart (or undo) what I’ve built to start redesigning again in order to complete the puzzle. And in times I might have a whiff of frustration, the option to ask a hint was there to save me from getting out of my relaxed puzzle state. Asking a hint has no penalty attached to it further emphasizing the aura of relaxation this game is aiming for.

Conclusion

Freshly Frosted is a fun puzzle game. It shows casual gaming can be challenging too. Best consumed (just like donuts) in small (bliss-like) chunks.

8/10

Tested on Xbox One S