The latest update to Frozen Cortex means that when you’re smashing futuristic American football-playing robots into the ground you can do it while wearing a snazzy holographic hat.
There’s a lot more to the update than that, though I’ve spent an inordinate amount of time fiddling with my team’s appearance, It adds a full story campaign mode and permadeath league, too.
Frozen Cortex has been in Early Access since March, 2014 and until now you would have spent your time in one-on-one multiplayer matches with other beta testers. The offline play comes in three flavours: Knockout, the Global Cortex League, and the Random League mode.
The Global Cortex League is the most traditional mode. You play against other teams in weekly fixtures and try to work your way to the top. You can spend your winnings on new players and, if you’re confident place a couple of bets for an added bonus.
In the Knockout format you must win every single game. It’s very, very difficult from what I played. A loss wipes your league score and you have to start again. If you like the punishment of roguelike permadeath then this mode’s been built for you, you masochist.
As you win games you’re rewarded with new players, so the longer you play the more varied and able your team will become.
Threaded into the Knockout and Global Cortex leagues is a story about match-fixing. The details come across in pre-match interviews, phone calls from rival coaches, and updates on the Cortex sports channel.
The Random League mode throws you against randomly generated teams, meaning the difficulty fluctuates and you can never quite know what you’re getting into before the match starts.
I played a fair bit of Frozen Cortex over the weekend and for the wusses like me there’s an easy mode variant of each league type. Other variants add things like timed turns and let you knock enemy players out for the rest of a turn.
The update adds a slew of customisation options - you can change the robots’ faces, armour, hats, and stadium designs. Your trophies can become part of the stadium scenery, too.
This was the last major update for Frozen Cortex ahead of its full release later in February. The next updates are largely built to address bug fixes and balance.