Arctic Eggs Delicious Cigarettes
Screenshot by Destructoid

Review: Arctic Eggs

Just like mom used to make.

Nothing makes sense anymore. Buying a car to drive to work and driving to work to pay for your car made sense. Now you do that, and you still slide into debt covering the gas and insurance. At least eggs are still cheap, even with inflation.

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When I was in college and didn’t have any money, a pack of dry spaghetti was 99 cents. I’d pair it with powdered parmesan cheese. Did you know powdered parmesan cheese usually contains a high amount of cellulose? That’s an anticaking agent made from wood pulp. Sawdust. So, that probably makes it a vegetable, right? Don’t look at me like that. I was a picky eater. I didn’t eat anything close to a balanced diet until I was 25. It was then that I discovered eggs.

Arctic Eggs gets me. It knows that, in this dystopia, all you need is eggs. Then everything makes sense.

Arctic Eggs Cooking Eggs and Beer
Screenshot by Destructoid

Arctic Eggs (PC [Reviewed])
Developer: The Water Museum, cockydoody, abmarnie, Cameron Ginex
Publisher: The Water Museum
Released: May 16, 2024

Arctic Eggs takes place on what looks like the top portion of a pair of Syberian skyscrapers. You attempted to escape this hellish elevated neighborhood, but it didn’t go well. You’ve been stripped of everything, leaving you an empty shell clutching a frying pan. Your new job is to prepare eggs for the citizens.

It could be worse. Just wait until you see the prison.

You’re told that the proper way to leave your frozen vertical tomb is to simply ask the Saint of Six Stomachs for permission. However, this deity-like entity won’t even see you until you have satiated enough growling bellies.

You’re left to wander the sky-high walkways of the area, talking to everyone and finding out who wants a meal. Everyone speaks in cryptic ways, so you might not even realize until your T-Fal frying pan rises to view and food or “food” waits to drop into it. Weird to see the T-Fal branding in this game. Weird that I recognize it, though they are cheap pans.

I like my eggs sunny-side-up. Runny yolk. I gained a taste for them this way during a trip to Japan. That’s not an option in Arctic Eggs. You need to cook them on both sides, which means you’ll need to flip it part way through.

You have no fish slice, however. You might call them spatulas, but that’s kind of a modern twisting of the word. Spatulas are just big flat spoons. A fish slice (also called a turner or flipper) is what you use to turn something over in a frying pan. Without one, you’re left to flip the egg the old-fashioned way: with force.

It’s all mouse movements. You need to move and flick the mouse to push it into the air. Your position is stationary, so you can’t move the pan to catch whatever you just sent into the sky. You need to perfect the movement of allowing the food to move to the side of the pan so you can give it a flick and hopefully roll it.

Cooking a single egg is difficult to handle at first, but the scary thing is that you’re going to soon be juggling more than that. Cigarettes, fish, live cockroaches; the people of this strange, frost-covered slum have some bizarre tastes to go with their unusual way of talking.

You might wonder how much gameplay you could really stretch out of a single Mario Party mini-game, but it turns out it’s a lot. Two-and-a-half hours, maybe? I don’t know. I left it to idle in the background and now time has no meaning. As soon as you figure out how to get bacon onto its backside, it’s time to move on to something else. It doesn’t always get more challenging, but it definitely gets different.

The nightclub section provides some of the most interesting hurdles. Folks will place beer bottles in your pan. You can let it fall over and spill its innards all over the unborn, but don’t let that liquid escape the boundaries of your cookware. A drop spilled and you start over.

Yet another challenge has an empty glass fall onto the pan followed by three ice cubes. Your job is to prevent the ice from touching the pan and melting (I guess glass doesn’t transfer heat in this universe). Scratch that. Your job is to cook the food in your pan (both sides) before the ice melts. Pro tip: it takes longer for the ice to melt than it does for one side of an egg to cook. If you successfully flip the egg back onto the surface of the pan, it doesn’t matter if the glass tips out its contents; the egg will finish first.

One of my favorites was a single, pan-filling stingray. Another was a cube of grotesque meat. I’m a simple person.

Arctic Eggs Fish fry
Screenshot by Destructoid

To see the Saint of Six Stomachs, you have to appease 27 of Arctic Eggs’ 34 people. This means that, if there’s a challenge you can’t handle, you can pass on it and still finish the game. I fed everyone. I cook a mean egg.

But that isn’t easy. There are some challenges that felt like too much. Usually, just when I was about to quit, my sheer determination would pull through, and I’d clear the challenge.

What made it even more difficult is that Arctic Eggs isn’t perfect from a technical standpoint. No game is. Ever. However, early on I discovered the quick movements would sometimes result in food clipping through the bottom of the pan. More intrusively, however, if my computer stuttered for any reason, the hand would completely wig out and immediately snap to an impossible angle. Food would fly up to the rafters where the egg’s sticky yolk would no doubt glue it to the ceiling where it would stay, forgotten.

It wasn’t so bad. There’s no penalty for throwing your food skyward. You just try again.

I think this would happen specifically whenever my secondary hard drive would wake from stand-by. It’s a traditional platter drive, and I would hear it rev up around those moments. I really need to replace it. The thing is over 10 years old.

Arctic Eggs Meal Prepping
Screenshot by Destructoid

Can you fry an egg on Mount Everest? Who cares? I can’t think about that right now. I can only think about what’s directly in front of me: eggs. The only future I dream about is one where I am afforded the luxury to once again dream.

I know you can’t boil a potato on Mount Everest. Sucks for all those Yetis.

For me, I have video games. They’re a way for someone to communicate their perspective to me. There’s probably a word for that, but I’m not a thesaurus. I just cook eggs. The best eggs. Arctic Eggs understands the importance of eggs in this bleak, vapid world of ours. They’re nutritious, they’re cheap, and they’re mostly produced through mass torture. So, when we put all that together, this is the best game.

[This review is based on a retail build of the game purchased by the reviewer.]

Impressive efforts with a few noticeable problems holding them back. Won't astound everyone, but is worth your time and cash.

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Zoey Handley
Staff Writer - Zoey is a gaming gadabout. She got her start blogging with the community in 2018 and hit the front page soon after. Normally found exploring indie experiments and retro libraries, she does her best to remain chronically uncool.