Starting today, and on every Wednesday before Christmas Day, I will be presenting you with a flash game that is winter themed. This week, I’m going to share with you perhaps the most adorable flash game I’ve played all year, Snow Tale.
Snow Tale is a neat platformer that stars a little penguin (at least I think it’s a penguin) wearing earmuffs and gloves. Already sounds adorable, right? Of course, but this little guy also has a mean streak, he loves to throw snowballs. Throwing snowballs is the main mechanic in the game and is mainly used to freeze enemies. To be defeated, enemies must be kicked into a wall before they thaw. Frozen enemies can also be used to take out other enemies in its path, sound familiar?
The first snowball you throw will always be maximum size, but if you throw consecutive snowballs they will get smaller with each toss. This doesn’t affect the main game much, but I believe bigger snowballs do more damage, something that’s important during boss fights. Snowballs do have unique behavior depending on the character’s position. If you throw one while standing on the ground, it will be thrown in a downward manner. However, if you throw one while jumping it will arc. Getting both techniques down is essential for some tricky spots late in the game.
As a platformer, you experience all the traditional elements: falling platforms, moving platforms, fire, spikes, pits, etc. Snow Tale starts off quite easy, but the inclusion of these elements makes the game quite tricky in the last stretch of levels. Of course, having control of your character is important when playing a platformer, and this guy controls well, most of the time. His movements are smooth, the snowballs take some getting used to, and the jumping can be tricky.
Jumping forward isn’t too much of a hassle, but the character’s momentum has to be accounted for when clearing pits, otherwise you might slide off a ledge. Double jumping feels a bit heavy, but ultimately works, though you can’t easily change direction in the air. It is possible to change direction, but is only useful for cancelling bad jumps, not for making miraculous saves like in most Super Mario Bros. games. You should avoid taking damage (you only have three hearts and there are no health pickups) as much as possible, so getting control of the jump is important. Though, it doesn’t matter much if you fail because there are an infinite number of lives.
There are 15 levels in Snow Tale that explore three different themes: outside during the day, outside during the night, and a mysterious cave area. There is little variety in the themes, much like there is little variety in the enemy type. Most enemies can easily be dispatched by freezing and kicking, with only one having a different, but not quite original, pattern. Though, there is enough variety to keep the game interesting with a few interactive surprises thrown in mid-game.
There are three boss fights in Snow Tale, and they can be best compared to Dr. Robotnik (yeah, I said it) battles. You will encounter the same baddie in each battle, but under different conditions. During one fight he rides in a machine that has three three drill bits attached, these bits allow him to attack you by rising from the ground, very Robotnik-esque. It’s up to you to find the best moments to throw snowballs at his weak spot, which is always the glass protecting his head.
Snow Tale is adorable around every corner, from the sprites of each character to the endearing environments and backgrounds, and of course, the game’s soundtrack. Much like the visuals, the game’s soundtrack is also quite adorable. It features catchy and calming jingles, although there are only a few tunes, which is a bit disappointing.
Snow Tale is fairly basic in terms of its level design and straight forward platforming gameplay, but the Snowball mechanic is neat and the overall world of Snow Tale is incredibly enjoyable. There is a cool feature where you enter a house and it becomes transparent which I wish would have been used more. For the most part, Snow Tale is a flash game that many gamers, specifically fans of platformers, can enjoy for about an hour.