A Good Snowman Is Hard To Build
Gameplay 9
Graphics 9
Sound 9

A Good Snowman Is Hard To Build is a thoroughly entertaining and very charming puzzle title that is suitable for players of all ages. The beautiful 2D visuals and excellent audio complements the addictive puzzle solving gameplay, which makes for a memorable experience. I would have liked to see a few more puzzles to solve, because the ones on offer are so enjoyable. This is the perfect game for when you feel like something relaxing and non-violent.

Gameplay: The game is challenging and addictive without being frustrating or unfair.

Graphics: Charming visuals with plenty of great touches.

Sound: The soundtrack is great as are the ambient sound effects

Summary 9.0 Outstanding
Gameplay 0
Graphics 0
Sound 0
Summary rating from user's marks. You can set own marks for this article - just click on stars above and press "Accept".
Accept
Summary 0.0 Terrible

A Good Snowman Is Hard To Build

Developer: Alan Hazelden, Benjamin Davis | Publisher: Draknek | Release Date: 2015 | Genre: Indie / Puzzle / Casual | Website: Official Website | Purchase: Steam / itch.io

While I knew that a good snowman is hard to build I didn’t realize that it was an activity also enjoyed by monsters. In this charming puzzle title the process also involves a bit more thought than lumping together as much snow as you can find and then sticking a carrot and scarf on it. On the plus side there is no risk of frostbite and the activity isn’t dependent on the weather.

As the title of this game makes abundantly clear, your goals in A Good Snowman Is Hard To Build, revolves entirely around building Snowmen. Your character might be a giant monster with stringy arms and legs, but his penchant for naming and hugging the snowmen means he is more adorable than creepy. As Alan Hazelden, one of the original creators of Sokobond, had a hand in the puzzle design it should come as no surprise that finding the solutions involves a fair amount of head scratching. Snowmen are comprised of three different sized balls of snow. Your job is to create these snowballs and then moving them into the correct position to create the snowman. It looks deceptively simple, but like any good puzzle game, looks can be deceiving.

Each puzzle is set in its own little area with snow and grass on the ground. Roll a snowball over grass and it will remain the same size. Roll it over snow however and it will grow larger. The large snowballs, which form the base of the snowmen, are the easiest as after they have come into contact with snowy ground three times they cannot grow any larger. Medium snowballs can only touch snowy ground twice and small snowballs can’t touch snowy ground at all if you want any hope of successfully crating your snowman. Luckily, rolling any snowball over snowy ground will expose the grass underneath, which means most puzzles involve maneuvering the largest snowball in a manner that clears a path for the medium and small ones. You can only roll the snowballs in four directions though, and in addition to the puzzle areas being rather small they are usually cluttered with trees, benches, bird baths and other bits of scenery as well. You can push smaller snowballs up and over larger ones, but not vice versa. Your monster also cannot pass through snowballs or the scenery, which means a lot of times you might know exactly where to put the snowballs, but not how to get them there.

Figuring out the puzzle solutions involves a fair bit of trial and error, but thankfully you can reverse all your steps, one by one, at the tap of a button. This removes the tedium of having to restart an entire area because you made one or two stupid mistakes or wanted to test out a theory. Of course, if you manage to mess things up irreparably you can also instantly reset everything to their default state and try again from scratch. Seeing as some rooms might require you to build up to three individual snowmen, things can get tricky very quickly and that undo button comes in very handy. Since there is nothing that can kill you and you usually have a couple of puzzle rooms you can tackle at a time the game is very relaxing. New areas open up as you complete old ones and everything is connected which makes it look like a park hedge maze. It is quite easy to make your way between the rooms, but there is also a unique “fast travel” system which is accessed via the park benches you find everywhere.

When it comes to the visuals it is hard not be charmed by the game. Benjamin Davis is responsible for the graphics and did a great job with the characters. Since the whole game takes place in the same park there isn’t much variety when it comes to the look of separate areas, but the snowmen more than make up for this. In addition to your monster naming every single snowman they all have a different look as well. From top hats and mustaches to beanies and sunglasses, half the fun is seeing how the snowman you are busy constructing will look when it is done. There is no need to interact with anything except the snowballs, but pressing towards any of the scenery objects will usually cause your monster to perform a short animation. This is nice as apart from some butterflies flitting about the game does look a bit motionless.

The audio in the game was handled by Ryan Roth, known for his work on quite a few great indie titles, and he did a excellent job creating a soundscape that matches the somewhat melancholic feeling of the game. The music is atmospheric without becoming obtrusive and when you complete a puzzle the music in that area also stops. The sound effects are also great with bird songs heard in the background as well as the footsteps of your monster. Interacting with the game is as easy as can be as you simply have to move your monster in one of four directions. If it comes into contact with a snowball it will automatically start pushing it. Bear in mind though that snowballs can only be pushed and not pulled, so if you shove one against the edges of the room you might have no choice but to rewind a few steps. The grid based movement felt a bit fiddly when using an analog controller, but because it is so easy to rewind bad moves it didn’t bother me too much. Playing with a keyboard felt a bit more precise though as I made far fewer accidental moves with it.

In total it took me about two hours to complete all the puzzles in A Good Snowman is Hard To Build and despite getting stuck a few times I enjoyed every minute of the experience. You can also reset your progress in the game if you want to have another go at the puzzles after completing everything. The puzzles are tricky at times, but it always feels like a solution is just within your grasp. Experienced puzzle fans might find some of the early puzzles a bit too easy, but the gentle learning curve means anyone can enjoy this game. The game has launched with a rather innovative “pay what the temperature is” feature, where the price is based on the temperature in London, so you might want to wait for a bit of bad weather to grab the game at a bargain. Don’t hesitate too long though, as this method will only be used for the first two weeks after the launch of the game.

<

System Requirements

  • OS: Windows XP
  • Memory: 1 GB RAM
  • Hard Drive: 100 MB available space
  • OS: Windows 7
  • Memory: 2 GB RAM
  • Hard Drive: 100 MB available space

Related posts

Indiana Jones® and the Fate of Atlantis™

Indiana Jones® and the Fate of Atlantis™

This is obviously a must-have title for Indiana Jones and Point & Click Adventure fans alike. Although showing its age it's still a great game from a company that was at the pinnacle of the genre back in their heyday. No self respecting adventure gamer should pass up on this one. Gameplay: Pure point & click goodness. Graphics: Pretty good back in the day but obviously dated now. Sound: A nice soundtrack and good effects for the time.

>observer_

>observer_

Observer is a slow-paced, cyberpunk themed thriller from the same developers that brought us Layers of Fear. Despite the change of setting, Observer shares a lot of similarities with LOF, especially during the surreal hacking sequences where you invade the thoughts of other people and experience their worst fears. The incredibly detailed visuals and gripping environments make Observer a game that is hard to put down, but the slower pace and lack of control beyond observing your surroundings and scanning things might deter the action crowd. Overall, it is a title that all fans of the cyberpunk genre will enjoy and it offers an enthralling experience despite some technical issues. Gameplay: There is little to do apart from exploring your surroundings and scanning things for clues, but the game remains engrossing nonetheless. Graphics: The abundance of post-processing effects might be a bit much for some players, but there is no faulting the highly detailed visuals. Sound: The soundtrack is just as tense as you’d expect from a title like this and it is great to hear Rutger Hauer lending his vocals to the lead character.

Wooden Sen’SeY

Wooden Sen'SeY

Wooden Sen'SeY is perfect for gamers looking for an old school platform challenge but prefer modern visuals. With nine unique and varied levels as well as an addictive Time Attack mode, there is a lot to like about Wooden Sen'SeY. It can all be over a bit soon if you rush the game, but completionists will be busy for ages. Gameplay: Old school platform action at its best. Graphics: Beautiful and varied. Sound: Very fitting tunes for each level.

Tiny Thief

Tiny Thief

Tiny Thief is definitely worth checking out, especially if you don't have access to a mobile device. The charming visuals and interesting scenes will suck you in and the puzzles will ensure that you have fun without getting bored. I had a lot of fun with this game and absolutely recommend it, especially if you can pick it up in a good sale. Gameplay: Not too taxing, but loads of fun. Graphics: Cute, papercraft style visuals. Sound: Loads of sound effects bring the gameworld to life.

Pixel Puzzles 2: Birds

Pixel Puzzles 2: Birds

Decaying Logic definitely didn’t rest on their laurels with this one as it improves on its predecessors in numerous areas. The ability to rotate puzzle pieces allows for a greater challenge and the auto-save feature for individual puzzles is definitely helpful. Other additions, such as the bottom tray, zoom feature and increased area for floating puzzle pieces also adds to the enjoyment. Gameplay. A return to the calm and relaxing atmosphere of Pixel Puzzles: Japan, but now with an even bigger challenge. Graphics: Great if you are a fan of birds. Sounds: Tranquil and relaxing audio. Buy Pixel Puzzles 2: Birds From Green Man Gaming Pixel Puzzles 2: Birds

Hitman: Codename 47

Hitman: Codename 47

While Hitman: Codename 47 was a good game in its time it requires a lot of patience to get the most out of it. The lack of checkpoints or save spots means that one mistake can take you all the way back to the start of a mission. I also encountered quite a few bugs and crashes during my time with the game which is a pity. Check it out to see where it all started, but don't expect it to blow you away. Gameplay: Entertaining but expect lots of trial-and-error as well as needless repetition. Graphics: Looking very dated at this point. Sound: Flat voice acting, but the sound effects are good.

4 Comments

  1. Rummer82 February 25, 2015
    Reply

    The weather thing is a neat idea, but its cheaper now on Steam so im just going to grab it there. I also predict a lot of butthurt from previous buyers if there is a sudden headwave in London.

    • GAMERamble February 25, 2015
      Reply

      The price goes up with the temperature, so it will be a sudden cold flap that might upset early buyers!

  2. Britman February 25, 2015
    Reply

    Looks like it could be cool 😉

  3. WildheartX February 26, 2015
    Reply

    So the big question is, how often does the temp in London go below zero?

Leave a comment

8 + 18 =