Review: A Good Snowman is Hard to Build

Review: A Good Snowman is Hard to Build
4

Platforms:

Windows PC, Mac, Linux, Steam

Game Name:

A Good Snowman is Hard to Build

Publisher(s):

Draknek

Developer(s):

Alan Hazelden , Benjamin Davis

Genre(s):

Puzzle

Release Date:

Feb 25, 2015

A Good Snowman is Hard to Find – What We Think:

A Good Snowman is Hard to Build probably makes you think of Frozen, rather than an indie game, so it’s for the best that the two have something in common. “Do You Want to Build a Snowman?” is a fine song and an accurate description of the gameplay in A Good Snowman is Hard to Build, and both are highly enjoyable in their own particular ways.

Roll Up! Roll Up!

At its core, A Good Snowman is Hard to Build – from British developers Alan Hazelden and Benjamin Davis – is a simple puzzle game in which you have to build a variety of different snowmen (and snowwomen). Each snowperson is composed of a stack of three snowballs of diminishing size, while the puzzles themselves can include anywhere from one to three snow people. You have to arrange them all in the proper order, with the largest snowball at the bottom and the smallest snowball at the top.

 

A Good Snowman Is Hard To Find Trio
Screenshot courtesy of Steam

The challenge comes from the layout of the game world, as well as the uneven distribution of snow throughout. A Good Snowman is Hard to Build takes place in a hedge garden divided into a series of rooms. You can’t move on to the next chamber until you’ve assembled all the snowmen in the one before it.

Sisyphus Catches Frostbite

The catch is that smaller snowballs get bigger if rolled through snow (at least until reaching maximum size), so if you’re not careful you can find yourself with either too much or too little to complete your creations. Sometimes you’ll need to use larger snowballs to clear pathways for smaller ones, lest you find yourself with three snow torsos and no snow heads. Conversely, some areas have exactly enough snow to build the required team, so you’ll need to make sure you utilize all of the materials.

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A Good Snowman Is Hard To Find Garden
Screenshot courtesy of Steam

There’s not much more to say than that. The puzzle design is reminiscent of many other games (digital and otherwise), but A Good Snowman is Hard to Build is still pleasantly challenging in ways that will force you to think. It may not be terribly novel, but it is effective. I enjoyed assembling the various snowmen, and I would happily go back for more if the developers conjured up another blizzard.

In For A Quick Cold One

In that regard, the most noteworthy criticism is that the game is unusually short. A Good Snowman is Hard to Build can comfortably be completed in two hours, or even less if you’re quick with the solutions. I happen to appreciate a shorter game, but if raw value is an important consideration, then you might want something more substantial.

 

A Good Snowman Is Hard To Find Hmmm
Screenshot courtesy of Steam

All of the other design elements are perfectly satisfactory. The bright animations are lovely, and the soundtrack is delightful in a way that recalls the idyllic images that people conjure when they say they like winter. It’s the kind of lighthearted vision that makes you want to play in the snow because it makes you forget how cold the snow actually is, providing a dose of uniquely Canadian nostalgia after the harsh winter we’ve been having here in the north.

A Frozen Heart Worth Mining

If you prefer warmer climes, then A Good Snowman is Hard to Build is a great way to get a taste of snow without having to pull on a pair of mittens. A Good Snowman is Hard to Build is an engaging puzzler that doesn’t overstay its welcome, making it well worth a look if regular snowmen no longer provide a challenge.

Get A Good Snowman Is Hard To Build on Steam

Rating: ★★★★☆ 

Watch the trailer for A Good Snowman is Hard To Build below:

Eric Weiss

Eric is a Toronto based video game critic and theatre practitioner. He is currently a regular contributor at Dork Shelf, while past creative writing credits include the stage plays The Handy Man Can (2008 Montreal Fringe Festival) and Shredder (2009 McGill Drama Festival) and the video game Apocalypse Later (TOJam 2012). Follow him on Twitter @Harry_Houdini.

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