Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Snow Drift

I will grant you that Snow Drift is not necessarily a Christmas game. It's snowy, however, so it's damn near close enough that I'm gonna review it anyway, especially since I don't see a speck of snow out my window as I write. Need a bit of the white stuff in my life, whether it comes packaged with Santa or not.


Snow Drift's concept is simple, 'cause as far as I can tell, there's no story whatsoever in the game. You are a happy-looking yeti who likes to drift on ice, and you do so at the expense of everything else around you. No wonder your fellow wildlife wants to bring you down.

I guess a game like Snow Drift doesn't REALLY need a story, though I bet having one, even something small, would have enriched the end package. Needless to say, however, the purpose of Snow Drift is survival. You slide your way through a bunch of levels using your yeti muscles and quick reflexes. You can only slide on ice, and sliding is the only way to defeat enemies, so circumventing dangers is often more perilous than it sounds.


For the most part, Snow Drift operates as promised. Arrow keys for guidance, hold down to slide on ice, hit up to jump and to stop sliding. Nice and simple - only every now and then you'll find your movements going awry. The programming's not flawless, and since you're often over endless pits cheap deaths abound.

Though this doesn't necessarily fall into the realm of controls, I should also note that hit detection isn't always one hundred percent in Snow Drift, especially near spikes. Your jumps need to be absolutely perfect to succeed most of the time.


Snow Drift is a nicely-polished game graphically. The aesthetics are seamless, simple and fun, and not a single enemy that I ever encountered looked more threatening than, say, a cuddly polar bear. I especially liked the yeti itself, a bouncy, carefree soul with a funny cocksure stance. Good protagonist.


Snow Drift employs a small handful of techno beats that are appropriately cheerful, but not quite what I'd expect of a game in the North Pole. They're also repeated over and over, so, um, off goes the music, no matter how good it is.

Challenge Rating

Snow Drift is pretty hard, both for good and bad reasons. It's a difficult game thanks to some solid level layouts, but it's also difficult because player control isn't as tight as it could be.

My biggest gripe, however, stemmed from the camera. Unlike in most platforming games Snow Drift's camera tends to swing around wildly, to the point that you'll often have to make blind jumps between platforms and hope for the best. A fixed camera would have been much better.


Snow Drift is a good game marred by problematic execution. I don't think it would take many tweaks to turn Snow Drift into a much better game, which, as far as browser titles go, should be pretty dang easy.


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