By Chris Melchin / March 30th, 2017
|Release Date||March 16, 2017|
I don’t consider myself to be particularly skilled at 2D platformers. However, I figured it would be interesting to challenge myself by taking on Snowflake’s Chance, a platformer starring a rabbit trying to escape from the Pit. The game handily defeated me – over and over again – and as such, I never did finish the entire game, but considering how the story is really not the game’s main focus, I think I’ve played enough of the game to form a complete opinion of it.
Snowflake’s Chance gives you 99 lives (or “chances”) to get through a series of connected levels, in the form of layers moving upward through the Pit from the starting location. Because of this design, it’s possible to fall down into earlier areas, forcing you to climb back up or waste a life to restart. There’s also no real way to restore lives, aside from getting back three lives after getting a game over by catching 15,001 bunnies one at a time in a minigame, without missing or you’ll need to start over from the beginning.
The visual design of the game is gorgeous, with a hand-drawn style that makes the game look like a painting in motion. Progressing upwards through the 21 levels leads the player through a series of distinctive environments. There are lots of different ways you can die, such as burning in lava, being dogpiled by blue monkeys wielding a variety of sharp objects, getting speared on spikes, and others. Approaching the central shaft of the Pit will cause the music to slow down, with the screen flashing with different images and colors as you jump from one side to the other. The music is also outstanding, making retrying the same areas over and over again less unbearable than they might be otherwise.
Snowflake’s Chance repeatedly uses the word “nightmare” to refer to itself, which is quite appropriate. The difficulty is merciless, with incredibly limited base health, an inability to fight most enemies, and bizarre physics making some jumps harder than they might otherwise be. It’s impossible to jump while pushing up against a wall as Snowflake begins trying to run up it, meaning that to get up most ledges the easiest way is to do a standing jump and move towards the ledge as you reach the jump’s apex. It can be particularly difficult to get used to jumping up onto floating platforms or onto ledges that jut out from the wall, since moving too early will cause you to fall down, which can sometimes lead to your death by enemies or environmental hazards. There’s no temporary invincibility after taking damage, so even enemies that don’t kill you in one hit can take you out in seconds if they attack quickly enough. You can get health-restoring pickups and powerups, with effects such as improving your attack, doubling your base health, or giving you a double jump.
There are also monkey paws and crab claws to use as keys, and various small animals to use as weapons or distractions. However, not only do you lose any upgrades and items every time you die, but certain item and enemy positions shuffle, creating a slight randomization to each attempt. Enemy movements and stage hazard behavior are also somewhat randomized, which can make them difficult to deal with considering Snowflake’s very limited total health. It’s also possible to die upon respawning, since respawning works by dropping you from your furthest checkpoint down the main shaft, and if you don’t immediately move towards a ledge it’s possible to either fall further than necessary or hit a hazard and die. The game controls smoothly once you get used to the physics, and it is incredibly rewarding to finally get through an area you’ve wasted countless lives trying to finish.
As I mentioned at the head of the review, I wasn’t good enough at Snowflake’s Chance to be able to finish the game in a timely manner for this review. The furthest I was able to get was the ninth level, running through all 99 lives several times in my many attempts to get further. It’s the kind of game that you gradually grind your way through since a particular area becomes significantly less difficult after finishing it once and you learn what you need to do. Each time you get a game over and need to start over, you can get further with more lives remaining. I’m sure I’d be able to get through it with enough time and patience, but the ninth level was the best I could do without taking significantly longer to get this review written.
If you manage to get through the game in your first set of lives, Snowflake’s Chance is not particularly long, likely only running a few hours if you move slowly. Getting through all 99 lives generally took me between two and three hours after I got the hang of the game, meaning that if you use trial and error to get through the whole game it could likely run you 20 hours or more. That makes a good amount of content for $6.99 USD. Even if the physics are unusual, there’s a good amount here for people who enjoy challenging platformers.
Review copy provided by publisher
CarlMorganArtPC reviewReviewSnowflake's ChanceSteam