|Later levels in the game are quite colourful|
|Reviewed by:||Mark Goninon|
|Release Date:||8 Oct 2022|
|Time played:||12 hours|
It's an AGS game Jim, but not as we know it, not as we know it…
This is the fourth game by Dave Seaman that Choicest Games has reviewed. All of his games have been built upon the Adventure Game Studio (AGS) engine, an engine similar to Sierra's Creative Interpreter (SCI) which was used to develop many of their point ‘n' click adventures in the 1990s. While Captain Disaster in Death Has a Million Stomping Boots is a game that fits this mould, he's developed a few non-adventure games with AGS, including The Rat Pack which won a Monthly AGS award in 2018 for Best Non-Adventure Game.
Snow Problem is a physics puzzle game where snow falls from the top of the screen and the goal is to ensure specified quantities of coloured snow reach the bottom of the screen. You can achieve this by drawing lines to funnel the snow towards barriers which change the colour of the snow. To make things trickier however, you'll be only granted a limited amount of start-up time and a limited amount of snow: later levels even contain orange barriers that destroy any snow that touches them. The game comes with 100 levels and also has a level editor which allows you to create an additional 100 levels of your own.
|There are 100 levels to complete in Snow Problem|
Addictive but good hand-eye coordination is required
Puzzle games can be incredibly addictive especially when they have short gameplay loops, and Snow Problem fits into this category. Each level only takes a matter of seconds to attempt so it's not uncommon to end up spending several minutes on the trickier levels and not even realising how much time has elapsed. Time can easily get away from you if you play this game, a bit like "just one more turn" syndrome when playing a Civilization game.
Everyone has their limit on how often they're willing to retry something before they give up though, and I consider myself pretty stubborn in this area. When I finished more than half of the levels, things started getting trickier, so much so I had to bump down the difficulty a notch. You can do this by giving yourself more setup time towards the beginning of the level. While it's only a matter of a few extra seconds, it can sometimes be just enough to see you through. But having a good strategy to complete the level is only half the battle: you also need good hand-eye coordination.
Once you've determined where you're going to place ramps and the sequence you'll place them in, you'll need to drag some dots onto the screen. I say "dots" because the game doesn't actually allow you to draw lines as you would do in MS Paint, you just have to hope and pray that when you attempt to drop dots onto the screen that they make an unbroken line. This is one of the most frustrating aspects of the game since even if you have the correct solution in your head, your lack of dexterity might be your undoing. If you accidentally miss one pixel in your ramp, this will create a leak and you'll lose precious snow that you need in order to succeed. It's not good enough to know how to solve the puzzle, you have to actually be able to implement it and when you do, you'll be like Col. Hannibal, loving the fact the plan came together.
|I don't think I have what it takes to be a professional level designer as demonstrated here|
Good number of levels but why stop there?
I'm a bit of a novice when it comes to puzzle games so after dropping the difficulty I found Snow Problem to be just the right amount of challenge for me and it took me around 12 hours to complete all 100 levels (a recent announcement says that number has now increased to 107 thanks to the addition of some free bonus levels). However, for those that are experts at puzzle games, they might want a bit more. The game does come with its own level editor in case you want to create challenges of your own but I was wondering why the game doesn't have score-based achievements as well as leaderboards. The Ancient Art of Staying Alive (another game by Dave Seaman) implemented this well and it encourages players to return to levels in order to beat high scores. I'm not actually sure how you would go about this though (shortest time perhaps?) but it's something that could potentially increase the longevity of the game. The game does have 12 Steam Achievements though, so that's something.
Chill out to the music
Finally, one thing I do quite enjoy about this game is the chill soundtrack consisting of many famous pieces of classical music. While it's by no means an original soundtrack, sometimes sticking with the classics is the best choice and it's kind of therapeutic listening to it as you watch snow fall down your screen.
Snow Problem is an addictive physics puzzle game that's a bit like Lemmings except you're funneling snow down a screen instead of rodents to an exit. For those that lack patience or good hand-eye coordination, this is not for you but most people should be able to get a few hours of entertainment out of this and if you want more, there's always the level editor to try out.
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