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Game Maker Games - Snowball
Snowball by Virtanen
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Review by Yellow Monkey
There are a few ingredients necessary to create a very unforgettable platformer: Great gameplay, a good presentation, a large amount of variety, and a very fine layer of bug-swashing polish. Unfortunately, while Snowball nails some aspects, it fails miserably at others. It has a lot of interesting ideas and good level design but is ultimately held back by poor controls and numerous bugs.

The presentation is done fairly well in Snowball, the worlds are all colorful and neatly drawn while still being very functional. There tends to not be a lot of sound but what little there is tends to be high quality. Iíd say the biggest disappointment is the music, which isnít bad, but it doesnít immerse you as well as you could. And that happens to be a big problem in general because the game turns into something to do on a lazy afternoon rather than a memorable adventure.

The selling point of the game is its unique gameplay where your character can grow and shrink in order to reach certain areas or destroy certain enemies. This concept would quickly turn into a gimmick if it wasnít for the well thought-out level design and puzzles. Chances are that youíll need to backtrack once in a while in order to decrease your size and fit through a hole, or get bigger in order to smash through a wall. The one think I would have liked to see was more non-linearity though, as all too often it felt that I had only one way through a level.

The biggest problem of the game is easily the bugs. While excusable to a point, Snowball sacrifices a stable camera and responsiveness for its gameplay feature. My character frequently got stuck in moving platforms, in between blocks, and even on the interior of a level. Controlling your character is met with the same level of frustration as your characterís ability to scale makes it difficult to maneuver through the gameís many small holes. The controls, combined with the bugs make it very hard to navigate the world.

Even great level design and good ideas canít get around the flaws this game has. Although not a bad game, it doesnít differentiate itself between other Game Maker platformers enough nor does it really immerse you in the world, so youíll likely walk away with a been-there, done-that feeling. Play this game the same time you would play a flash game, when you have nothing else to do.

Virtanen wrote:

You are the last surviving member of the snowdoid clan and you have to avenge your family. :)

The gameplay is quite unique. You are a snowball that can grow bigger when rolling in snow, or shrink when taking a shower.

Game has three different worlds with 4 levels and a boss fight in each one.
Every level has 3 secret hearts hidden in them. By collecting these hearts
you can open new artwork, music, skins.

Download Snowball (EXE, ~7.5 MB , Suitable for everyone )

View Virtanen's Profile

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Comments (Add your own):
2007.07.14 DeathMasterGames
Rating: 8

Second boss got stuck

got stuck in walls

platform problems

love boss music, especially intro

With the kind of ratings this game was getting, I expected a lot less, but it was terrific. It's everything I'd expect from a platformer. It had a "Yoshi's Island" sort of feel to it. Some of the music was repetitive, but fitting. I especially liked the boss music (the intro specifically). But I noticed a lot of glitches in the game. For example, if a snowball hits you when you're small, you might get stuck in the middle of the wall. You can roll around and it's kinda cool, but it still sucks. There were issues with the platforms if I stayed on too long, and the second boss got stuck in the ground when he came at me at too great of an angle. I also couldn't get through the thin blue transparent platforms when I was medium size, which made the switch level hard. It kept bouncing me back.

But still, the game was awesome. The menus were nice and the options made the game flexible (thanks for full-screen mode, btw, my eyes would have killed me otherwise). The storyline was better than I thought it would be. The enemy even had a reason to fight. It was great. But still, a little glitchy. I'll give it an 8, although it deserves at least a 9 once it's polished up a bit.
2007.07.10 ZPXNeonGM
Rating: 7

This game is more original than most GM platformers out there. The level design is really nice and well planned out. The three hard to reach hearts in each level had me thinking 'Nintendo' for some odd reason when playing this.

My complaints are that the physics tend to get wonky, and the snowball tends to get stuck in places, which often leads to frustration in some levels. Plus, if you're going to add a FULLSCREEN MODE, make the game scale to the monitor, rather than have a small game window surrounded in blackness.

This is a good game, bugs aside.
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