Retro Rewind: Snow Bros. (NES)
Hello and welcome to Retro Rewind, where I take you back to a time where video games were… well… simpler (or, maybe not so much). Well, since it’s December, I figured I had to do a review on a game that fits for this time of the year. For this winter themed edition of Retro Rewind, I’ll be taking a look at an NES title called “Snow Bros.”. So yeah, it’s time for this AZBro to review a game based on Bros, pretty crazy concept huh? Okay, so maybe it’s not that crazy, but it is awesome, you can’t deny that. Anyways, lets get into this review and see if this game is worth trying or not. Let us not waste another second, this is Retro Rewind, so lets get started!
Let me first quickly go over the story for this game. So, the 2 main characters are named Nick and Tom. Not sure which one is which, we have a blue snowman and a red snowman. Anyways, Nick and Tom are transformed into snowmen by the big bad evil villain known as King Scorch. Once he does this, he sends in his troops in hopes to not only take over the snow bros kingdom but also the world. King Scorch was not able to do this before transforming them because they were too strong. Doesn’t make sense how transforming them into snowmen, giving them powers, makes them easier to fight. But Anyways, Scorch swoops in and kidnaps not one but two princesses. Of course, the Snow Bros are the only ones who can save them and the kingdom/world. So they set off to do just that, and that’s pretty much the story in a nut shell. Yeah, nothing too special, but they actually put in some effort for the little mini cutscenes in the beginning. So, you gotta give em credit for that at least.
Okay, it’s time to get into gameplay. This game plays very simple and it reminds me a lot of Bubble Bobble. So, if you’ve ever played that game, you’ll see what I mean when you play Snow Bros. A lot of stuff I talk about in this section will be brought up again later in more detail. I just want to get the basic idea of the game out there first. So anyways, when you begin the game you’ll be put into an area where you’ll see platforms to jump on and enemies to defeat. You jump by pressing the A button and attack by pressing the B button. Once you defeat the enemies, then you will advance to the next stage. There are different types of enemies that have different abilities in order to stop you. Make sure you don’t touch an enemy or get hit by their projectiles, or you’ll lose a life. In this game, it’s one hit and your dead, you get 3 lives and 9 continues. Not sure how the continues work, it doesn’t make you start over, it just makes you hit A in order to come back right where you left off. So pretty much you have 27 lives in total, if you lose all your lives you game over. There is no password or save feature either, so if you game over, you gotta start from the beginning again. This game also has boss fights, which are pretty interesting and a very cool feature for them to add. Last but not least, there are upgrades to obtain, spawning from defeated enemies, these powerups prove to be very useful. That’s pretty much the quick version of what this game is all about, but like I said before, I want to go into more detail on a lot of things that I talked about in this section. So, lets move on to the more in depths analysis of some of the games features.
Now, how does defeating enemies work in this game? Well, when you press the B button you shoot out a snow projectile, I’ll call them snowballs to make things easier. Enemies take a certain amount of hits in order to fully encase them in a giant snowball. Once you’ve done this, walk right up against them and hit B again, this will send them rolling away. Sometimes they will bounce off of a wall and catch you, causing you to roll along with them. This will not hurt you and you may jump out at any time, hitting a wall will also free you. They will also hit other enemies in their way, killing them. Enemies defeated like this will drop an item, in some cases a powerup, but most of the time just a lollipop or cake, which just gives you score. One more thing, jumping out of the rolling snowball or slamming into a wall will give you invincibility for a short while, so you can definitely use this to your advantage in certain stages.
Time to talk about the power ups, which I believe to be a very important part to this game. There’s 3 different upgrades that you can acquire. A red potion, yellow potion, and blue potion. Each of these potions give you different abilities which I will explain below.
Red Potion: Increases your speed, allowing you to run faster than normal.
Yellow Potion: Increases the range of your projectile, allowing you to hit enemies at a greater distance.
Blue Potion: Increases the size of your projectile, allowing you to encase enemies in snow quicker while using less snowball shots.
So now that we know what these powerups do, you may be wondering how useful they all are. Well, they are all very useful in my opinion. In fact, once obtaining any of these upgrades, I began having more fun with this game. It felt like how the game should always feel, and not just when I grab one of these upgrades, or at least the speed upgrade. The movement in this game is crazy slow, you see an upgrade on the other side of the stage and it takes a light year to get to it. And by the time you do get there, it disappears right in front of your face. It’s definitely not the worst thing, but it’s definitely very annoying. So yeah, if only there was a run button, or if the base speed was as fast as when you obtain a red potion. Anyways, I think it’s time to move on to the next topic, boss fights.
The boss fights in this game are very interesting to say the least. On every 10th stage, you will fight a boss. The bosses in this game are made up of different looking monsters. One looks like a dinosaur, one kind of looks like a brain, and there’s a double boss fight which are just two birds laying eggs. So yeah, kind of random, but how do these boss fights play out? Well, each boss will send out enemies to attack you, just encase these enemies in snowballs and hurl them at the boss. After so many hits, the boss will be defeated and you will move on to the next stage. But here’s the problem with these boss fights. You see, they don’t really make it too clear what you have to do in order to defeat a boss. It may appear to be obvioius, but after hitting a boss with a snowball, there is no indication of it being hurt. Also, you can just fling your snowball projectile at them and it gives you score and makes a sound. So, you may think that this is another way to damage them, however, I launched a ton of snowball projectiles at these bosses and they didn’t seem to be phased. Also, there’s no life bar or any indication of their health. Some games will have the bosses start changing color, letting you know that they are weakened and your close to defeating them. Not in this game though, just keep launching the enemies encased in snow and they’ll eventually die. So that’s all there is to these boss fights, they’re fun once you know what your doing but can be very confusing your first time encountering them. However, I believe that these boss fights add a very cool and unique extra part to this game. It’s a very nice feature to have in order to change things up from the normal stages.
One more thing I need to talk about real quick. After a boss battle, you get to do a quick bonus stage. It’s really nothing special, it’s just a slot machine that will give you extra score upon matching up the correct symbols.
Snow Bros for NES, did I like it, love it, or hate it. Well, I like it, but I don’t like it a lot, and I’ll explain why. You see, like a said before, this game feels like Bubble Bobble but in my opinion not as good. There’s a few key problems that I had with this game that just left me feeling very disappointed. So I addressed the first problem earlier, which was the movement speed. So, I won’t go into that again, but another problem I had was with some of the enemies. Unlike the Snow Bros, some enemies are incredibly fast and can catch up to you very quickly, like the enemies that turn into tornadoes. They go extremely fast and in some cases you just can’t run away (or walk away, because that’s how the Snow Bros roll). There was a stage later on in the game where as soon as i came back, I would get hit by this enemy and had no way to escape. It chained this on me about five times. Sometimes it would take forever to spawn me, and when it finally did he would be right up against me ready to take another one of my lives. I eventually got out of this loop, but it was because of the stage design why I got caught up in it in the first place. Which brings me to my next problem, the stage design. So, not sure if this is how the game was intended to be, or if I’m missing something. But, in some stages, there are areas where you can jump into, but can’t jump out of. You just can’t jump as high as you need to, so you get boxed into an area with no way to escape other than letting an enemy kill you. I encountered this in a couple different stages, and trust me, it sucks. I mean, I would accidentally fall into one of these traps and I would know that there was no way to get out. Maybe there’s something I’m missing, if there is please let me know. I tried every button and combination on the controller to try to find a way out of these areas, but had no luck. So yeah, after dealing with these problems, I just felt like I didn’t want to play the game anymore. Which was unfortunate because I had a lot of fun when I first started playing.
Time to wrap this all up, the question is, do I recommend this game? Well, even with all the annoying parts that I ran into, I think you should give this game a shot. It is actually a fun game for what it is, and definitely worth it if you’re bored and want something to do to waste some time. However, Bubble Bobble is better in my opinion and you’d be better off playing that instead. So yeah, I don’t hate this game, but I also don’t love it. It kept me entertained for a while, but I definitely don’t see myself coming back to Snow Bros any time soon. As for you, if you enjoy it and have fun with the game then that’s great. For anyone who hasn’t played it, definitely give this game a try if you get the chance. Hopefully your experience with Snow Bros will be better than mine.
I hope you all enjoyed the review and will check out this game for yourself. Be sure to let everyone know how you feel about Snow Bros in the comment section below. AZBros.com is growing each and everyday, so make sure you check out the rest of the site and keep up on all the new content. As always, I’m Lockjaw, and I’ll see you next time!