Game Reviews

A Good Snowman is Hard to Build - Yup, but it's a lot of fun

Star onStar onStar onStar onStar half
A Good Snowman is Hard to Build - Yup, but it's a lot of fun

It's fair to say that sometimes the puzzle genre on the App Store can feel a little staid. For every Threes! there's a pile of uninspired match-three puzzlers.

So when something like A Good Snowman is Hard to Build comes along, it's little wonder that I make an audible "squee" noise and have some of my faith in games restored.

It's an adorable, clever mash-up of ideas, and it's almost impossible not to fall in love with the cast of snowpeople that you roll into being. Plus everything is set in a series of interconnected gardens.

Is a good snowman hard to build though?

It is. The basic idea of the game involves pushing snowballs around and piling them up. Each snowperson is made of three balls – a big one, a medium one, and a small one at the top. When they're in place, you've completed the level.

It might not sound that tough, but in practice there's a lot more going on. Rolling balls on areas of snow causes them to grow. They can't get bigger than the largest ball, but if you don't plan ahead you'll end up with multiple balls of the same size.

There are constraints to each level as well. You can't pull the balls, only push them, so you need to figure a way around the hedged-in space so you can build your snow-creation.

That sounds pretty taxing

It is, but it's worth it. Some levels need you to open up and finish neighbouring gardens before you can actually get to the right place to push the balls around.

You have to think about each move, but the game is pretty kind when it comes to letting you restart. You can reset a move, or just reset the whole level if you've got yourself in a snowy jam.

There are some other neat mechanics as well, like a telescope that lets you see the whole spread of the levels, and a quick-travel system that involves having a rest on a bench.

The controls are slick too. You tap to move, and swipe to push the balls. You can combine the gestures to do more complex moves and save yourself time as well.

This all sounds wonderful

I think wonderful is the right word. It's rare to find a puzzler that oozes charm from every pore, but that's exactly what A Good Snowman is Hard to Build does.

It's funny, it's bright, and while it's tough, it rarely descends into frustration.

It might have been out on a variety of other platforms already, but there's something about this mobile port that makes it feel like it's found its proper home.

A Good Snowman is Hard to Build - Yup, but it's a lot of fun

A game with so much heart and charm that it's almost impossible not to smile while you play it