Frozen Free Fall: Snowball Fight
Free-to-play doesn’t have to be a bad thing. Developers of games like Path of Exile and Dota 2 have proven that the model can be used in a way that brings in profit, yet respects the player and maintains the integrity of the core game experience. Disney Interactive’s Frozen Free Fall: Snowball Fight is not one of those games. A slapdash Candy Crush knock off, Snowball Fight makes just about every poor choice that a free-to-play game can make, all the while failing to offer a compelling or unique puzzle game experience.
Though there are several tremendous reasons to avoid the game, perhaps the most obvious one is the ridiculous pricing for items in its in-game store. As mentioned earlier, the main game is free to download and play. Things begin innocuously enough, with the player being doled out a fair number of power-ups to assist in completing the early levels. Then, things take a turn for the sinister. Around level 20, the game suddenly withholds power-ups that are required to progress, and the levels themselves impose secondary objectives which cause the difficulty to spike through the roof. Naturally, you are encouraged to browse the in-game store for power-ups to overcome this (via constant pop-up notices), and the prices are shocking.
In timed levels, to simply add 15 seconds to the clock, you must pay 99 cents. It’s more than conceivable that you will only get five or so additional moves done in those extra 15 seconds and still run out of time. This would mean another dollar to add 15 more seconds. Assuming that amount of time is adequate enough to complete the level, you can move on. But, you are likely going to be on stage twenty something at this point, out of over four-hundred and fifty levels. Even if you are a wizard at the game, using these power-up will be necessary, and even at an extremely low estimate of one power-up every three stages, the total required cost for beating all of the levels would be around $150. Think about it – $150 to finish a game that, if released as a buy-to-play title, would likely cost $9.99. $14.99 tops. The game was designed to target the pocketbooks of kids who have no concept of the real life money, adults susceptible to these types of pricing schemes and whales.
What makes this situation even more disturbing is the fact that the game just isn’t very good. As mentioned before, the puzzle mechanics of matching like-colored objects and wiping away chunks of the game board is obviously aping Candy Crush (which was aping Bejeweled and others before it). There’s nothing unique here, besides the ability to see models of the Frozen cast standing and gyrating on the side of the screen. Even the game map, which shows a top-down view of Arendelle and the level progression track, is beset by awful screen tearing, just by simply scrolling up and down. The music too, is lifeless and repetitive, with none of the magic present from the film’s wonderful soundtrack and score.
There are exactly two positive things that can be noted about the game. First, the character models for the Frozen cast are actually not bad. They don’t have many animations, but they are solid. Second, the game’s titular multiplayer mode is mildly entertaining and relatively free from the difficulty spike and pricing frustrations found in the single-player experience. Now, you are only able to use a few less popular characters unless you spend money (unlocking the full cast costs $19.99), but perhaps an hour or two of entertainment can be had here (adding alcohol wouldn’t hurt).
All in all, Frozen Free Fall: Snowball Fight is awful. It’s a bad puzzle game, a bad free-to-play game, and a bad Frozen game. If you are really, really, really hankering for some multiplayer puzzle game action, go hunt down a copy of Super Puzzle Fighter 2 Turbo. Even better, the HD Remix version is $9.99 for PS3 and Xbox 360 and is vastly superior in every way. If you must download and try Snowball Fight, well, don’t. Just don’t. Take Elsa’s advice and let it go.