Free Video Game Review: Frozen Free Fall: Snowball Fight

…Really? Frozen is still big two years after it came out? Ugh, WHY?!

OK, I’m going to level with everyone here, and I mean this without intending it to seem like an attack on the film: Frozen does not deserve to still be this huge thing that is still fawned over and referenced/parodied frequently by most people. I don’t mean that Frozen is a bad film when I say that, because it really isn’t: indeed, it is certainly one of Disney’s best 3D efforts (not counting Pixar works, obviously) and probably their best effort overall since Treasure Planet in 2003. Heck, I would argue that the film has possibly one of the strongest stories of a Disney film for a long time (having a story based on the classic story The Snow Queen helps, admittedly), has a conflict to the story that is simultaneously personal (the conflict between two siblings) and wider reaching (the possibility of Elsa’s powers meaning she will be killed for displaying them), has some incredibly good music to it (yes, even now, despite how popular it is to be referenced everywhere, I will still admit to liking ‘Let It Go’) and is wonderfully animated (considering how tough it can be to make snow filled landscapes look impressive without looking lazy and without effort, the hard work that Disney’s animators put into the animation really makes the film a treat to watch for the animation alone).

However, it’s been nearly two years now since the movie came out and you can still find new content connected to the show popping up frequently on the Internet, which would be fine if it was restricted to a tiny part of the Internet where you’d have to actively search for it to find it, but becomes downright draining when it’s still popping up everywhere when you’re trying to avoid it. On top of that…well, I hate to potentially burst everyone’s bubble on this one, but, having sat down carefully and thought about it, I see NO good way to advance the story of Frozen in a sequel without either undermining that which made Frozen special (the personal conflict between sisters, one of whom lives in fear of her powers meaning her execution if she is caught using them, has been resolved and Elsa’s powers are no longer feared, so having either be used as a plot point again for a sequel would be missing the point), including elements that make little to no sense when you think about them hard enough (the example I gave was that there are other people with ice powers or powers from other elements, which begs the question of exactly HOW Elsa’s powers went unnoticed and why they weren’t executed when Elsa’s powers caused the havoc they did) or going into territory that is VERY dark for Disney (the example I gave when discussing the film with a friend is that Hans, having failed in his plan to take over Elsa’s throne by marrying Anna, tries to take the throne through military power, forcing Elsa to learn to use her powers properly to save her kingdom…yeah, that sounds like a perfect plot for a family film, doesn’t it?). Frozen was a very good movie, I will not deny it, but it doesn’t need a continuation and the love for it, while understandable, should have simmered down by now to a hardcore cult following (a very large cult following, admittedly) simply because it’s stopped really making sense to continue making it a big thing. It isn’t groundbreaking, it isn’t unique and it isn’t even that original by Disney standards (Don’t believe me? Watch Enchanted again some time and see if you can spot what is being poked fun at in that film that appears in Frozen!).

So, considering I’m clearly worn out about Frozen still being a big thing and have not greeted the news of a sequel with overjoyed whooping, why have I chosen to review a game based on the franchise? Honestly, it was either covering this or an MMO which was released on Friday and I knew I wasn’t going to be able to play the MMO and cover it fairly within two days, especially since I knew I wasn’t going to be in a position to play the game on Sunday and had a higher priority on Saturday that meant me playing the game on that day was unlikely to work out, and nothing else came up this week. I did strongly consider bending the rules to cover a visual novel again in the hope of getting out of talking about Frozen that way, but I did an old visual novel last week, so I didn’t think doing that twice was fair to you guys reading this.

Hence the rant on Frozen prior to reviewing the game. Clearly, I made the smart, controversy-free choice…

But hey, maybe this game will turn out to be good, right?

…I’m gonna have to say “No” on that one. It would be a fun time waster if you still need your fix of Frozen and are a casual gamer, but, for diehard gamers and those who aren’t Frozen fans, this game is really not worth checking out.

The game is a port of an iOS game, and it certainly FEELS like a game that should be played on a tablet, since you have no mouse movement and play the game via the arrow keys and the space bar. I don’t know who chose this particular option for playing the game, but they clearly didn’t stop to think that playing games like Bejeweled without mouse movement is VERY tedious. With a touch screen, it’s excusable because your fingers are able to serve as the mouse, but, without the mouse, it’s very tedious to play and doesn’t work very well. Now, I will be fair, on the Steam page, there is a note that the developers are aware of this complaint and are going to integrate mouse support in the future, so credit to them for listening to those who came to this game before me, but it doesn’t excuse the fact that it should have been there right from the start.

The game overall plays like a clone of Bejeweled, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it isn’t exactly something which you’ll want to sit down for long periods of time to play as a result. Now, I’ve not actually played Bejeweled, so I can’t say how the powers in this game resemble those of Bejeweled, but I wouldn’t be entirely surprised if many of the powers have similarities, considering I spotted the comparison between the two literally within seconds of the game opening. There are a few modes as part of it which don’t seem like clones of other modes, though: one mode has you having to clear the board of snow by making matches next to it (which is, admittedly, pretty interesting) and another has you attempting to navigate items to the bottom of the board (which is an interesting change of focus). However, you still have to beat a target score at the end of those modes, so it’s not quite big enough to escape the comparisons for me. I’ll admit that I didn’t play past level 20, so maybe there are more modes later on which open things up even more, but, based on what I played, I wasn’t entirely thrilled with playing further to find out.

I also find the game having micro-transactions to be a bad move. You get introduced to a lot of powers in the early game, but you have to pay real money to get restocks of them, which is not something I approve of. I don’t mind it too much for stuff like Hearthstone, where you can get the supplies if you’re patient or skilled enough to keep playing the game, but it needs to have a lasting in game effect or can be obtained again without paying real money for me to consider it acceptable. Restocking a power with real money or gaining additional tries when you run out of lives entirely? That’s not what I consider acceptable and, considering this is also a game which can be played by children, I would certainly question the sensibility of having them in the game at all. Now, you CAN get lives if you’re lucky every day, but it’s not a guaranteed thing and, if you aren’t willing or can’t afford to buy new lives, you may very well find yourself stuck without an ability to play the game because you keep failing to get new lives, which is just flat out inexcusable.

A problem I have is that the difficulty is far too easy: in most of the levels, I didn’t even need to think to get the three star ranking. Now, in fairness, I am already used to playing this sort of game on a fairly difficult level (HuniePop, anyone?), it is aimed to be a game played with family members rather than being aimed at hardcore gamers and I didn’t play very far through the game, so I’ll admit that I’m not in a position to give a solid opinion on this one, but the biggest challenge I had was when the timer got added into the game, which didn’t even do much to increase the difficulty beyond the fact I had to think quicker than I was. I can’t even claim to be an expert at games like this, considering this is only the second game of its sort I’ve played (the other, obviously, being HuniePop), so, if I wasn’t finding it difficult, imagine how someone already used to this sort of game would find the difficulty!

The graphics are nothing to write home about, but do the job fine, considering that the game is clearly meant to be played on iOS rather than PC. Not a lot to say here. The sound in general is OK, but I can’t help thinking the music sounds a bit off, as it doesn’t sound like it’s something from the actual movie. Maybe this is my memory failing me, considering I’ve not seen the film in over a year now, but I don’t recognise the game’s music from any Frozen media I’ve followed!

Ultimately, this is very much a game designed to keep the Frozen fans happy and nothing else. If you like Frozen and Bejeweled (and, if you have kids, keep your credit card details off of Steam), then I guess this is at least a decent time waster, but, for everyone else, you’re better off ignoring this game.

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