With the holidays upon us, so comes the winter season. Well, at least for some. Like many places around the world, winter may only arrive in spirit and name. However, the experience of a cold and snowy winter is not lost in the video game world. There are plenty of games that tackle the ice-cold challenge of recreating winter landscapes, huge frosty mountains and just fun snow levels. This is Bit Cultures’ Top Ten Snow Levels.
10. A Rock and a Hard Place – Uncharted 2
Awakening on a seat in a train while flakes of snow trickle through the gaping hole to his left, Nathan Drake finds himself wounded in the wintry setting of what appears to be a mountain. What begins as a quiet, fade-into scene suddenly catapults Drake into a life-or-death climb up the side of his newly discovered cliff-hanging cab. Any fan of the Uncharted series can remember the thrill of Uncharted 2’s opening sequence and Drake’s hazardous ascension. To top off the foamy first chapter, Nathan Drake is left unconscious in the freezing temperature of his foreboding location.
– Evan Schwab
9. Chill Penguin – Mega Man X
Chill Penguin is definitely one of the more fun snow levels around. Outside of some beautiful landscape and level design, with lots of platforms to climb around on (and a secret power-up to find), you have the whole gamut of baddies there: projectile-firing axmen, bats, spiked disks, giant…ostrich things. You know, the usual. Halfway into the level, the game gives you the dash ability, which feels natural as a starter power-up, allowing you to speed around and fire rapidly at whatever gets in your way. That’s not even mentioning the giant robot you can pilot later on in the stage, which is just as awesome as it sounds. The only downside is that Chill Penguin himself is kind of lackluster when he just hangs on the wall, fires, and dodges the icicles. Even with that in mind, his stage is like a cup of hot chocolate – quick to ease into and easy to enjoy.
– Donovan Bertch
8. Sherbet Land – Mario Kart 8
Nothing screams holiday more than a party game. And nothing screams party game more than Mario Kart 8. With intense competitive gameplay against your friends, Mario Kart has always delivered the stages to test your mettle. Sherbet Land is no exception. Those who are familiar with Mario Kart 64 will recognize Sherbet Land as an updated classic map, adding to the nostalgia and making Mario Kart 8 that much more enjoyable. With multiple levels and ice to throw players off their drifting, Sherbet Land packs a winter filled punch to send kart riders sliding across the finish line – in victory or complete, utter defeat.
– Evan Schwab
7. Shiver Star – Kirby 64
Kirby once inhaled, floated and copied his puffy, pink way through the galaxy in order to defeat the ominous and mysterious Dark Matter in Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards. But amongst his Nintendo 64 travels, Kirby visited Shiver Star, a snow-themed planet of cute penguins, fragile ice-birds and snowmen with prominently bushy eyebrows. The first few levels of the planet are the epitome of a winter wonderland; Shiver Star’s mountain ranges are charming landscapes of soft, white snow, perfect pine trees and winter clouds. As Kirby continues his adventure through the snowy levels, the elastic, pink star-rider finds himself in an ominous factory. Though the furthest thing from a snowy wonderland, the dark factory does emanate a feeling that the building perhaps belongs to a corrupted and vile version of Santa Claus!
– Rafael Serrato
6. Icicle Town – Final Fantasy VII
Few games have influenced me like Final Fantasy VII. Pre-rendered scenery was some of the coolest looking graphical ‘ideas’, if you will, of my childhood. No town or area in Final Fantasy VII makes me feel the fuzzies of nostalgia more than Icicle Town and the surrounding area. Major history with Professor Gast and Jenova’s origin is waiting to be explored. The enjoyable snowboarding mini-game (that later becomes unlocked at the Gold Saucer) is introduced on your way down the mountain. Exploring the labyrinthine snow mountain, finding the secret Alexander summon, and making your way closer to the northern crater create one of my favorite VII experiences. Regardless, the falling snow and sounds of wind set the tone for winter.
– Evan Schwab