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Snowball Plight

by chenxlee


Fresh, fancy, fun fandangoed its way onto Terror Mountain recently with the arrival of Snowball Fight. For those who haven't played it, think of a cross between Snow Wars, Whack A Staff Member, free range eggs, and pint of milk. Oh, wait, sorry, I started reading my shopping list somewhere in there. Anyways, the point of this new game is to throw nice, white snowballs at the random pets (and petpet) that pop up on the other side of the wall you are loitering by. They don't throw snowballs back at you, probably due to a lack of opposable thumbs. You on the other hand have an infinite supply of snowballs! Well, almost.

Maybe infinity was a bit of an exaggeration; you start with fifty snowballs and you can never have more than this. But fear not, your frosty ammunition can be replenished, but more on that later. As mentioned your main aim is to hurl your snowballs at the enemy. The enemy consists of a selection of pets and an oh-so-cute little pink Meepit. Hitting the pets will earn you a tasty five neopoints while splatting them straight in the face will earn you double pointage and give them a cold. Maybe. That oh-so-cute little pink Meepit proffers ten points for an indirect hit and twenty for a snowball to the nose.

Well that's not difficult, I hear you whine. And no, it isn't. It does become trickier as the game progresses, though. For every fifty points you go up a level, and with each new level the pets pop up and then back down with increasing haste, the cowardly cowardly custards. But a person with your superhuman reactions honed by months of meditation and Splat-a-Sloth should have no problem still hitting them.

So far so good, but the pensive among you are no doubt still worried about the whole limited-snowballs issue. Well, go get a nice hot cup of cocoa, then come back and read on. I'll wait, don't worry. ... Got it? Good. I notice you didn't offer me any, but that's fine, really. I'll be alright. No, no don't pour your cocoa on the screen; that's just a waste of good cocoa. I prefer coffee. What's that? Get on with it? Cripes, calm down. As I was saying, the main worry so far seems to be the limited snowballs you can hold. But have no fear! For whenever you have less than forty snowballs a saviour will float down from the sky like ... uh, a floaty thing from the sky ... that saves people. Anyway, this saviour goes by the name of Dieter and he's a Polarchuck with a parachute. Unlikely, yes, but perfectly reasonable if you'll allow me to explain.

Lurking among the pets (and petpet) is another foe to take aim at with your snowballs of righteousness. And this foe's name is The Phantom Orange Shirt Guy. You may recognise him from, well, pretty much every flash game of recent times. Proof - if proof were needed - that he is a teensy bit insane is provided at last in Snowball Fight. The guy is playing in the snow in a T-shirt! I mean really, that's just not right. If you don't recognise him by his orange shirt or his phantom guy-ness then maybe the Santa hat will help you spot him.

It shouldn't take you too long to fit the pieces together from this point. Clearly The Phantom Orange Shirt Guy is attempting to build some kind of snow-fortress behind that wall. But you can't build a snow fortress without snow, and so he is catapulting Dieter in with a bag full of snowballs to provide the building blocks. A dastardly fiendish plan no doubt, but doomed to failure. The pets keep running back and forth, you see, ruining any attempt to lay down solid foundations. Oh well. The Phantom Orange Shirt Guy's failure is our victory, though, for hitting Dieter with a snowball will send him flying into the distance, and by one of them laws of physics thingamies his snowballs come to you, all ten of them.

Hitting Dieter is a bit tricky, no doubt to keep those nosey PPL people happy. Not only is he at long range requiring careful timing, you also have the wind to deal with. You can watch the snowflakes drifting down to gauge which direction the wind is blowing and how strong. Be quick though, you will have to throw your snowball not too long after Dieter has drifted into view if you want to get those snowballs. And you'll need them more often than you think, thanks to the game's real enemies.

The real enemies in this game are neither the pets (and petpet) you are taking aim at, nor your own limited ammo, nor even The Phantom Orange Shirt Guy. No, the real enemies are Illusen and the Soup Faerie. Oh yes. You might think of these two as being a pair of Neopia's finest. Real heroes. But no, after a few goes on Snowball Fight you'll have a whole different view of them. Hit one of the faeries and you can say goodbye to ten snowballs. Maybe they're stealing them to help build the snow fortress, or maybe they're building a snowman, no one knows for sure. And I suspect no one ever will.

At first this isn't a problem; the faeries glide up onto the screen, glide around and smile sweetly for a moment, and then float back down. But somewhere around level fifteen you'll notice a change. Clicking the trusty left mouse button no longer just throws a snowball, now it seems to raise up a faerie right in front of you. Try as you might to avoid her, every snowball you throw goes right into a newly emerged Illusen's face. Suddenly you have two snowballs and can't seem to get a clear shot at Dieter. That's when you know you're doomed. I'd love to offer tips and advice to avoid this fate but I can't - I can barely manage 700 points myself, which while not bad is less than half the score you'll need for a gold trophy. And the game only gets harder. The only advice I would offer if you're struggling to reach even this score is to keep your snowball count high. You never know when you'll accidentally hit a faerie or four, and if you only had five snowballs to hand then it's Game Over.

Although the faeries are a little bit frustrating the game is still fun to play, and you don't have to worry about getting snow down the back of your coat like in real snowball fights. Happy gaming!

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