Sight Unseen: Snowkilla

Hellaxis Overdrive Studios


It is the year 2015, and most of America has been buried under miles and miles of snow, overrun by killer penguins, yetis, and wendigos, as well as the dreaded Cold Patrol–stormtroopers armed with iceguns who can turn you into a snowman.

The fate of the world depends on you and your fellow Snowkillas to face these adversaries and thaw your city tha hell out.

I’m not sure if “thaw” is really a strong enough a word. It’s really more of a hate-thawing. Using hairdryers, jackhammers, flamethrowers, and the coveted Flame Tank, you dispatch snow the way Conan the Barbarian might have shoveled his driveway: you crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and hear the lamentations of their penguins. 

Snowkilla is a throwback to older games that used a vertically-oriented playing area, like Donkey Kong or the sand levels of Super Mario Brothers 2, although I guess one should include the more recent iphone game Doodle Jump in that category as well. Gameplay is mostly from the top to the bottom, you descend through layers of snow into a maze by shoveling or melting, intercepting villains and discovering useful items throughout, sometimes shoveling, sometimes falling into little snow pits. So it’s pretty much exactly like the sand levels of Super Mario 2, but with snow. 

Maybe it’s not an innovative setup, but I need this game the same way I need takeout, Netflix, and Uptök Brau ale, because this winter is utter nightmare hell garbage. I hate this winter so much that there is a need to fight back not just with actual shoveling, but with my soul, which is the thing that I use to play games with. If I could shovel with my soul, I would.  

When yetis show up, I am ready. With the flamethrower you can set them on fire and they’ll run around and melt more snow. When a gaggle of Cold Patrolers try to turn me into a snowman, I melt the snow beneath their feet and sent them into a pit of cold revenge. Take that, winter.  

I look for items like the Tea Kettle,  and my personal favorite, the Roast Beef Sandwich, which quadruples health and gives you an onion breath that deters your enemies, just like real roast beef sandwiches. 

Snowkilla’s soundtrack is by the 8-bit composer ThouzandEyez, and it sounds like Super Mario meets 36 Chambers-era Wu-Tang Clan. There’s a coziness to it, but also a sense of restlessness and anger, much like this winter which is like something out of a russian novel. 

Snowkilla also multiplayer levels, which I usually don’t care for. Part of the reason I play videogames is that I hate people. But Snowkilla’s multiplayer realm is satisfying in that there are thousands of us, all working to free the city that lies beneath our feet, even if we’re all just really sitting at home glued to our sofas. 



Evan Johnston is a written designed illustration in Twitter (@evn_johnston) and Brooklyn.


editor’s note: this post is part of our Sight Unseen series in which people review movies or other things they have NOT seen or read. Guidelines for submitting to Sight Unseen can be found here

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