What Makes a Great Snow Level in a Mario Game?

Snow levels have always been a highlight in the Mario series, but there are plenty of reasons why they’re so successful at becoming fan favorites. Why do we love them so much? Is it because of the way they look? Or do we really like the music that much? Because it can’t be because everything is slippery, right?

Whatever our reasoning may be, here are the top three reasons why snow levels in Mario games are so memorable!

 

Mechanics

Snow levels feature typical mechanics that you’ll find in a variety of ice levels from other video games. You’ve got things like slippery ice and health reducing temperatures, frozen lakes and chilly enemies, and usually something in the area that will freeze you solid. This is all great stuff, but what about  specifically in the Super Mario series?

 

As for games in the Mario series, it’s easy to see how these mechanics make for a great level. Take the slippery slopes of the levels from Frosted Glacier in New Super Mario Bros. U for example. This change in gameplay alone creates an entirely new (and fun!) dynamic that the level, and the entire world of levels, can revolve around. It forces you to change the way you’ve been playing the entire game as even moving is now different. Other fun mechanics include the ice walls in the Crystal Palace from Paper Mario, the ice mazes in Snowman’s Land in Super Mario 64, and the pushy penguins from Sherbet Land and Rosalina’s Ice World in the Mario Kart series.

 

Difficulty

With the mechanics detailed, it wouldn’t be right to talk about snow levels without mentioning the increase in difficulty. It’s like this every time. The moment you see snow or ice in the next world, you know you’re in for challenging level!

What would Mount Wario from Mario Kart 8 be without it’s perilous winter forest or its slippery ice cave and path? The Secret Mine from Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon wouldn’t be so tough without its own set of icy floors and misleading walls. And what about the Purple Coin challenge from Freezeflame Galaxy in Super Mario Galaxy? Collecting those 100 coins is no joke when you’re dealing with icy water and freezing enemies!

Bottom line, when we see a snow level coming up, we know it’s got to be at least a little more challenging that what we’ve been facing just before it. And that’s a good thing!

 

Atmosphere

If it’s not the mechanics or the difficulty of the ice levels that spark your interest, then it is definitely the atmosphere snow levels give off. Winter is peaceful and serene, and the icy levels found in the Super Mario series do this special time of year incredible justice.

Snowflake Lake from Mario Party 6 not only has a great star stealing component, but it’s also a beautiful board map to play on. It captures the festive feel of the season like Sherbet Land from Mario Kart: Double Dash!! and Chilly Waters from Mario Party 3 did before it.

Levels like Gleam Glacier from Super Princess Peach and Chief Chilly Challenge from Super Mario 64 DS give off a wonderful blizzard feel, while worlds like the Shiver Region from Paper Mario and Penguin Iceberg from Mario Tennis Open compliment the ice worlds with majestic night skies. It’s all really beautiful.

And the music. The music always seems to work incredibly well with the theme at hand. There are way too many to list, so we’ll simply leave “Over Shiver Mountain” from Paper Mario instead.

httpvh://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OfIldVQU5I0


 

So do you really love snow and ice levels or are we just nuts? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

Michael Koczwara

Executive Editor and Founder of Mario Party Legacy. Head Administrator at the Mario Party Legacy Forum.

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ℳKKIℵGȤ♕
ℳKKIℵGȤ♕
February 22, 2016 5:31 PM

Atmosphere has always been the most important element in my opinion, snow is meant to give that almost magical mysterious feeling and when games manage to replicate that for their snow themed sections it really impresses me.

BossBlitz
BossBlitz
February 22, 2016 5:47 PM

Freezeflame’s purple coin mission was one of the few I liked, scouring the entire mountain.

Mario_Comix
Mario_Comix
February 22, 2016 7:22 PM

Winter’s my favourite season. Not only is it my birth season, but snow is just such a pleasure despite its fleeting nature. And, as evident from the Animal Crossing series/racetrack, winter seems to be the odd season out, and it contains some of the most unique traits. I love winter!

Not to mention aurora aesthetics. Those are just some of my favourite background effects!

CorrinFTW
CorrinFTW
February 23, 2016 4:07 AM

I like snowy levels because of the atmosphere. There’s often a great music accompanying the stage, too.
I also agree about the new challenges, it’s necessary sometimes. Icy grounds can be annoying though, lol.

Mister Sushi
Mister Sushi
February 23, 2016 6:42 PM

I only like nighttime snow levels because aurora borealis :3

Otherwise, I usually try to get through them fast. They just don’t stick with me, especially in the NSMB games. I always go past Frosted Glacier and take Sparkling Waters instead :3
I have to admit that I do love penguin sliding levels though 🙂