Just in time for the winter and holiday season we have Avatar Wave: Snowball Fight, The Perfect Holiday Game! When I was first handed this game, I have to say I was a bit skeptical. Don’t get me wrong, I do enjoy my fair share of indie games as they seem to offer more innovation than titles that come from the bigger studios. However sometimes they are pretty cheap and crappy. This is not the case with Avatar Wave: Snowball Fight. Never did I think that drilling xbox live avatars in the face with snow balls would be so much… fun! Matches play out like real snow balls fights in that when you start everyone is scrambling to gather snowballs, all while trying to not get hit by the opposing team.
The game has many of modes to choose from. There’s arcade, which is like a 7 stage campaign mode (very short). In it you’ll face off in either 1 on 1 face-offs within the 1st 4 round. Then in round 5 the intensity is kicked up a notch as it turns into a 2 on 1 (not in your favor). For the first couple of rounds it’s seems pretty easy. At times I even felt like a bully, as I was repeatedly pounding my opponents into the ground. Then in round 5 the tables are turned as the 2 vs 1 scenario involves much more strategy. This is because as soon as your lining up your shot, your getting hit with snowballs from the other opponent. These later rounds can get more tedious, as you have to slow down a bit and wait for openings for attacking.
There’s multiplayer, both online and offline with support for up to 4 players. And for the daring or those looking for a serious challenge there’s survival mode. In it you’ll be placed into a 3 vs 1 match and it’s your goal to, you guessed it…survive. There’s a clock on the lower right hand side of the screen and the longer you survive the higher your points go. It’s pretty simple really, but don’t get it twisted, the A.I. turn into a bunch of blood thirsty, headhunting, snowball throwing maniacs. You’ll be using that dodge button a whole lot.
Graphically, it isn’t exactly a power house, but this game isn’t about graphics. It’s you and your avatar going into battle. One thought that had crossed my mind during my playtime was “dammit, why can’t Nintendo give us a Wii HD” because Snowball Fight (since it uses the avatars) stylistically reminded me of many of the fun Wii games out there. The soundtrack in the game was fun as it was chocked full of techno-like versions of popular winter and holiday songs.
My biggest gripe with the game had to be the targeting system. The thing is to switch between targets you have to use the left analog stick (which is the same stick that you use for movement). As you’re charging your throwing strength meter, the stick all of a sudden is used for targeting. It just felt a bit too clunky in that respect. They should have just used the shoulder buttons to switch between targets, since they aren’t being used for anything else. I realize that they wanted to make the title as casual as possible but at the same time, they should also make it more comfortable, for the hardcore.
What sold me most on Snowball fight has to be it’s value. The game comes in at 240 MS which is peanuts, especially considering how much gaming you can potentially get out of it. Those who enjoy playing local multiplayer games should definitely give Snowball Fight a look.