Snow Queen, based on Hans Christian Andersen's original story, has actually been ready for release for a while now but the gels over in the deepest Ireland have been seeking out a distributor for their game.
Now Mosaic, who brought out Erik the Viking and Adrian Mole are issuing the classic and much-loved fairy tale, telling how young Gerda runs away from her cosy home in search of her friend Kay - who has been carried off by the evil but ultra-beautiful Snow Queen. Gerda journeys through numerous adventures to the icy wastes of the North Pole and the Snow Queen's palace.
The game-play follows the original tale quite closely, adding extra problems to suit the computer format. You will need to read the book carefully either before or during play but you won't always get your answer from the text.
The game comes in two parts and is written using The Quill. There are illustrated graphics which reflect the origins of the story by looking very much like the kind of pictures you'd get in one of those central European fairy-story books.
The descriptions and general approach are intelligent and literate. Gerda has her own personality and, being a wee thing, will sometimes not do quite as she's told unless she's put under a bit of pressure - you'll need to force her into reading the books that will help her to escape from the witch's enchanted garden.
Whilst it's fair to see the adventure as very much family entertainment, don't let that fool you into thinking that the play is a doddle. There are some tricky problems inside the innocuous format, as you'll soon find when you try to escape the garden or, later on, try to navigate your way around the Snow Queen's palace. Movement directions there behave very strangely until you remember that you're actually supposed to be at the Pole, where East and West are not quite what they seem.
When I previewed this, I said I thought it would make for ideal Christmas entertainment for all the family, even those who might not be too keen on computer gaming. I'll stick to that view, which, to me, makes it all the stranger that the game has been released in time for Midsummer's day!
Author: St Brides
Reviewer: Richard Price
Fairytale style adven- ture with story book illustrations. Gentle and quite cleverly done.