Wow, re-re-edit : I have now conclusively confirmed that the game I played is not the one linked to on IFDB. I am reluctant to link to abandon sites here, but this is the CASA-page for the game I played: :: CASA :: Snow Queen, The (solutionarchive.com).
(I’m leaving the IFDB link for the other game up this time for anyone who wants to play that one. It’s a graphic ZX Spectrum game.)
Edit: The game I played was not the one I previously linked to on IFDB. This review is about a 1993 game by Layne K. Saltern. I found it on an abandonware site.
Re-edit: Apparently it is the same game.
(I had no idea what to expect. This game had no reviews, nay, not even any ratings on IFDB. Edit: It’s not even on there. Re-edit: Yes it is: The Snow Queen - Details (tads.org))
The wisdom of Fairytales
The Snow Queen is a small text adventure, at first glance intended for children. It builds upon the fairytale of the same name by Hans Christian Andersen.
The Snow Queen takes lost children with her to her Winter Palace, where they forget about their past.
The Goblin Mirror diminishes all good things and enlarges all bad. When the goblins dropped it and it broke, flecks of glass pierced some people’s eyes and hearts so they could not see or feel any good in others anymore.
Playing as Gerda, you must search the land for your friend Kay, who has been hit by mirror pieces and brought to the Winter Palace.
The game is easy, most puzzles consisting of finding objects and giving them to the right characters. There is some randomization, as the second chapter (where you play Kay) was different on my two playthroughs.
Whereas the low difficulty and the small map suggest a children’s game, the content is harder. This is quite a dark fairytale, reminding me of the versions of Cinderella or Red Riding Hood before they were disneyfied. You can actually freeze to death when you wander outside in the snowy mountains for too long.
More than that, the subject matter is serious. The Snow Queen touches on themes like depression, hiding from pain in false comfort, loyalty despite harsh obstacles.
This game does what Fairytales were meant to do: provide a framework to learn the hard lessons, and make them digestible.
This story moved me.