Review: The Snow Queen

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 (
(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 (

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.


Sounds interesting! Thanks for writing this review.

You say that it builds upon two fairytales. Which is the second one?

From the description, this sounds pretty close to the original Snow Queen by Hans Christian Andersen, which already is quite long and a mix of disparate tones, themes and digressions (The subtitle is A tale in seven stories) and would seem to contain enough material for several games.

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There is none. It’s H. C. Andersen’s Snow Queen. It’s told in two parts by the two grandparents of Gerda and Kay. I thought they were two separate tales at first but they are not. (I fixed the review.)

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Are we sure it is the same game? If so, it is probably a faithful conversion. The game on IFDB was originally written on the ZX Spectrum. The Spectrum version can be legally downloaded from the IF Archive: Index: if-archive/games/spectrum
(the file is I recommend the FUSE emulator)

I can imagine that the PC version has a stronger parser(?) as the Spectrum version is a two-word parser game made with The Quill.

CASA tells me it was originally written for the TRS 80.
From the screen shot, I can tell that this is the game I played 100% sure:

:: CASA :: Snow Queen, The (

However, I think the game you are referring to, and the one listed on IFDB is this one:

:: CASA :: Snow Queen, The (

Which means I’ll have to re-re-edit the post above and scratch my review off IFDB. Could you confirm first though? I’ve been mulling over the history and the whereabouts of this game too much and I want to be sure I’ve got it right this time.

To be fair, the original story really reads like a combination of a lot of different myths and fairy tales.

By confirming, do you mean that the game written by St. Bride’s looks as the two screenshots for the st. Bride’s game on CASA (St. Bride’s Snow Queen)? I checked by running the Spectrum version. My version had no title/loading-screen but the in-game picture and text is very close to that on CASA.

CASA are usually very thorough on game data, but sometimes a game has more than one entry by mistake. I think CASA is right here, that it is two different games, unless you have something that indicates that they are the same game? Even if it is fundamentally the same game, the appearance is definitely very different on PC compared to Spectrum.

I can’t believe I didn’t think of this sooner! I peeped at the CASA walkthrough for the St. Bride’s game and I can say for sure it is not the game I played.

So, editing time.

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