There’s something special about Mario snow levels. A world away from the green greenery of Mushroom Kingdom, Mario’s icy escapades are some of his most memorable trips, from the iconic kicking off a penguin into the snowy abyss, to our triple-jumping hero donning a parka for a big race, the moustachioed plumber has something of a penchant for exploring in arctic conditions.
Of course, Mario 64’s Cool, Cool Mountain tops our list, with mentions from just about everyone on the team when probed on their favourite Mario snow level. While there’s a million things you can say about this level, from the downhill dash against an oversized penguin, to how tricky the platforming first felt on realising that the ice really is quite slippy, it’s the penguin dilemma that makes this level so famous. I say dilemma, it’s an easy choice for some, with staff writer Holly sharing “I like yeeting the baby penguin off the cliff and then dealing with the remorse”. You do you, Holly.
Staff writer Nathan’s opted for a modern classic with Mario Odyssey’s Snow Kingdom, explaining his reasoning as “not only are the Shiverians great hosts, but you can even take part in the time-honoured tradition of Bound Bowl, launching yourself down an icy track in a joyously chaotic fashion. It’s fairly similar to how I like to spend my Christmas day anyway”. Better still, Mario marches around Snow Kingdom in an adorable parka, something we can all get along with.
As far as the 2D Mario snow levels go, Ben has a particular favourite, on the record as saying “Ice Land in Super Mario Bros. 3 has it all: snow, ice, underwater nonsense, music blocks, and also a whole lot of time not spent near anything snowy or icy. I love it!”. For our resident song-singer, it’s no surprise Ben’s opted for the music block-filled winter wonderland, and who doesn’t love a bit of underwater nonsense? Good pick, Ben.
Personally, I’m a big fan Snowman’s Land, also from Mario 64. With its centrepiece looking like Neon Genesis Evangelion’s answer to the humble snowman, as well as a giant frozen lake for a bit of skiing, this legendary level makes Mario 64 a veritable option for your list of Christmas games, and I wouldn’t blame you for indulging in a bit of retro goodness over the season.
There you have it, Pocket Tactics’ picks for the best Mario snow levels. For more throwbacks, check out our picks for the best retro games.