When your back is against the wall, sometimes the only place to go is up.
Carlin Michael Dixon once said, “When words fail, music speaks. But when music fails, that’s when dance begins.” What, then, happens when dance fails? Certainly, the answer must be climbing takes over.
This week, for Nintendo fans, is a special one. The long-anticipated release of Nintendo Switch Online hit consoles, and it certainly is making an impact. The exact nature of the online platform has fans divided over details of its implementation, but it’s safe to say new and old Nintendo fans alike are enjoying replaying classic titles like Dr. Mario, Ice Hockey, or Balloon Fight. A skeptic and oft-vocal critic of retro gaming, even this writer must admit the addiction to Dr. Mario is real, and at the low price of $19.99 for 365 days, subscribing to Nintendo Switch online is easily worth the price.
Perhaps the greatest joy of Nintendo Switch Online, however, is the return of dare I say an overlooked platformer. This platformer, released originally in 1985, that celebrates diversity is certain to recapture the hearts of a myriad of gamers as they dare to climb the mountain. Popo and Nana, fearlessly bashing Topis and Nitpickers with a wooden mallet as they dare to climb in the quintessential Ice Climber.
Nintendo fans unfamiliar with the platformer itself will certainly recognize the male and female Eskimo duo of Popo and Nana from the Smash franchise, but the pair has been notably absent from other Mario titles like Mario Kart or Mario Tennis, an absence that it is truly heart wrenching. Enter Nintendo Switch Online, allowing us to return to the glory of Ice Climber.
Players of Ice Climber don’t need to be pacified with mushrooms that make their character grow, fire flowers that grant fire throwing abilities, or even Tanooki suits. No, Ice Climber aficionados know the only thing a platform hero needs is a wooden mallet. Ice Climber is truly retro gaming at its finest. Get lost in the simple, yet captivating, icy mountain as you climb for the joy of climbing, defending yourself against falling ice or swooping birds. Give Ice Climber a fair shake, and soon you will find yourself falling in love with Popo (blue parka) and Nana (pink parka).
Simple though the mechanics may be, the challenge mounts quickly as players progress through stages. Timing jumps appropriately, and maintaining accurate positioning as Popo and Nana soar through the air up the mountain quickly becomes frustrating, but so rewarding when done correctly. The enemies, though limited in number, are full of spunk, and will keep players captivated. Amazingly, a world that seems at first glance distant and uninviting soon becomes totally enthralling, and soon, just as a player has helped guide Popo and Nana to scale great heights, the player will be inspired to scale great heights in his or her own life.
That’s the secret sauce of Ice Climber. Though we all face adversity, and may find ourselves unable to overcome our obstacles with words, music, or dance, we know that we always have one final option: to climb.
By: Dan Burkett