Snow Bros. is a 1990 platform arcade video game originally developed by Toaplan first published in Japan, then in North America by Romstar and later in Europe. Starring the eponymous snowmen twins Nick and Tom, players are tasked with travelling through 50 stages, throwing and building snowballs, jumping on and off platforms to navigate level obstacles while dodging and defeating monsters in order to rescue the princesses Puripuri and Puchipuchi from captivity. Although first launched in arcades, the game was later ported across multiple platforms, each one being created by different third-party developers and featuring several changes or additions compared with the original version. Conversions for various microcomputers were in development but none were officially released to the public.
Snow Bros. was met with mostly positive reception from critics and players alike, earning an award from Gamest magazine and gaining a cult following since its initial release. In 1994, a sequel titled Snow Bros. 2: With New Elves was released by Hanafram, serving as the last game by Toaplan prior to their closure. The rights to the title are owned by Tatsujin, a Japanese company formed by Masahiro Yuge.
Snow Bros. is a platform game reminiscent of Bubble Bobble and Tumblepop, where players assume the role of snowmen twins Nick (P1) and Tom (P2) through 50 increasingly difficult stages, each with a boss at the every tenth stage that must be fought before progressing any further, in an effort to rescue twin princesses Puripuri and Puchipuchi from captivity as the main objective. The plot summary of Snow Bros. varies between each region and version. In the NES port, King Scorch cursed princes Nick and Tom by turning them into snowmen, while he also captured the princess twins Teri and Tina, leading the brothers to defeat the king to save their land.
Each player can throw snow at enemies until each one is completely covered and turns into a snowball, however partially covered enemies in snow cannot move until they shake it off. Once an enemy has been turned into a snowball, players can roll or throw the snowball, which will rebound off of walls until eventually shattering against a wall. Any enemies the snowball rolls into are eliminated and other stationary snowballs start rolling when the rolling snowball touches them. If players manage to take out all enemies by kicking one snowball (this one snowball may be used to make others bounce around as well and increase the chances to pull this trick off), bonus money will fall from the sky. If the player takes too much time to complete a level, an evil pumpkin head will come and try to kill the players. It is invincible but can be stunned and sent to appear elsewhere in the level with snowballs or snow shots. The evil pumpkin head will eventually spawn ghosts that travel freely through the level and seek the player character. These ghosts cannot be killed or stunned and players must avoid them while killing the rest of the enemies.
When players bowl an enemy over, it may drop a potion item. The color of said potions lets players know what power-up it is: The red potion increases speed, blue increases the amount of snow thrown to cover enemies in snow easier, yellow increases the distance that snow can be thrown, while green causes the snowmen to inflate like a balloon while having the ability to fly around the screen and knock out enemies for a limited period of time. The game hosts a number of hidden bonus secrets to be found, which are crucial for reaching high-scores to obtain extra lives. If a single player is downed, their character is immediately respawned at the location they start at on every stage. Getting hit by enemy fire will result in losing a life, as well as a penalty of decreasing the characters’ firepower and speed to his original state and once all lives are lost, the game is over unless the players insert more credits into the arcade machine to continue playing.