While all of us, at some point or another, have forgotten our gloves at home on the day of the big snowstorm, not all of us know what it is to be truly cold. Even fewer people have had the fortune to bump into a steaming vent of natural gas on that same day, and I'm not sure anyone has, on that same day, been chased around the vent by murderous snow plows. Except maybe for some guys in Alaska. [It's true. That happened to me last week. -Ed.] If you've never before experienced said circumstances all at once, then you're in for a delectable treat from developer Spelgrim, a stylishly absurd physics puzzle ("phuzzle"?) by the name of Saunavihta.
Your mission is straightforward. A frothing geyser of black vapor lies somewhere in every level, and it's up to you to send the shivering little protagonist tumbling into the miasma. Of course, there are snowflake-slinging snowmen, those ruthless snow plows, and other frosty foes to contend with, so it won't be easy. Thankfully, the game's kind enough to tuck a decidedly useful trick up your sleeve: white objects can be disintegrated with but a single click of the mouse. As in the other members of the Tumbledrop family, you can vanish obstacles on a whim and rearrange the topography as you see fit. With a little ingenuity, you might even get those good-for-nothing snow plows to do some of the work. Take that, snow plows.
A lot of this game's appeal has to do with the style, which saturates every pixel. The art has an almost Dia de los Muertos aesthetic, crossed with doodles that the one deranged kid in your fifth grade class used to make of stick figures dismembering each other. An ominous pall looms over the entire game. When you win a level, a sinuous voice whispers "Yeeesss..." in a manner befitting a demon tempting their master to ruin. Losing a level has the voice utter "So cold..." in such a way that you genuinely feel guilty for leading the character astray. Keep in mind, this is a physics-puzzler pulling this off, which is something of a feat. The music's got that same macabre vibe that suffuses the rest of the game, so if you've been digging the sound of it so far, the soundtrack shouldn't disappoint.
There's a very satisfying gravity to the character; he/she/it is light enough to be catapulted successfully when the situation calls for it, yet dense enough not to bounce around like a superball. This creates an ideal physics-game scenario, where the puzzles involve using your gray matter instead of your twitchy trigger finger. There's elements of timing in some of the levels, to be sure, but they'll never require you to react within a fraction of a second. On the other side of the coin, many gamers might find a large number of the 25 levels relatively simple, but that doesn't detract from the game's fun factor or its darkly madcap sense of style. So if you'd like, you can go ahead and leave that pair of gloves at home today, because the sauna is open, and the fumes are feeling fine.