A single-screen platformer similar to Taito's 1986 game Bubble Bobble, Snow Bros. has players controlling the titular snowmen twins Nick and Tom as they navigate up a 50-story tower to rescue princesses Puripuri and Puchipuchi (Teri and Tina in some versions) from captivity. Along the way, they must clear each floor of monsters by throwing enough snow at them to "trap" them as snowballs, which players can then push as rolling projectiles they can ride (taking out enemies along the way).
The game later received ports to the Nintendo Entertainment System, Sega Mega Drive (exclusively in Japan), and Game Boy, with the overseas versions released by Capcom and retitled to Snow Brothers. Some European computer ports were planned by Ocean, but were ultimately unreleased (although the finished Amiga port was disseminated online years later). It later received a mobile port by ISAC for iOS and Android devices in 2012.
The game later received a sequel in 1994, titled Snow Bros. 2: With New Elves. It also received an unlicensed arcade sequel in 2002 by Syrmex as Snow Brothers 3: Magical Adventure.
Much like Bubble Bobble, Snow Bros takes place on single screens where the objective is to "trap" enemies and then destroy them via chain reactions. In this game, the enemies are trapped by shooting snow at them: when enough snow has been thrown at an enemy, they become a snowball that can be pushed around and/or kicked. If a snowball is left idle for too long, the enemy will break free. Kicking the snowball causes it to ricochet around the stage, taking out any foes in its path. The snowball (and the enemy within it) is destroyed upon hitting the bottom walls of the screen. Other snowballs can be launched when a moving snowball hits it. This creates the ability to setup chain reactions. The best way to rack up points is to create a chain reaction that kills every enemy on screen with a single kick of a snowball.
When enemies are destroyed, they leave behind a food item (often sushi or ice cream) worth points upon collecting. If you manage to do a 100% chain reaction, large tickets appear from the top of the screen, worth 10000 points each. You can move on to the next stage/screen after killing all enemies. Time is limited in each screen- taking too long results in an invincible monster appearing to chase and kill you (another similarity to Bubble Bobble).
There are several power ups (resembling potions) available to the player, which spawn at random from a dead enemy. Red potions increase the speed of your character; Blue potions increase the strength of your snow (meaning you can make enemies into snowballs faster), and Yellow increases your range. Green potions engage a bonus stage that fills the screen with new enemies, each representing a letter of the word "BONUS". Each one you kill results in you earing the corresponding letter- getting all of them results in a 1-UP. The final power up inflates your character into a balloon, which makes you invincible and able to move throughout the stage quickly- any contact with enemies kills them.
Every 10 stages ends in a boss encounter.
Ports & Re-releases
- The Game Boy version was released in Japan by Naxat Soft on May 24, 1991 as Snow Bros. Jr., followed by an overseas release by Capcom in 1992 as Snow Brothers (although the in-game title is the same as the Japanese version).
- The Nintendo Entertainment System version was released in Japan by Toaplan on December 6, 1991, along with an overseas release by Capcom on November 1991 as Snow Brothers (although the in-game title is the same as the Japanese version). This version features an expanded story where the titular duo are human princes who were turned into snowmen by the evil King Scorch.
- The Sega Mega Drive version was released exclusively in Japan by Tengen on May 28, 1993. While identical to the arcade version, this one features an extra 20 levels (where players, in a role reversal, control the princesses as they rescue the Snow Bros. from the new main antagonist). This version was later included in the Japanese version of the 2019 microconsole Mega Drive Mini.