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Ronimo Games releases prototype for cancelled console project

Snowball Earth would have featured yetis and robot doggies.

Ronimo Games is the Dutch studio behind cartoony chaos such as Swords & Soldiers and this year's hectic MOBA Awesomenauts. Before working on either of those titles, however, the team sank a year into an intriguing action game called Snowball Earth - and now that it's long since cancelled, they're releasing the demo for free via torrent.

Back in 2007, Snowball Earth was planned as a Wii or Xbox 360 game, and, according to Ronimo, it tells the story of "a robot boy who thinks he accidentally started the last ice age." Don't sweat it, kid; we've all been there. With that on his conscience, he's been sent back to the frozen planet to try and thaw the place out - with the help of his robot doggies, naturally.

What he discovers down on the surface is a touching tale of betrayal and revenge, centring on an unscrupulous refrigerator manufacturer that's been hawking its wares to the local yetis. More importantly, you get to tool around some chunky, colourful 3D environments, banishing winter and restoring life to the world. It's basically the kind of thing Al Gore dreams about every night.

"Although it's a shame the game never got a chance to see the light of day, we hope people will enjoy playing the demo," says Fabian Akker, a Ronimo designer. "Hopefully we will be able to give the game a second chance." Maybe we haven't seen the last of it, then?

The playable PC demo lasts for about an hour, by the sounds of it, and provides a decent taste of this charming melt-'em-up, while lead programmer Joost van Dongen's blog offers more detail on the project's history. If the business of wandering around the surface of a large environment and transforming the landscape as you go sounds familiar, incidentally, it's probably because Ronimo is formed by the same group of Utrecht School of the Arts students who created the original freeware version of De Blob, which had you throwing paint around Utrecht town centre.

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