Dec 082018
 
Winter Wonderland Neeko, Winter Wonder Soraka, Snow Man Yi, Frozen Prince Mundo and Ice King Twitch
Snowdown Showdown 2018

The Chameleon arrived at the snowy lands and seeing all in white and blue changed her look without further ado. Of the people she met much she learnt and eagerly talked about the faraway lands she left. An Ice Sorceress liked her stories and went with her everywhere with no worries. They met a Prince with a curse unleashed who caused a blizzard whenever he pleased. They also found a Snow Man with a carrot sword searching for a challenge he couldn’t ignore.

A Rat King was freezing the people, blaming everyone for being little. They dashed and slashed and the Rat King was asked? “Why do you freeze as easy as you sneeze?” “If no friend they want to be, a statue everyone will see.” And so a new friend joined the band, who cheese liked a lot, and together in a trot, went to discover more of this magical land.

Frozen Prince Mundo
Frozen Prince Mundo Splash Art Frozen Prince Mundo Model
Category: Legacy
Price: 1350 RP
Concept: Dr. Mundo as a prince cursed in ice.
Model: New model for Dr. Mundo and his cleaver plus new glow for the ice shard on his back.
Particles: New particles for his abilities, auto-attack and recall.
Animations: New recall animation.
Sounds: New sounds for his abilities, auto-attack and recall.
Splash Art: A palace were a ball seems to be taking place. There’s a pianist on the right while on the left we find Princess and Prince together but, something is amiss: everyone seems turned to ice. Who’s that figure laughing through the window? Is he responsible for this curse to have befallen our once handsome prince? Will he ever look, will they ever look like they once did, like the picture on the wall shows? If a fairy tale was the idea then the setting delivers. It’s a pity that with some much to tell the background is so diffuse and ice looks like plastic.
In the middle of this sad scene we find Prince Mundo, a shadow of his former self. His brutish features make for a contrast against the richness of this clothing. It’s a richness that is dulled out for the most part due to the strong shadows. We can only really appreciate it in the areas directly under the light and they still look sketchy. Far from giving his brutish look a rough touch it simply prevents the royal aspect from showing all of its appeal. Additionally, there’s little hint of him being frozen or cursed; he just looks like we see without any magical touch. The use of light and shadow also seems too direct making the front of Mundo dim and uninteresting despite being the area that is right before the viewer. There are some good shadows as the gloves show but it’s the exception.
Overall, this is a splash art with a great context but a background that isn’t allowed to shine and a portrayal that looks sketchy and ill served by the choice of light sources. In spite of these problems, it’s a good presentation card but it’s clear that the approach taken hardly does the piece any favours.
Rating: Star clip art used in skin reviews at StrategyZeroStar clip art used in skin reviews at StrategyZeroStar clip art used in skin reviews at StrategyZero
Conclusion: More monochromatic and plain that the splash art, despite the piece’s issues, Frozen Prince Mundo may look more frozen but certainly not as expressive. His simple frown merely echoes the classic face and while there are differences the colour ends up being the most significant. The new clothes are the real highlight. Aristocratic and martial they are a good fit for the sabre giving Mundo the feel of a Prince which has some battle experience. The sabre does look rather wide and short but suitable for the cartoony approach. The ice shard on the back is rather subtle as the sole reference to a cursed Prince and one without meaning without a supportive narrative.
Particles are all about ice and all very direct. No matter how Mundo attacks he does it with the support of ice but that support is variable. There’s no doubt that Burning Agony is an eloquent example of the ice magic at his disposal. Infected Cleaver less so but still clear enough. This decrease in clarity goes with the simple glows of Masochism and the barely visible snowflakes and dominant golden glow of Sadism. For an ultimate, even if the healing gold is understandable, it’s disappointing to see the theme so diluted.
Sounds are mostly frosty crunchings and some icy tones which are a good support for the visuals but somewhat conventional. Burning Agony’s gusts of wind and Masochism’s chilling howls are the most interesting sounds. Sadism, again, disappoints with crystalline sounds that barely hint at ice.
The recall sees Mundo removing and breaking the ice shard from his back and something seems like it’s going to happen but nothing does. Mundo is as confused as the player would be as the recall doesn’t provide the narrative as to why the ice shard is relevant. It hints at something important but just that.
On the whole, Frozen Prince Mundo is a skin that gets the frosty part right, dresses Mundo royally enough but is unable to provide the fairy tale narrative it so evidently leans on. There are areas where some of the story could’ve been explored, like the recall and even some abilities, but it’s not done. While this doesn’t ruin the skin it does leave it feeling quite straightforward. Frozen Prince Mundo is mostly an ice skin for the good Doctor but it hints, as it always does, at so much more.

Ice King Twitch
Ice King Twitch Splash Art Ice King Twitch Model
Category: Legacy
Price: 1350 RP
Concept: Twitch as a traitorous monarch of ice.
Model: New model for Twitch and his crossbow.
Particles: New particles for his abilities, auto-attack and recall.
Animations: New recall animation.
Sounds: New sounds for his abilities, auto-attack and recall.
Splash Art: A city glowing under the intense lights visible through each window and covered by an thick mist, so much so that everything looks blurred out. Actually, it’s all too diffuse even to convey distance so that the potential richness of the city isn’t displayed. In fact, as the left area confirms, it seems like the background is a draft.
Twitch holds onto a sketchy dome and he doesn’t escape the feel of draft either. His arms and tail are a good example. It’s surprising, then, to find the fur of his body and ice legs looking almost photorealistic. His head stands in the middle with nice, soft shading that is rather dim but effective nonetheless. The uneven quality of the portrayal is evident. In spite of this, the menacing stance, evil features and detailed surfaces, where they are clear, make for an interesting portrayal.
All added together, this is a splash art with a weak context as the draft of a city seems to fill space more than support Twitch. His portrayal is clearly uneven and yet it manages to communicate a bit of his new personality as well as show his new look. The result is a piece that has potential but feels unfinished.
Rating: Star clip art used in skin reviews at StrategyZeroStar clip art used in skin reviews at StrategyZero
Conclusion: In spite of the splash art’s problems the portrayal can be misleading about the actual look of Ice King Twitch. Whereas in two dimensions he can partially display a vibrant look in three dimensions he’s much more subdued and monochromatic. Light blue is the dominant colour and only the darker blue of his clothes and their gold lining disrupt the monotony. The idea of a King is given by the coat but the ice jaw is too subtle and there are no other clear indicators. The crossbow looks quite ceremonial and while it fits as a fantasy weapon it doesn’t indicate ice or royalty either.
Particles’ main feature is the large snowflakes left on the ground. There are also the small snowflakes surrounding blue trails characteristic of skins of this Snowdown. Trails are much less interesting than snowflakes and the icy feel isn’t felt in the rather generic trails. Deadly Venom stacks stand out by the colour mostly but the rat design is different, especially at max stacks, and the little snowflakes help. Ambush seems rather strangely adapted. Instead of Twitch adopting an icy transparency he simply leaves a snowflake on the ground and then employs the classic transparency but bluish, with snowflakes around. Unfortunately, the ice bubbles in venom cask leave a mixed feeling. There’s an effort made to make them fit the theme but they are evidently a classic remnant. Spray and Pray is a letdown. It relies too much on simple blue trails. The large impacts of snow help the ultimate feel interesting but such an ability deserves much more.
Sounds are too similar to each other. Most, if not all of them are high-pitched metallic clanks with small differences in tone between them. There’s consistency in the aural department but not an effective communication of the ice theme and, certainly, no individuality.
The new recall is a cartoony and not very convincing display of how evil Twitch is: an ice bust of the Poro King appears and he shoots it with a snowball, which isn’t part of his repertoire, leaving the poros frozen. It’s straightforward but assumes that you already know about the war between the Ice King and the Poro King. This makes the recall feel the lack of a supporting narrative. The evil laughter at the end is rather good, though.
On the whole, Ice King Twitch simply never focuses enough on its concept. The adaptation seems to follow the general guidelines of ice and royalty but with superficial brushstrokes. The result is clear: a skin that simply doesn’t embody its theme. There are a few exceptions of clarity but also repetition as the snowflakes is the only clear element. Truth be told, the idea is good and there’s an ice theme, even if weak, on Twitch but Ice King disappoints.

Snow Man Yi
Snow Man Yi Splash Art Snow Man Yi Model
Category: Legacy
Price: 1350 RP
Concept: Master Yi as a snowman swordsmaster.
Model: New model for Master Yi and his sword.
Particles: New particles for his abilities, auto-attack and recall.
Animations: New recall animation.
Sounds: New sounds for his abilities, auto-attack and recall.
Splash Art: For such a blurry background there surely are quite a few things to see. So, it’s a real pity that everything is so diffuse when so much is going on. From a familiar reference on the right to the furry company on the left or the many dummies that have tasted Yi’s blade, it’s a setting that gives us a full scene but forcefully relegated.
Master Yi appears like a true master of the carrot sword, his vanquished foes can attest to it. With bright colours and nice shading his portrayal catches the eye with detailed surfaces. Unfortunately, ice and metal look rather dim despite being directly under sunlight. Other surfaces are also dim or diffuse like his trousers. Conversely, his jacket seems rather bright though not the fur lining which is a bit sketchy as well as the hat. Still, it’s a dashing portrayal that lets Yi work in tandem with his surroundings.
All added together, this is a particularly engaging splash art with a rich context for an appealing depiction of Master Yi. Things could be better, more of Yi could be visible, for example, and an extra layer of polish is in order, especially to make the background less blurry. Regardless, this is a good example of how to provide an interesting and well rounded presentation card.
Rating: Star clip art used in skin reviews at StrategyZeroStar clip art used in skin reviews at StrategyZero
Conclusion: Snow Man Yi does right by its name. While he may be more clothed than the popular depiction of a snow man Yi is effectively transformed and given a deadly sword made out of a frozen carrot. Besides matching his nose, in the right hands it’s something to fear. The clothes are all in tones of blue which make Yi more homogeneous than he probably should be. Given that he’s made of snow perhaps a colour palette with different colours or more contrast would’ve helped make him look less monotonous. The eyes proper of his visor are adapted into several shards of ice which looks peculiar but works as a reference to Classic.
Expectedly, particles would make use of large quantities of ice but that’s not really the case here. Besides the use of small snowflakes all around, the base of the particle design is blue trails and glows. While there’s a subtle frosty feel to them they do look flat, while abilities add some extra ice here and there it’s always subtle and while impacts display snow the visuals end up feeling lacklustre. Meditate’s golden glow is an understandable need for a healing ability but more emphasis on snowflakes and the timid blue swirls would’ve helped the ability fit in the theme. Highlander, for an ultimate, looks simplistic. It just doesn’t offer anything above the basic design of other abilities but it does share all of their problems.
Sounds are quite shy. While auto-attacks make the sword sound convincing there’s only the usual icy tones and twinklings to be heard in abilities. It’s also noteworthy how abilities sound weak and afraid of any loud or impactful sounds. Highlander may be the only highlight with its gusts of wind. Other abilities tend to sound rather alike and also, as if making an effort not to be noticed.
The new recall is a joke at the expense of his weapon’s choice. While the joke can remain funny for only so long it’s a rather suitable choice as it specifically works with his unique look. What is strange is how the replacement carrot blade appears. As therecall is done, it seems to simply reset the animation which looks unpolished.
On the whole, Snow Man Yi is a skin with a rather good model surrounded by disappointing and uninspired particles and sounds. They are timid, weak and have no novelty. It could be said that the skin delivers on what it promises and that’s fair enough. However, that’s taking things too lightly. The skin, as a whole, lets down in half, let’s say, of what it offers, particles and sounds, while only model and recall, for what the latter’s worth, are actually nice. Given that this is a legacy skin for a special event more is to be expected.

Winter Wonder Soraka
Winter Wonder Soraka Splash Art Winter Wonder Soraka Model
Category: Legacy
Price: 1350 RP
Concept: Soraka as an ice sorceress.
Model: New model for Soraka and her staff plus new glow for her staff.
Particles: New particles for her abilities, auto-attack and recall.
Animations: New recall animation.
Sounds: New sounds for her abilities, auto-attack and recall.
Splash Art: Ice, snow and more of both is all the setting we have. There’s a vague hint at an ice castle far away but no specifics about the surroundings are visible. We have a couple of snowmen on sight, too. The one nearer seems to be made of ice instead of snow while the other one seems a tad familiar and ridiculously diffuse. Given that he’s the only meaningful element in the background it’s disappointing.
Soraka is clearly visible with great use of shading which allows the surfaces to be interesting despite the dim, saturated colours. The idea of an ice sorceress is eloquently presented with her staff and tiara appearing reasonably magical. The ice bird cast from her hand is a nice touch to add to the fantasy. It’s a pity though that many areas of her body look like a draft. The magical spirit of her portrayal would certainly benefit from vivid colours and a vibrant presentation.
All in all, this is an effective splash art. The background is a disappointment but the portrayal is rather good despite its issues. A good layer of polish would help bring to the forefront the muffled charm that this piece evidently has.
Rating: Star clip art used in skin reviews at StrategyZeroStar clip art used in skin reviews at StrategyZeroStar clip art used in skin reviews at StrategyZero
Conclusion: Winter Wonder Soraka makes a good job at transforming Soraka into a human or elf sorceress. From the tiara with a glowing ice horn to the Caucasian features this is a skin that embraces the transformation. A remnant of her classic physique seems to remain when looking at her boots. Perhaps the skirt should’ve been fully closed to conceal her legs and leave such a characteristic behind. The problem is that it seems like the adaptation was arbitrarily truncated. That said her elegant dress with fur lining and ornamented staff give her a royal style which is quite nice.
Particles are straightforward, though. They employ snowflakes in large quantities with the occasional display of ice. Regardless, it can’t be denied that both Starcall and Equinox with their large and evocative designs catch the eye. Other abilities are more subdued and tied to classic. This particularly applies to healing effects which all look golden despite the appearance of snowflakes. While the need to separate offense and defence is understandable perhaps some blue frosty effects around the golden ray of healing would’ve better communicated both aspects. Her passive, Salvation and auto-attack, despite being somewhat direct, are appealing.
Sounds rely on the expected frosty crunchiness proper of the theme with a touch of classy twinklings, at least for Starcall and Equinox. Healing entirely resorts to twinklings which further detaches the abilities from the ice theme. Auto-attacks sound too muffled despite their snowy feel.
Her new recall is direct: Soraka summons ice statues. There’s no subtlety to it all but it also is quite apt for an ice sorceress to display her command of her powers in such a way.
Overall, Winter Wonder Soraka is a good skin. There aren’t any important flaws and the few problems the skin has could be solved with some extra polish and a few changes. At any rate, the lack of significant features is what leaves the skin feeling good but unable to reach greatness. For fans of Soraka, Winter Wonder is nice if they don’t expect to be impressed.

Winter Wonderland Neeko
Winter Wonderland Neeko Splash Art Winter Wonderland Neeko Model
Category: Legacy
Price: 1350 RP
Concept: Neeko as a snow-powered sorceress.
Model: New model for Neeko.
Particles: New particles for her abilities, auto-attack and recall.
Animations: New recall animation.
Sounds: New sounds for her abilities, auto-attack and recall.
Splash Art: A blurry forest behind, the blizzard of noticeable, perhaps too clear, snowflakes has much to say in this regard but not everything; nearby branches are also blurred. The setting, then, is suitable but lacking a concrete message.
Neeko appears with a face of wonder at the icy spectacle. Her palm may also indicate that she’s getting the hang of frost magic as well. Her portrayal is uneven: a cartoony body, a portion of her photochromatic tail and another portion which is diffuse like a draft. The cartoon style is the most suitable for a fantastic creature delving in magic. The colours are good but surfaces tend to be simple with only the use of light and shadow to make them more interesting. A good example is how plain her hair, skin and clothes look when fully under light or shade.
All in all, this is a serviceable splash art. The setting is a simple frame and the portrayal rather uneven with areas that look like they didn’t receive the same polish as others. The presentation of Winter Wonderland Neeko is clear but it’s not the best it could be and it’s all there is.
Rating: Star clip art used in skin reviews at StrategyZeroStar clip art used in skin reviews at StrategyZeroStar clip art used in skin reviews at StrategyZero
Conclusion: Less reptilian that her classic counterpart, Winter Wonderland Neeko is rather straightforward. Her new model keeps the brief clothing instead of adding warm clothes or going for a more magical style. There are some floating shards of ice and her skin looks icy but it’s clear that Classic Neeko is camouflaging herself and not adapting to a new environment. The new colour palette is distinct but limited to few hues so that the skin can look rather monochromatic. After all, there’s mostly light blue versus dark blue with some golden highlights.
Particles make use of blue trails, snowflakes and, only in the ultimate, a new pattern which does stand out. The approach is direct: placing the snowflakes at the forefront and everywhere so that the design is consistent and also limited. It seems like there’s too much reliance on the snowflakes without employing ice or snow as complements. Pop Blossom’s new ground pattern is rather nice albeit similar to that employed in classic. In fact, the classic template is all too discernible across abilities. Auto-attacks are unremarkable. The saving grace is her most important ability: Inherent Glamor. The passive employs polished ice quite similar to the reflective surfaces used in K/DA skins. Borrowed idea aside, it makes for interesting ice clones; Sub-Zero would approve.
Sounds are made out of repetitive but appealing frosty crunching and delicate twinkling. While this makes abilities sound rather similar, except for the ultimate which is longer and so manages to be more elaborate. The result is a rather attractive aural landscape, it has to be admitted, but lacking in individual personality for each ability.
The new recall is a simple joke that has some relevance with regards to ice but little to the specific skin concept or Neeko’s identity. It’s fun for a while but the novelty, as with everything, wears thin with repetition and there’s little left afterwards.
The conclusion is that Winter Wonderland Neeko is quite a straightforward skin with very strict designs for particles and sounds. They are appealing nonetheless but it seems like the theme is scattered alike over all abilities without any individuality. Still, the skin has its charm but one that is somewhat limited in scope.

Conclusion

This year of Snowdown skins seems rather uneven and perhaps too preoccupied with quantity at the expense of quality. The theme is unequivocally ice and even when there’s potential given by an interesting concept the result often seems unconvincing and superficial. While there are things to like there aren’t any skins that stand out. One by one, this is a quick summary of how these skins end up feeling.

Frozen Prince Mundo is a skin that succeeds in providing the Doctor with an icy angle. The royal part is only in the clothes and the narrative it relies on is never explored. This leaves the skin feeling quite straightforward with only hints, as many as there are, to an interesting story that is never touched. So, for an ice version of the Doctor, the skin works but it’s not all that the skin could be.

Ice King Twitch is a skin that lack focus on its adaptation and so it ends up being quite superficial. Besides the snowflakes there isn’t a clear communication of the ice theme and the royalty aspect is barely expressed. The feel of the skin is that of a good idea that wasn’t well executed. There’s a weak ice theme to like in Ice King Twitch but the lack of focus is too evident.

Snow Day Yi is a skin that delivers on its promise but too strictly. It has a good model and a recall which makes use of his peculiar look but particles and sounds disappoint. They simply fail to be interesting and they surely lack personality. The result is a skin with areas that are simply lacklustre which deteriorate the appeal of the whole product. As a special, legacy skin for Snowdown, this is a letdown.

Winter Wonder Soraka is a good skin. There are no real flaws but also no distinct features that make the skin stand out. There are a few problems but nothing important. Therefore, fans of Soraka will find in Winter Wonder a nice skin if they don’t mind not being impressed.

For a release skin, Winter Wonderland Neeko is a, expectedly, straightforward skin. It takes Classic Neeko and changes her with an ice motif without an in-depth adaptation. This isn’t only seen in the model but also in the strict design of particles and sounds. That doesn’t prevent them from being appealing but it surely doesn’t help with the individuality of abilities. The result is a skin with charm but with a limited scope in execution.

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