Variety is the spice of life, and that extends to video games too. Developers often tend to mix things up with different environmental conditions for their levels, and that can involve having some levels with ice or snow as their themes. But due to poor design or balance issues, these new environments can sometimes prove to be more frustrating than challenging – which can cause these levels to become the worst of the bunch. To that end, here are 15 of the worst ice levels in gaming.

Iceberg Lounge – Batman: Arkham City

batman arkham city iceberg lounge

Batman: Arkham City is a great game with plenty of high points, but the Iceberg Lounge isn’t one of those. And the reason behind it is simply how uninventive this section is to play, since it requires pulling the Dark Knight across an iced out pool of water through the Batclaw. If something goes awry during this process, a shark will come out of the water and eat you and you’ll have to do it all over again. In addition to this, you only get to fight a few goons during this section – so it’s also pretty light on the action as well. All in all, it’s not difficult or very frustrating, but it can be surprisingly unremarkable – which is why it deserves its rightful place in this list.

The Frigid Outskirts in Dark Souls II

dark souls 2 frigid outskirts

Dark Souls 2’s base game is chock-full of annoying areas like The Shrine of Amana and Black Gulch, and its DLC Crown of the Ivory King introduces yet another annoying level in the form of The Frigid Outskirts. This place can be really frustrating to navigate, simply because of a snow storm that’s raging around in full force which hinders visibility by a large margin. The enemies you face in this section aren’t so bad in general, but the Ice Stallion can prove to be a major pain with its charge attacks and ranged spells. And once you get past the enemies, you have to face another gank boss fight – following which will finally allow you warp out of this annoying zone.

Ice Level – Astro’s Playroom

astro's playroom

Astro’s Playroom is a pretty short game, but it manages to create enough level variety for its runtime to keep things interesting. Among the less than a handful levels in the game, the ice level definitely ranks lowest on the list. While it’s not as frustrating as some of the other levels on this list, it can start to get annoying as you repeatedly fall down to your freezing death again and again in the face of the game’s floaty skiing controls. But once you grasp a sense of the controls, things start to make sense – and you will eventually be able to get through without much hassle.

Ice Man’s Stage – Mega Man

ice man mega man

Mega Man is one of the best games on the NES, but much like every such game of the time – there ought to be a few frustrating bits here and there. And the Ice Man stage is definitely one such bit, mostly because of how difficult it is to avoid enemies due to their erratic movement pattern. Furthermore, you can’t even kill the enemies on the floor which will litter the gaps between platforms, making life even more difficult. But even if you get past those obstacles, you always need to defeat the level boss before clearing this stage – which is also easier said than done.

Ice Path – Pokemon Gold/Silver/Crystal

pokemon ice path

Much like Mega Man that we discussed before, Pokemon Gold/Silver/Crystal also includes some challenges that will leave you scratching your head in frustration. The Ice Path is one such challenge, where you must navigate your way through a complex maze with limited visibility – so it’s entirely possible that you may find yourself running around in circles. Furthermore, the Pokemon in this region will keep bombarding your party with freeze elemental attacks – so you are also pretty limited in terms of your choices for battles.

Nürburgring In Maserati 250F – Project Gotham Racing 4

project gotham racing 4 nurburging

Project Gotham Racing 4 is filled with interesting challenges that players can overcome to prove their racing chops, but the Nürburgring snow challenge can quickly swap out that difficulty for frustration. Set in one of the hardest real-life race courses in the world, you need to navigate your way through tons of steep corners all with limited visibility and poor terrain – thanks to snow. In addition to this, you also have to complete this challenge using a Maserati 250F which doesn’t have really great handling – so be prepared to lose over and over again.

Cold Hard Crash – Crash Bandicoot 2

cold hard crash bandicoot 2

Crash Bandicoot 2 is a wonderful platformer with plenty of fun levels throughout its 6-hour long campaign, but Cold Hard Crash doesn’t contribute to that fun time in any way whatsoever. It’s an unapologetically tough challenge with a lot of moving parts that need to be avoided to get past this level. There are icicles that will fall down as soon as you step under them, ice rails that will send you sliding the moment you step on them, and enemies that will down you with a swift strike. Clearing it in the first few attempts is going to be really difficult, and you’ll have to master the attack patterns to have a chance at getting through this level.

Snowpeak Ruins – The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess

twilight princess hd

The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess is a game with many excellent levels, but the snowpeak ruins isn’t one of them. It’s decently designed for the most part, but the overuse of ice diminishes the visual appeal of this level. The ice covered floors can also hinder your movements, which makes general exploration and combat so much more frustrating than usual. Furthermore, the enemies in this level can also deal tons of damage – which makes this section an absolute slog to get through.

The Ice Cap Zone – Sonic 3

sonic 3 ice cap

The Ice Cap zone in Sonic 3 can be a pretty frustrating level, and there are plenty of reasons as to why that is the case. Set against the backdrop of chilly mountains, the Ice Cap zone is home to frustrating threats including but not limited to thorns and falling icicles in hard-to-avoid spots and confusing level geometry that can easily send you down these dangerous paths. Of course, practice is the key to success in this level and it’s going to take a few tries before you finally clear this level.

The Mountains – Valheim

valheim mountains

Valheim tasks players with overcoming brutal challenges, and the mountains are definitely one of the hardest of the bunch. It’s covered with heaps of snow all around, which makes for some tough survival situations. And even if you manage to drive out the tough environmental conditions away, you still have to deal with a tough boss in the form of Fenrir’s sons.

The Mountain Levels – Death Stranding

death stranding mountain knot

Death Stranding is a pretty unique game in the sense that the core gameplay is built around completing mundane tasks like deliveries, but when you add snowy peaks into that mix – that mundanity can transform into frustration quickly. Having to scale up steep slopes drains a ton of your stamina pretty quickly, and you can’t even use your vehicles for these deliveries since they do not work in the snow. The distance between stations can be pretty long, and having to carry fragile cargo in such conditions can really get under your skin quickly – which makes this section one of the least liked in the game.

Undying Flame Quest – Ghost of Tsushima

undying flame quest ghost of tsushima

Ghost of Tsushima is filled to the brim with interesting quests, but the Undying Flame mythical tale isn’t one of them. This mission has a simple objective – climb to the top of Mount Jogaku without freezing but doing so is easier said than done. Jin will freeze to death if he doesn’t find any source of fire within 30 seconds, so quickly hopping from one safe haven to the next is vital for your survival. Furthermore, you’ll also have to defend yourself against dogs and scale up dangerous terrain to complete this one, so be prepared for some frustrating deaths before attempting this mission.

Fractured Wastes – Returnal

returnal fractured wastes

Returnal can be a brutal challenge with its permadeath mechanic, and the Fractured Wastes biome is easily one of the toughest sections of the experience. While the ice doesn’t have anything to do with its difficulty, the enemies that inhabit this area can be really tricky to deal with. You’ll encounter flying drones, swift moving aliens with heavy weapons, and so much more. And once you do manage to get the keys, there is a tough boss waiting on the other side of the room. Of course, if you mess up at any point during this level – it’s back to the very start.

Ice Zone – Ecco the Dolphin

Ecco the Dolphin is a great game with plenty of fun levels, but the Ice Zone isn’t one of those levels. Where the usual levels allow Ecco to do fun stunts under the surface and jump around, the Ice Zone takes all that freedom away with sharp icicles and sharks crawling in the water. Getting through it can be rather tough and frustrating since failure can come easily, but keep at it – and you’ll eventually be able to clear this stage.

15 Annoying Ice Levels In Games That Should Be Avoided At All Costs