It’s the hottest summer on record, and gamers are looking for ways to cool themselves down (and their consoles, as both Nintendo and Valve have warned that their systems can overheat). To help beat the heat, Cold Stone is selling Nintendo-themed ice cream sundaes inspired by Kirby and the Forgotten Land, Mario Party Superstars, and Animal Crossing: New Horizons.
Naturally, I had to review them. For journalistic purposes, of course.
Let’s get one thing straight: I’m not trying to become the next Anthony Bourdain here. The only food and beverage item I’ve ever written about was the Unicorn Frappe from Starbucks that took the internet by storm in 2017, much to the dismay of the overworked baristas. Today, five years later, I’ve taken it upon myself to write about the Nintendo-themed ice cream collection for two reasons. First, we recently reviewed the Kirby-flavored boba tea, which sounds delicious. Second, Nintendo recently announced Kirby’s Dream Buffet, which features multicolored Kirbys racing against each other through four rounds of food-themed courses, most of which are made out of desserts.
Kirby’s Dream Buffet doesn’t come out until later this summer, but its announcement perfectly aligned with Cold Stone’s Nintendo-themed ice cream flavors. I bought the ice cream cups last Friday night and brought them home to eat over the course of the weekend (as much as I love ice cream, there was no way I was going to eat all three large cups of ice cream in one night). While it left me with some late-night insomnia (I’ll get to that PSA later), the ice cream flavors are all sweet treats that are worthy of the games they’re based on.
Kirby is the star of this show with his eponymous flavor, The Mighty Pink Puff. It consists of traditional strawberry ice cream topped with real strawberries, drops of caramel syrup, and mini marshmallows — all combined into a flavor that’s as sweet and fluffy as God intended Kirby to be. And by God, I mean Masahiro Sakurai.
Every spoonful of the Mighty Pink Puff took my taste buds on a Warp Star ride to a strawberry ice cream mountain where I could slide down the steep slope on a marshmallow sled and scoop up the caramel and strawberry-laden ice cream. The smooth texture makes for a heavenly ice cream flavor, and I barely eat strawberry ice cream.
The strawberries do a swell job of resembling Kirby’s cheek blushes and red shoes, while the caramel and marshmallows are an excellent representation of how gooey and puffy Kirby gets when he swallows large items in Mouthful Mode. The ice cream also represents one of Kirby’s favorite treats too: a strawberry shortcake. Overall, it’s a well-balanced flavor that’s worthy of the pink puffball himself.
Superstar Sprinkle Blast isn’t as intricate as fanciful as the Peach’s Birthday Cake map from Mario Party Superstars, but it still represents the fun and fancy-free spirit of the game. It’s presented in cake batter flavored ice cream with yellow vanilla cake crumbs and blue frosting with a dash of rainbow sprinkles.
As you can see in the photo below, the blue frosting melting over everything is the price I pay for bringing it home in the freezer overnight. However, it still managed to taste like a regular Publix ice cream cake despite it being arranged the other way around.
Remember that PSA I mentioned earlier? I didn’t eat all of the Superstar Sprinkle Blast ice cream, but it was still enough to wake me up at four in the morning because the frosting is extremely high in sugar. Just as the Unicorn Frappe gave me heartburn the morning after drinking it, this ice cream flavor triggered insomnia after four hours of sleep. To save you drowsiness, I highly recommend eating this in a smaller cup during the daytime. But if you really want it in the large cup with the Mario Party Superstars banner, you may want to share it with other people, even your Mario-loving kids (just beware of a potential sugar rush).
This last flavor in the Nintendo ice cream lineup, but certainly not the least, has everything you could ever want in a tropical island dessert. Inspired by Animal Crossing: New Horizons, Island Getaway features chocolate ice cream (my personal favorite), a few dollops of whipped cream, some strawberries, and banana slices. I kept the Island Getaway in the freezer for the entire weekend because The Mighty Pink Puff and Superstar Sprinkle Blast led to some unwanted pounds, so I had to wait until Monday night to dig into it.
Just like the Mario flavor, I only indulged in half a cup — just enough for me to get a feel for the taste. Usually, any dessert that combines strawberry and banana gives an even balance of both flavors. While The Island Getaway contains both fruits, the chocolate ice cream is overwhelmed by the banana flavor, not giving much room to its red outer-seeded friend.
The strength of the banana flavor threw me off because I was expecting an even balance of all three, but I slowly came to realize that the banana slices probably make the chocolate ice cream healthier (if only slightly). Of the three, it’s the best option for kids with health-conscious parents.
The wise Anthony Bourdain once said, “Your body is not a temple, it’s an amusement park.” I treated my body like Super Nintendo World with all three sundaes. They’re a sweet combination of sugar, spice, and everything nice about the games they represent. Some gaming-themed food products contain shapes of characters that kids can recognize, like Minecraft and Pokemon cereals, but Cold Stone has done an excellent job of distilling the essence of games to flavor instead. And hey, you get a few collectible (albeit sticky) cups featuring game cover art when you’re finished.
Even if I got a little insomnia for my troubles, Cold Stone’s Nintendo ice cream flavors brought a smile to my face and helped me beat the summer heat. I can only hope that Cold Stone gives Sonic the Hedgehog his own flavor next, especially with Sonic Frontiers on the way. The hedgehog deserves some ice cream.