Nintendo fans might not have gotten their annual June presentation of first-party games last month (still no news on the next Zelda), but on the bright side, Cold Stone Creamery is teaming up with the iconic brand for three new ice cream flavors. That’s something… right? Okay, it’s not Metroid Prime 4 or a new Super Mario game, but it’s summertime and few things satisfy in these hot summer months like a cold scoop of ice cream.
From now until September 30th, Cold Stone will be serving up three new “creations” inspired by recent-ish Nintendo games, as well as a Mario Kart-themed ice cream cake. The three flavors include The Mighty Pink Puff, inspired by the excellent Kirby And The Forgotten Land; Island Getaway, inspired by everyone’s favorite early-pandemic obsession, Animal Crossing New Horizons; and the Superstar Sprinkle Blast, inspired by the content-starved Mario Party Superstars.
Each flavor is served with a Super Mario-themed spoon and if you order the Gotta Have It size you get a special cup commemorating each game. But how well do these flavors stack up to the beloved games they’re inspired by? We found out by putting all three head to head in a sort of edible match of Super Smash Bros. It’s Kirby vs. Mario vs. The Villager in the brawl of the summer!
As you can tell, I’m a huge f*cking nerd for Nintendo and I love ice cream in equal measure, so I’ll be setting my standards pretty high here. But even as a hardcore Nintendo fan there is no way all three of these flavors are worth a trip to Cold Stone right? Let’s start with the weakest of the three flavors…
Superstar Sprinkle Blast
Where you rank this one is going to come down to how you feel about cake-flavored ice cream. Personally, I’m not a fan. I don’t need cake in my ice cream — if I wanted cake, I’d have cake! Don’t get me wrong, I too have enjoyed eating a slice of cake with a small scoop of ice cream on the side, but that works because of the more equal ratio of cake to ice cream.
When you vigorously mix cake into ice cream like at Cold Stone, you end up with this weird soggy mouthfeel that makes it seem like something is going horribly wrong with your ice cream. Is this mold? Some sort of fungus? No, it’s just yellow cake batter.
Weird mouthfeel aside, the Superstar Sprinkle Blast just tastes like it’s missing something. This mix features yellow cake bites mixed into cake batter ice cream with blue frosting and rainbow sprinkles and it tastes exactly like a cake. Good, but way too sweet.
If you have a big sweet tooth, you might love this, but it tastes so much like cake you might as well just eat cake, at least then you’ll get a better mouthfeel. As for how well it nails its concept, it’s a birthday cake-based snack that pays homage to Mario Party so I guess Cold Stone nailed it on that front.
The Bottom Line:
Sweet, like a yellow birthday cake with heavy frosting. It needs chocolate or some other rich flavor to balance out its intense sugary sweetness.
I, like a lot of people at the start of the pandemic, was absolutely obsessed with Animal Crossing for those first few months of lockdown. And the Island Getaway ice cream really took me back to the days when I woke up thinking about Nook Miles. Built on a base of chocolate ice cream, this “creation” goes for simple and classic flavor combinations with fresh strawberries, bananas, and whipped cream.
It’s kind of hard to believe this wasn’t already one of Cold Stone’s signature mixes. It’s the least exciting of the three and the weakest in terms of theme (strawberries and bananas are both absent from Animal Crossing New Horizons) but it’s hard to not fall in love with the flavor here.
It’s rich, sweet, and slightly tart. The bananas really dominate and together with the chocolate ice cream and whipped cream, this is just a classic banana split. The only thing that would make it better is a cherry! You know, a fruit that’s actually in Animal Crossing.
The Bottom Line:
Conceptually, this one misses the mark for us but flavor-wise it’s hard to deny this delicious mix of chocolate, banana, and strawberry.
The Mighty Pink Puff
The Mighty Pink Puff nails it both in theme and flavor. I was a bit skeptical of this one at first — a mix of strawberry ice cream, strawberries, mini marshmallows, and caramel sounds like an overload of sweetness — but the mix of flavors here is actually really well-balanced. The strawberry ice cream provides a refreshing and sweet base, the mixed-in strawberries double-up on the freshness while adding a bit of tartness, the marshmallows keep it from being too tart, and the caramel adds an earthy and toasty component that wraps it all together nicely.
If I had one complaint, it’s that the mouthfeel lacks texture but that’s a very small complaint to have for ice cream. Still, I think some shaved almonds or crushed nuts would do a lot to elevate this just a bit more and wouldn’t even mess with the Kirby concept.
The Bottom Line:
Strawberry wins this round. At the end of the day, all of Cold Stone’s Nintendo-themed “creations” are delicious — it’s f*cking ice cream in July! But if you’re looking for the flavor that’s actually worth the trip, you can’t go wrong with the Mighty Pink Puff.
Find your nearest Cold Stone Creamery here.