Any gamer that grew up in the 80s knows, you have to approach movie-based games with a lot of caution. After all, they generally tend to suck (and yes, that is a “professional” opinion). I have to admit that I was actually kind of excited when I heard about Ice Age, though. What could go wrong when you take one of the most endearing casts of an animated movie in recent years, toss it in the hands of the guys who brought us the fabulous Toki-Tori, and then center the game around the character who says so much by saying nothing at all? Well, Ice Age is certainly far from a disaster, but I’m not 100% sure I like the direction they went with it, either.
First off, let’s talk about the things they did unequivocally right. The graphics are wonderful. While one might not argue that they came straight from the movie, they sure look close. The backgrounds are nicely detailed and weather effects, while simple, look pretty good. I have not seen part 3 of the Ice Age franchise yet, but the characters I recognise, are well-animated and spot on.
The sound effects for the most part are decent but not “wow”. However, the devs did an excellent job when it comes to sound effects. Scrat is great. He has has always been my favourite, so I’m probably a bit biased, but Ice Age really captures the unlucky squirrel’s essence. And while repetitive, music is enjoyable, fitting in well with the game’s atmosphere.
So how is the actual game play? I certainly had mixed emotions about it at first. I was hoping for a platform game in the style of the 80s Disney classics like Castle Of Illusion. However, Two Tribes decided to go with a pseudo-platformer using Toki-Tori style controls. That means anyone that’s played that wonderful bird puzzler should feel somewhat at home here. To move Scrat around, you tap where you’d like him to go. If he can move there, you’ll see a green flash and Scrat will move. If the location isn’t currently accessible you’ll get a red flash. There will always be an array of obstacles in Scrat’s way, but he’s a resourceful little squirrel.
Blocks of various sizes can be pushed or pulled by clicking on them and then pressing an arrow in the direction you want to move the block. The size of the block doesn’t matter, but Scrat can only relocate one block at a time. As a general rule, Scrat can only move across areas that are on the same level or where one block or platform is just slightly elevated above the other. He is also really good at falling off of platforms, and it appears that there is no height too tall for him to fall from. He can’t jump, the one exception to that being to grasp vines on platforms directly above him. The final “standard” move is Scrat’s ground thump, which is executed by clicking directly on him which can cause nearby stalactites to fall from the ceiling. These can be useful in both filling gaps and eliminating certain creatures.
There are also acorns to collect which are supposed to bring about good things when all are collected. What they don’t tell you is that you’ll definitely have to work to get some of them. As it turns out, Ice Age is really more drawn-out puzzle game than it is a platformer. Or conversely you could look at it as a platform game with an abundance of puzzles. Whatever the case, the more I played it, the more I got drawn in. I’m still a bit disappointed that they didn’t go with more of a pure platform game (virtual d-pad included), but in the end what Two Tribes came up with definitely ranks among the few games that could be considered an excellent tribute to the source and an actual decent game based off of a movie license.
If you’re looking for something in the vein of a Castle Of Magic or Earthworm Jim, you probably won’t find Ice Age quite so appealing. However, if you’re looking for a challenging game that utilises a movie franchise in a good way, Ice Age is a solid contender. The atmosphere is plucked right from the films, Scrat is always a pleasure to watch and listen to, and there’re plenty of stages to keep you busy for several hours.
|Title:||Ice Age: Dawn Of The Dinosaurs||Developer:||Chillingo|
|Reviewed Ver:||1.0||Min OS Req:||2.2.1|
|Price:||$1.99 (60% off)||App Size:||31.4 MB|
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