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|Ice Age Games, Ice Games
As we all know, it’s an unwritten rule that every animated feature film aimed at kids shall get a video game adaptation at some point or another. Case in point, Ice Age, which is a 2D platformer adaptation of Blue Sky Studios animated comedy, featuring a cast of prehistoric characters doing their best to return a human child to his tribe.
Don’t let the basic visuals deceive you: there’s some enjoyment to be had in Ice Age, especially for a licensed game. As long as you don’t expect complex platforming or any sort of over-the-top level design, this game is perfect for some of the younger players out there.
Similar to Shrek: Hassle at the Castle, Ice Age has your characters traversing linear platforming levels with little to no surprises along the way. Unlike Dreamworks’ game, though, Ice Age goes for a much more basic presentation — one that wouldn’t feel too out of place in some of the late Game Boy Color titles.
Characters hardly resemble their big-screen counterparts, as the game features some of the most basic sprite art you can find on the Game Boy Advance. As an early title for Nintendo’s console, it’s somewhat understandable to see the developers having to do some concessions when it came to the game’s design.
Not everything about Ice Age’s presentation is bad, though: for how limited it is, the game does an exceptional job with the GBA’s sound chip, especially when compared to games like Castlevania: Harmony of Dissonance. Some iconic tunes from the animated feature are faithfully recreated in glorious chiptune renditions. Young fans of the movie might recognize some of their favorite tracks in the game, and it’s also great to hear some original compositions as well.
Each level in Ice Age has either Sid or Manny traveling through linear platforming levels, with some minor “collectathon” elements in each of them. The player’s main objective will be to find as many nuts as possible before they make it to the exit.
As is to be expected, each of the game’s 10 levels has some unique enemies and environmental hazards to avoid. While the controls are responsive and the platforming is actually quite enjoyable, there are some glaring issues with the game’s level design that might lead to more than a handful of frustrated players.
The issue that stands out the most is that Ice Age relies too much on trial and error to generate an unearned sense of difficulty. Players will have to take one too many leaps of faith throughout the course of the game, which, quite frankly, can get old pretty fast, particularly for younger players.
Despite its shortcomings, Ice Age is still a fun early game for the GBA. Granted, the experience is quite short, and replayability might as well be nonexistent, but the charming soundtrack and colorful visuals are some solid redeeming graces for this otherwise forgettable platformer.
Though limited in scope and relying too much on trial and error, Ice Age is an entertaining platformer that fans of the animated film will surely love.
- Recreates parts of the movie’s plot
- Great sound design for the console
- Short and to the point
- Lackluster visuals, even for an early-gen title
- Repetitive stages with unfair level design
- The film’s humor is somewhat lost in translation