Ice Breaker Game

Iceberg right ahead!

From game developer Nitrome comes, Ice Breaker, a unique puzzle game that will test your mind and ice carving skills. You play as a Viking captain out to save his crew who are stranded on and in some cases encased in ice in the Arctic region. Carving ice to get your comrades back on to your ship might sound a bit too easy, unfortunately not in these situations. Numerous hazards such as ledges, toxic rocks and ravenous critters will block their path to safety.

Sculptures made of Ice

Ice Breaker uses a unique visual presentation not used in most puzzle games. It mixes animated sprites and flash animation to give life to the characters and render the environments. A physics engine was used to give the objects in the game a more realistic feel on how they react and move in certain circumstances and conditions. The graphics are colorful and the designs of the objects found in the game are well thought out. Some graphical effects such as the transparency in the ice are really well implemented.

Animations in the game are abundant, from the bobbing of the boat and the waves flowing underneath it, to the clouds lazily drifting by in the horizon. All of these give Ice Breaker a sense of realism most games do not even take into consideration. The game feels alive despite it being set in an icy and barren land.

Howls of the Icy Winds

Sounds of all kinds fill the game as you try to save your companions. Ice breaking, rope cutting and Vikings moaning – that is what it sounds like to us, are but some the sound effects that will be cropping up throughout the game. While the game does have a decent amount of sound effects, most of them are hardly heard because of the games music – which for us is a bit too loud. Some additional sounds, like the howling of the wind would have been nice especially since the clouds in the background indicate that a strong wind is blowing.

While we did mention that the games music was a bit too loud, it is worth mentioning that music was well composed and adds to the atmosphere of Ice Breaker. It gives the vibe that an adventure to uncharted regions of the world is taking place, which fits nicely with the game’s setting.

Making Snow Cones

We mentioned earlier that Ice Breaker is one the games we have considered unique in terms of puzzle games. That is thanks to its intuitive gameplay mechanic of having the ability to cut through ice with your mouse (see cut the rope for a later game using this mechanic). This adds to the game interaction immensely since the cut you make on the ice affects the environment not just graphically but physically in the game, which in most cases has a direct consequence on saving your comrades. While this feature does not seem ground breaking in terms of gameplay, the implementation of the feature is where the game takes it to a new level.

There are numerous situations where you must cover up a hole in the ground that hinders your friends from reaching the ship. Using the mouse to cut some ice spikes hanging from above should do the trick, but the challenge here is to cut the ice spikes correctly, in terms of its shape and size, so that your crew can get through without getting stuck on any protruding edges. Adjusting the game screen is also important especially at times when you need to make a precise cut on the ice. Use the W, S, A and D button to adjust the screen.

Some gameplay elements also involve certain challenges involving physics. For example, knowing when to cut the rope that is holding the ice that contains your crew without him getting swung off too far from the ship’s deck comes into to play.

Another level involves estimating the amount of ice to cut off a swinging ice hammer to give just the right amount of force to push your comrade onto the ship. These are but some of the puzzles you will be facing through out the game. Also, to add a further challenge to the game, there is a limit to how many times you can cut through ice and other objects. A sword icon on the lower-left corner shows the amount of turns you have left. The fewer turns used results in a higher score, so use your ice cutting ability sparingly.

Obstacles are also scattered around the stages to hinder your progress. Rabid rats, toxic rocks and even buxom women block your path. Knowing how to use your ice cutting abilities to carve the environment to clear the way to your ship is one of the key strategies needed in the game.

The levels in the game are varied and well thought out, providing not just gameplay challenges but creative visual designs as well. While most people would not recognize these at first glance, especially if they are focused only on the game play itself, looking closely reveals some interesting objects, artwork, effects and animations. Little things like an ice formation in the shape of an animal or the entire map made to look like a woman holding a ball gives gamers another thing to look forward to besides the challenging puzzles. Looking at the map reveals certain things that will make the player appreciate the designer’s creativity in making the stage.

The Ice Cold Truth

Nitrome’s Ice Breaker is truly a cut above the rest. With its challenging puzzles and unique gameplay, it is one of those games everyone should play at least once. While the game mainly focuses on gameplay and puzzles, people looking for a bit of quick fun might not appreciate Ice Breaker. Still for those puzzle-game enthusiasts looking for their next game then this icy cool casual gem should be written next on their list. The game is no slouch graphically and provides decent audio and sound effects to keep you immersed. If Nitrome decides to create a sequel, we would definitely be on it like a fly to honey. We give Ice Breaker a cool as ice, 89/100.

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