What is it?
Think Sonic the Hedgehog mashed up with Super Mario Bros, but with penguins. Ice Tales is a fun 3D level-clearing adventure game in the retro style of those classic ’80s games, complete with starfish to collect, baskets of fish to eat, and enemies to jump over, stun, or avoid. Ice Tales is well executed and immensely entertaining for both those who remember NES games when they were brand new and for those whose frame of reference stretches no further back than World of Warcraft.
How does it work?
If you can swipe and tap, you can play Ice Tales. Unlike many iOS games, Ice Tales does a fantastic job of presenting unobtrusive instructions throughout gameplay. A small popup window appears before each level providing instructions on no more than two maneuvers, such as swiping to move, swiping faster to run, and tapping to jump.
The goal of all this swiping and tapping is to clear the level of starfish (reminiscent of rings in Sonic), and to collect the basket of fish on each level before the evil seagulls eat all the fish. The player takes on the character of Pendleton the penguin, whose mission is to clear each level and save his penguin brethren from the evil queen (whose appearance, aside from her face, is remarkably similar to princess Peach from the Mario universe).
Levels are three dimensional, requiring the player to swipe side to side, back to front, and also utilize elevators to move up and down. Enemies, including seals, crabs, sea lions, and squid, patrol the platforms, requiring tricky maneuvering or stunning by jumping on them.
Is it contagious?
For $0.99, Ice Tales is worth it for the nostalgia alone. The soundtrack and gameplay recall elements of several NES/arcade classics, while the storyline is fresh enough to be engaging. With three levels of difficulty, it is possible to play simply for the fun of it or as a serious challenge.
If you cheered at the release of classic games on the Wii Virtual Console, Ice Tales will make a perfect addition to your library of games!
Developer: Widget Revolt, LLC
Download: Ice Tales