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Ice Age Online Review
Jul 11,2012 03:07 by Sara Lau1
If you happen to be a fan of the original arcade title Mario Bros, you will not find much trouble in picking up Ice Age Online.
In Ice Age Online, players will take the role of a sloth who is to explore areas to find back missing animals and build homes for those animals in the new habitat it has recently discovered. Well that should be the last thing to concern you. You just have to explore areas, collect as many acorns and other items as possible, and most importantly, keep yourself alive.
There is a tutorial area on the map. Click it and you will enter a random challenge. Every time you pass a stone with an exclamation mark, you will see a tip on the key controls. Basically, the mouse would be useless in the game. The left and right arrow keys (and of course A and D keys) direct the character to move leftwards or rightwards. Press spacebar and the character would jump while if you hold the spacebar, the character will jump higher.
And that’s all you need to know before embarking on the real game. Just like in Mario Bros, you guide the sloth to the check point. Along the way, you need to press spacebar to hit the character’s head against the rocks above with question marks. In that way, you are going to obtain acorns or stone balls (then you will be allowed to press Ctrl to project them to nearby enemies within limited time). Hitting other rocks, in most cases, may cause them to break but sometimes certain rocks without question marks do reward you with acorns every time you hit it until the question marks that appear after the first time you hit them vanish.
The journey is not safe: waves of dangerous animals stand in your way and pits are everywhere. Those animals are so dangerous that they don’t even have to assault you to cause damage on your character or even claim its life. A simple touch is enough to do that. Therefore, you’d better elude those animals or slay them to avoid damages and deaths. And that is never easy. If you travel through the solid ground, you might encounter turtles and other animals – some of them throw stones at you before you get close; you can choose a higher path, if you can deal with the crows flying back and forth. There’s no time to relax even if all the nearby animals on the land are cleared. You have to jump over the pits, some of which are so wide that I didn’t imagined a side-scrolling game could ever handle it. Also, you may run into waters occasionally from where fishes spring out with their mouths wide open, waiting to tear your sloth up.
The graphics are detailed and vivid in the characters’ movements and in the scenarios. That works as a delight for our eyes but also makes it impossible to have the whole picture at one glance. Hence, there are times when your character stands on a rock, with no more adjacent rocks to move onto, and the only choice you have is to jump downwards without knowing what is waiting. Maybe you will end up on the land safe and sound, or in the water, or maybe in the mouths of some enemies.
As you progress, it becomes more and more difficult to stay alive. The rocks appear in singulars, making it difficult to jump and then land on them. There is this thin stone bridge that breaks or perhaps melts if your character doesn’t walk on it quickly enough. Anyway, it’s all about how you control the keys. As far as I can see, Ice Age Online might be one of the games that make you get unnecessarily harsh on your keyboards.
Each area you are going to explore consists of several checkpoints and you will have to pass a checkpoint to gain access to the next one. And you consume acorns to take each challenge. Usually, you lose all the things you’ve collected and get hurt when you touch any enemy animal, and have to start over the challenge once you are killed. You can start over as many times as you want until you pass the checkpoint and get access to next challenge. Nevertheless, once you are out of acorns, you are unable to continue and have to go back to the map, return to home and feed the animals you have back to collect acorns.
As you resume the challenges, you can only go to the last main checkpoint, no matter if that was the one you failed to pass before you return to home. As a result, you not only have to repeat again and again the initial parts of some challenges to get through, but also are forced to replay previous challenges that you’ve already passed. That is disappointing enough.
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