What do you get when you mix slice based physics puzzling with Vikings and Rovio Stars, the new publishing arm of Rovio? Icebreaker: A Viking Voyage, from Nitrome games. With cut based gameplay reminiscent of Cut the Rope, Slice it! and Smoody, it’s up to you to save your fellow Vikings from the ice cold wastes and man eating trolls. This is seriously one of the coolest puzzlers that I’ve played in a long time. Excellent in every sense of the word.
You are an Icebreaker. A hammer wielding Viking who breaks down blocks of ice to save the Vikings within, provided those blocks are small enough to bust up. You just need to cut the ice up in such a way that all the Vikings get to your boat. With plenty of unique environmental hazards, such as the aforementioned man eating trolls, sticky troll snot, chains, and crows; plus great level designs, from perilous peaks, Jenga-like towers of ice, domino effects, and more, each level brings something new to the table, and I never once felt like the mechanics were getting stale.
The worlds are set up in a similar way to a Super Mario Bros. game. The path of levels set out before you on this voyage has branches, with bonus level paths that you spend in-game coins to unlock. It’s because of things like this that you’ll want to get the treasure chest on each level. Aside from in-game money items, you can buy special Norse god powers with real money in-app, but they are totally optional, and you do get to sample each power first.
The art style is fantastic, with a muted color palate and a somewhat pixelated look that adds a retro feel to the otherwise modern 2-D visuals. The music and sound design is great too. More than anything, I love this charming world they’ve built. These aren’t the raiding and pillaging Vikings of history, obviously, but I love how full of personality each character is. Heck, even the mountain goats are full of charm. There are nearly a hundred levels to explore, and you’ll want to explore every nook and cranny of this game. If everything that Rovio Stars puts out is as good as this, they’ll have one of the best publishing libraries on iTunes. You can download Icebreaker for one dollar at the time of this review, or the HD version for three dollars.