Iced In iPhone puzzle game not quite slick enough

Jun 27, 2010
Games

Puzzle games have to walk a fine line. As a player, I want to feel like I mentally overcame them; that I conquered a puzzle using my smarts, not that I simply guessed enough times to get it right eventually. Iced In (99 cents) suffers because of what I would call a lack of stakes […]

Puzzle games have to walk a fine line. As a player, I want to feel like I mentally overcame them; that I conquered a puzzle using my smarts, not that I simply guessed enough times to get it right eventually.

Iced In (99 cents) suffers because of what I would call a lack of stakes in the gameplay. In Iced In, your little bundled up hero pushes blocks of ice onto red switches on a frozen pond. The ice slides when you push it, so when pushed, it goes to the farthest end it can travel from the push spot. This means a lot of boring maneuvering of other pieces to stop your main block of ice from moving to far. It feels like an exercise in monotony much of the time.

But most of all, it lacks any stakes. You can push these blocks around all day and never lose, or have to start over. In Iced In’s predecessor, Boxed In, pushing boxes into a corner would ruin the level for you, and you’d have to start over.

Here, you can just throw these ice blocks around for days until something happens. Sure, there might be times when it’s more convenient to just restart the level, but it’s fairly telling that there’s no “undo last move” button here. Your last move is as irrelevant as your first.

Still, the outdoor landscape provides for much more interesting visuals than the mechanical enclosure of the Boxed In world, and if you can tolerate the rather arbitrary way you can solve puzzles in Iced In, the ice does make it very challenging.

READ  PUSH – An absorbing, minimalist combination puzzler that provides a satisfying challenge

I wouldn’t recommend it personally, as there are better puzzle games out there; if nothing else, Iced In shows a developer willing to make a change to an already successful formula, which is always admirable.

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Dan Kricke

Dan Kricke has been playing with electronics and writing about them for years. He loved his Sega Dreamcast and now the PlayStation 3. On the iPhone, he's a fan of sports apps and anything that offers new music.

 

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