Games Gazette Logo

ICY: The FROSTBITE EDITION

 

ICY is an unusual type of game that only dedicated hard core story-driven gamers will enjoy. It is like reading a book with pictures and reading it very slowly.

Everything about it is deliberate. Controlled by the mouse cursor you click to continue conversations, you click to select your answer to any questions or situations, you click to move, but only where there are specific marks you can reach. You hunt and gather to get food which you keep in your backpack (Inventory) and are automatically used as required. No food means you die.

 

The "action" is exactly the same; you read a section, you continue clicking and reading, and eventually you make a decision by selecting from the list of questions that arise - your decisions do make a difference to the way the story plays out.

This "game" has combat but again it is via static illustrations. You select the combatants and arm them with the weapons you have and then you choose their actions from the available list, including resting - it reminds me of the En Garde game of years back where you wrote down your actions for the turn and had to include a set number of Rests only here you are selecting icons that represent the possible actions. You can then "watch" the opposing side's actions or you can flip the switch so that you choose your actions but the opposition A.I. plays out automatically.

 

The illustrations are very good and set the atmosphere of Icy Cold extremely well, by the amount of snow in each, but for me the problem is they are static, everything is static and that doesn't make it an actual game for me personally, which is why I said at the start that it's really only for dedicated hard core story-driven gamers.

The story rolls along bit by bit like reading a page at a time, unfolding slowly then exploding into violence (such as the death of the Stag, the Capture by the Bandits or the Attack of the Horsemen) before slowing right down again. There are three difficulty levels, Explorer, Survivor and Mercenary which you can take as Normal, Hard and Really Tough.

It begins with the start of your own tale two years after you suffered from amnesia and lost in the ICY wastes. Rescued by Nomads you now live with them, including Hector the Leader, Demetra, Goran and your best friend Jerome. After the Bandits capture you, just as Hector dies, Joseph, Carlos, April and Eva join up with you, but you are still enslaved by the Bandits until the Horsemen attack and everyone makes a run for it, some dying from wildly fired bullets as they attempt freedom.

 

ICY FROSTBITE EDITION is a revised version of the original ICY game. It has apparent changes from the original but it is still as slow and non-interactive even if it looks and plays somewhat better. I have mentioned that you get to make choices from a short menu of options when there is communication between you and other characters in the game which is one of the few changes, another is the way you use things in your inventory for crafting. Even with these upgrades this is now not a game I can enthuse over. With the original I liked the fact that it was somewhat unique but now it's really just the same with some added bells and whistles but still with no flare.

There are quests or missions as well as collecting food but it's the lack of truly playing a game that makes it not for me.

 

 

 

© Chris Baylis 2011-2015