I had the opportunity to play this older movie title, although it’s really not that old since the DVD isn’t being released until December, but anyway, if you haven’t heard about this one, here’s the summary:
There’s cold, and there’s Arctic cold. There are the Winter Games, and now there are the Arctic Games! Ice Age takes winter sports to a wacky new level with this cold-weather competition inspired by Ice Age: Continental Drift! The herd goes up against a band of pirates in an all-out contest to see who can take home the most treasure. Compete in ten arctic athletic challenges where you’ll hop, dash, and smash in events like Glacier Hopping, Ski Jumping, the Prehistoric Plumber, and the Coconut Slingshot. Earn gold, silver, and bronze acorns as a reward for your performance in single-player modes like Free Play and Story or in fast-moving multiplayer.
This one is a new side story created from the latest Ice Age movie. It’s a mini-game compilation, which isn’t new, the controls work for the most part, and it’s fun for a little bit, for as for kids, they’ll probably love it or hate it.
The menu is simple, it consists of 4 categories. Story starts the side story involving the characters. It’s pretty basic, the pirates want the booty (fruit) as does the Ice Age herd, so they decide to play some Ice Age games over it. The graphics are ok, nothing as spectacular as the movie but they work for the most part. Most of the original voices are here, except for the rabbit, I’m almost certain that’s not his voice. The story will not take you long to get through, I think I clocked about an hour if that.
Free Play has all of the events individually which I’ll break down, Tournament is the story mode except you get to play with 2 players, one player controls the herd and the other controls the crew which are the pirates. Lastly are the Options.
This section lists all of the different events you can play. You can also play either single or multiplayer as well. Multiplayer is just taking turns, so no simultaneous play here. You either pick the herd or the crew. It would have been a nicer feature to be able to select different characters, as well as maybe add some unlockable characters, or even put some effort into it and have a difference in power/speed, etc with the different characters, but yeah, none of that is here. There are a total of 10 events, most last under 3 minutes which is quite sad in my opinion. I will break each one down and I did make a video of each as usual.
This event I’m assuming is supposed to be like combining bob-sledding and smashing through ice blocks. The controls are fairly simple, lean left or right to swing side to side, and lean forward to boost your speed. There is a multiplier in here and it goes to 4x as long as you hit only your designated ice blocks. Hitting the other teams ice blocks will slow you down and reset your multiplier. Here’s a video of it:
This one is probably the most active. It’s a basic platform level. You have to run in place, and you are able to jump as well. Holding both hands forward force you to stop, and if you hold your hands in the stop motion for a second or two, your character will start to walk backwards. The objective is just to get a good time. Check out the video below:
This one is different. You have a giant slingshot and they load it automatically. You lean left or right to aim, and you pull back with both hands, and then put both hands up to let go. I noticed you do not want to walk backwards/away from Kinect, it doesn’t work then. You have to use your hands/arms to actually pull back. I also noticed you want your arms higher than normal, about chest level instead of stomach level. You have a set amount of time to score as many points as you can. Here’s the video:
This event is probably the second most active one. You lean left or right to move your character over a cracked piece of ice, and then you have to jump like crazy in order to break it. Jumping over and over gets a little tiring. You wash, rinse and repeat until you get to the bottom. Here’s the gameplay:
Another pretty easy event. The controls are very sensitive though and it auto-corrects you to go straight. It’s basically a ski slalom event. You push your arms like you are using poles and then lean left or right to move. Nothing really special about it, here’s the video:
This one is just a sliding event that has power boost arrows that make you go faster. Another timed event, get to the end as fast as you can. Hitting snow banks do slow you down, but that’s all there really is to it. Here’s the video:
This one reminded me of curling without all of the technical aspects to it. You just swing your arm backward and then forward and your turtle will slide. You can also lean left or right while the turtle is sliding to spin it in either direction. You can bounce off the sides for ricochet shots as well. Each player has 5 shots to score as many points as they can. Here’s the video:
This one is like ski jumping, but again, fairly simple. You have to push with your arms as you were using sticks, get down to the ramp, crouch for additional speed and then jump at the last-minute. You are in the air for a while and while coasting along, you just have to do these poses that it asks for. I found out again you don’t need to fit into the white silhouette but as long as you stand straight and just do the gestures, it works fine. Here’s the video:
This is a strange one, you play as the squirrel and get launched from a log. To begin, you put your arms in a pumping up and down motion and then the squirrel gets launched and starts flying through the air. Your objective is to bounce from trampoline to trampoline and you can steer via leaning left or right. If you overshoot it a little bit, you can lean forward to dive down quickly. Also while cruising along, you have 3 opportunities to use leafs to float up a little bit. They do recharge after a little bit. The video probably explains it better:
The last one is a fairly simple one as well. You play the squirrel again but this time you just have to plug up cracks in the ice to not allow water to overflow. You lean left or right to move him, although its pre-set locations on where he ends up, then you just use either hand and hover and lock it over the hole to patch it up. The objective is just to get as many points as you can. Here’s the video:
There’s not much to it, one section allows you to adjust the volume for the Sound FX and Music. You can also change the language to your preference. The credits are also viewable in here. There is also an Unlockables area, but it only has 50 pictures from the movie that you can unlock and view. To unlock them, you just collect acorns which are in every level. There are also Ruby acorns but they just help you unlock the pictures faster.
Unfortunately, there wasn’t much effort put into this one. Thankfully the controls work, so kids may or may not enjoy this one. I know after the 4th one, I’m Ice Aged out. There isn’t any variation to the levels so they do get stale pretty quick. The opponent AI if playing single player is quite dull as well. The only replay value is to get the achievements as the achievements have you replaying the game more than the game itself wants you to. I’m surprised the price hasn’t decreased much for this one, so if you must absolutely have it for that stocking stuffer, I’d recommend it finding it as low as possible.
This review is based on a retail copy of the Xbox 360 version of Ice Age: Continental Drift – Arctic Games
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