Mini-games with a chilly prehistoric flavour.
After playing Activision’s The Amazing Spider-Man, I was left feeling hope for the future of movie tie-in videogames. Never again will I cast aside such a game as being not worth my gaming time, at least until I have given the game a fair try. However, this feeling of hope proved to be short lived as the very next movie tie-in game that I had the chance to play was Ice Age 4: Continental Drift – Arctic Games.
Hold on a minute. I have fallen into old ways far too quickly here. No matter what short-comings I feel this game has, which I will detail in just a second, there will be fans of the movie series that will enjoy this title no end. I know people, and not just the little kids, who have gone out of their way to collect these movies on DVD and even marked the release of the film on their calenders. For gamers who are that way inclined, and for the small children who have actually managed to sit through the movie without causing too much chaos, there will be something magical about playing a game with their favorite characters.
Manny, Sid, Diego and others (I must admit to not watching the last movie so I am perhaps a little behind with the current membership of their “herd”) have all been recreated incredibly well and look the part. Even Scrat the squirrel, arguably the most interesting character, is present and correct. The voicework appears to have been provided by the original actors, so at least little Lucy won’t be asking “Mummy, why does Manny sound funny?”. Fans of the movies will not be disappointed.
So far as plot goes, I have not watched the movie so I couldn’t tell you what is going on. There are some pirate animals and, for some reason or another, our heroes have ended up in some kind of mini-game tournament with them, all over some treasure. I am not really sure of the “Whys” but the game is a compilation of mini-games playable with Kinect.
So there are 10 kinect mini-games available and three modes in which to enjoy them. The story is relatively short, tournaments will take a few of the games and lump them together, and then freeplay will allow the player to choose whichever game they want. Realistically, it could be hard to find more than a couple of hours entertainment here, but maybe that will be enough for most players.
The games are all fairly simple to control, and for any that involve more than a little bit of arm flapping, instructions are given before the game starts. Obviously, success at the games will at least in part be dependent on the players Kinect setup. A range of different motions are needed, so playing in the minimal room allowed may well lead to problems with the Kinect picking up movement. But if you are following the Kinect rulebook and allow yourself plenty of space, there shouldn’t be any problems.
The variety of the 10 mini-games is not too bad. They range from the simple Curling-style game in which the player slides a prehistoric tortoise across the ice, to the more complex games such as the one in which Diego has to run along, leaping from iceflow to iceflow whilst dodging obstacles. There are targeting games, racing games and even a ski-jump event of sorts. The variety is there, but it is the quantity that presents the biggest problem.
Priced at £29.99, Arctic Games may not be a full-priced title, but the 10 games on offer still feels a little mean. There really is nothing to complain about in regards to the presentation, everything feels just too minimal.
As I mentioned way back at the very beginning, Arctic Games is one for the fans. As the majority of the fans will be aged in single digits, there is plenty here to entertain them – the magic of Kinect is still around for the younger gamers. But for anyone who doesn’t dream of being a woolly mammoth, Ice Age 4: Continental Drift – Arctic Games is just too simple and lacking in content to be worth looking at.