App Reviewed on: iPhone 5
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So Rovio has begun to assist other developers in bringing their game to the App Store through their new Rovio Stars program. Nitrome has been selected as the first with their new Viking physics slicing game, Icebreaker: A Viking Voyage. I have to say that it has me very excited about the future of Rovio Stars. I mean if this is only the beginning then I can't wait to see what's next.
Icebreaker follows the exploits of a Viking ice-chopping apprentice as he tries to make a name for himself among his peers. Things quickly go south, however, when most of the village is blown away in a freak storm during the award ceremony and he has to go rescue everybody. Initially this just means using a finger to cut a few ice blocks in such a way as to have them slide, fall, or fly into the boat. Eventually, however, players will have to carefully dissect large, oddly shaped chunks of ice as they attempts to guide the Vikings to the boat and goats into a waiting pen (but not the other way around). Or slice through ropes to swing a massive hammer in order to knock Vikings through the air. Or steadily swing a chunk of ice along a cavern ceiling by sticking it to puddles of ogre snot (totally not making that up). All while trying to nab all the coins and chests that might be scattered around. And that's all before the Par system is introduced which tasks players with doing all of that, but while also trying to do so with a set number of cuts, in order to unlock even more levels.
I was totally sold on Icebreaker right from the beginning due to the pleasing visuals and goofy humor, but the sheer diversity of the puzzles really won me over. It's like an enormous conglomeration of physics puzzle games that includes rope chopping, ice cutting, rolling and sliding physics, and a surprising amount of strategy. To call these puzzles "clever" would be a major understatement. And, as I've said, that's without even considering trying to to all that while achieving par. As soon as this new element was introduced I compulsively had to (had to) immediately go back and retry all the levels I'd already beaten.
Although the need to swipe with two fingers to move the camera, coupled with the timing needed to avoid going over par, can be problematic at times. It's nothing too major, more of a minor annoyance that players can push through with a little trial and error.
I'm not entirely sure that I could be any happier with Icebreaker. It's an incredibly fun, incredibly diverse, and incredibly clever physics puzzler. One packed with enough tasks to complete (all coins, par, etc) to keep players busy for a good long while.