A recent trend on the App Store has seen Farmville style social games mix with popular movie and TV licences spring up all over the place. Capcom have Smurfs and Snoopy, EA has Simpsons (if it ever gets fixed) and now Gameloft have worked with Fox to create Ice Age Village.
As the name suggests, the game tasks you with setting up a village based around the characters from Ice Age and various other animals living in the snowy environment. It doesn’t really stray far from the path of other social town building titles, but tries to mix ideas from other titles to come up with a more polished game overall.
For the most part, Ice Age Village succeeds in getting the formula absolutely right. Coins are used as the major currency to buy new homes for each family of animals and players are guided by Manny and Sid to get their village started. Scrat, the nut-mad sabre-toothed rat from the movies, sometimes dashes across the screen at random moments and provides even more coinage if you’re quick enough to press on him. It flows nicely along with your village soon taking shape.
Coins are gathered from each family at set times, appearing above their home. If they aren’t collected then the home won’t provide any further money, so keeping on top of collecting is a must. Additional elements to take care of involve breeding, with an egg appearing after a set time which needs to be rubbed, and feeding, which simply involves pressing an apple symbol when it appears and collecting the stars.
The building, breeding and collecting tasks provide a constant process to keep players busy. I found myself with plenty to do and always had to keep checking back whenever I could in order to keep the flow of money and village building going.
As expected, about two days in to my new bustling village complex, coins started to dry up. Not only this, but acorns were required for building houses for the next set of animals. Acorns are the rarer currency and are therefore earned at a much lower rate than coins. As with other Freemium titles, these really need to be bought with real world money and I found myself a few pounds lighter in order to continue placing new families in homes. Much as this Freemium model works for this type of game, I often feel as if there should be a full price option from the start which gives you a higher earning rate and more currency to start with.
Mini-games, usually involving that lovable Scrat, do offer further opportunity to gain currency and they’re pretty fun as well. It’s another staple of this game genre, though, and nothing really unexpected. The main difference is that Gameloft have obviously thought about the quality of the mini-games and they’re often fun to play. You can also practice these games as often as you like without incurring a cost, though the game won’t pay out for scoring.
Graphically, Ice Age Village is one of the better looking games of its ilk with lots of animated characters and easily placed items. Pathways could do with a better system for placing them down, though and there is the odd issue with scrolling around bigger environments when placing a house. For the most part, though, the game certainly feels like it fits with the movie series and the chunky, colourful graphics do appeal to younger players.
- Sound: 7
- Graphics: 8
- Gameplay: 8
- Longevity: 8
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