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Ice Age: Continental Drift - Arctic Games Review (PS3, Xbox 360)

The latest Ice Age game, and why you shouldn't buy it.

Ice Age: Continental Drift – Arctic Games almost manages to rewrite your feelings on the Ice Age films, erasing some of the positive memories you might have carried. I’ve laughed out loud and genuinely enjoyed the movies I’ve seen, but Activision’s latest game nearly spoils all that with poor renditions of the main characters and gameplay that is as generally dull as it is inconsistent.

I’m not often harsh on a game, I like to think I can see through sloppy presentation and a few dodgy issues if the mechanics are solid and there’s some promise there, but Arctic Games starts badly (with some low resolution, cheap looking video footage) and somehow gets worse, the so-called Story Mode peppered with more low-rent FMV and even managing to actually repeat the various minigames as the plot rumbles on to pad things out.

Targets, always good fun.
Plot, there, used loosely. The idea, two sets of prehistoric animals fighting over an acorn full of fruit, is preposterous enough, but when the outcome of who gets to eat apples made of about 10 polygons is decided by the partaking of a number of mini-games (presumably just in time to grab some of that Olympic fever) your eyes just can’t roll enough.

There’s ten such games available, and whilst some are obvious enough given the icy locale (skiing is actually alright, but the ski jump is a miserable attempt to do some in-air button matching tricks) the sudden change of pace to the pedestrian crawl of a curling themed event really takes the biscuit. Especially when facing off against possibly the most frustratingly stupid and painfully slow AI ever witnessed in a game like this.

Thankfully, most games are actually just against the clock or a score level, although even with these simple, life-long markers it’s not really evident how you’ve done (or even if you’ve actually won) until the end, when the game inexplicably then deducts seconds or adds on points depending on how many acorns you’ve come across during a downhill descent or hit on the arc of a target somewhere out to sea in the long-range catapult game.

You’re unlikely to lose first time, despite the game rules passing by once as the game loads and then being left without button prompts to figure things out for yourself. When you do struggle – as I did in the one that sees Diego leaping from block of ice to block of ice against a timer and some nasty game rules and controls that see you plunging into the water through no fault of your own – it’s controller-smashingly annoying.

The confusing ice jumping minigame.
You know, this didn’t need to be this bad. I get that it’s intended for kids but that doesn’t mean that the target audience is going to forgive game rules that aren’t explained, make little sense and offer almost zero reward. There’s a lack of attention and care present in Arctic Games the likes of which I’ve not seen for a long time, and it’s disappointing to see what appears to be such a lifeless cash in as the movie rolls out.

Motion controls are present, but they make little difference to the gameplay. The tilt-to-steer on the PlayStation controller works appropriately, but having to flick it up and down feels like 2007, and I dread to think what it’s like with Kinect. Thankfully, you can play with regular controls.

This isn’t a party game because there’s really no party here, and only a couple of the games are actually any good (the one where you’re tasked with plugging holes is perhaps the highlight, requiring deft use of the twin analog sticks). The various options are really only variations on a theme, and this will realistically only provide an hour or so’s entertainment for kids with nothing else to play.


  • Workmanlike graphics.
  • Kids might appreciate the characters.


  • Inconsistent gameplay.
  • Just not really all that much fun.

It’s not clear what really happened here. Ice Age: Continental Drift the videogame is a poor reflection on the series, feels underdeveloped and – given the limited amount of actual game on offer – overpriced even at a ‘budget’ rate of thirty notes. Die-hard fans might just appreciate the characters, but for me it’s just managed to sour the brand. Very hard to recommend, even for kids.

Score: 3/10

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  1. LTG Davey
    Since: Aug 2008

    Given it’s a movie tie-in and uses motion controls I think it’s fate had sadly been decided a long time ago…

    Comment posted on 17/07/2012 at 09:04.
  2. Forrest_01
    Since: Jun 2009

    So if i feel the sudden urge to be utterly frustrated, i suppose this is the title for me?

    Hmmm, it’s tempting…

    Comment posted on 17/07/2012 at 09:54.
    • Origami Killer
      Since: May 2010

      I find taking any form of public transport to fill my frustrated needs, cheaper too!

      Comment posted on 17/07/2012 at 10:10.
      • Forrest_01
        Since: Jun 2009

        Ah, i already do that daily though, so a new form of frustration is always welcomed!! :)

        Comment posted on 17/07/2012 at 10:20.
      • Youles
        Since: Feb 2011

        Indeed OK – I stopped using the bus last time some geezer got his tackle out and pissed down the aisle. I would rather walk 10 miles than ride the bus for 1.

        Comment posted on 17/07/2012 at 12:08.
      • Forrest_01
        Since: Jun 2009

        Sorry about that. I just couldn’t wait.

        Comment posted on 17/07/2012 at 12:10.
      • Youles
        Since: Feb 2011


        Comment posted on 17/07/2012 at 12:22.
  3. Origami Killer
    Since: May 2010

    Ouch! Sounds really bad. Hopefully the film is good though :P

    Comment posted on 17/07/2012 at 10:09.
  4. Scotty34
    Since: Apr 2011


    Comment posted on 17/07/2012 at 12:28.
  5. Sympozium
    Since: Aug 2009

    Cold…..so cold..

    Comment posted on 17/07/2012 at 14:48.
  6. RudeAwakening
    Since: Jan 2011

    I never have any high hopes for these movie tie-in games.

    Comment posted on 17/07/2012 at 21:34.
  7. Jakster123x
    Since: Aug 2011

    I feel bad for the people who have to play these types of games for review purposes.

    Comment posted on 18/07/2012 at 01:44.

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