Games based on movies have a somewhat dodgy reputation. The publisher grabs the movie licence – generally as filming wraps up – and assigns a developer to get a game completed in time for the movie’s release. In rare cases, the development teams have struck gold. Generally though, the publisher ends up releasing a game that has had less than a year’s worth of development put into it, simply because if it delayed the title, it would miss that all important window where hype for the movie is at its highest.
Unfortunately, this is what seems to have happened with Ice Age: Continental Drift - Arctic Games. The film’s plot sees the Ice Age gang stumbling upon treasure and battling pirates, so the development team decided to ignore all of that, and thought that it would be a great idea to pit the good guys against the pirates in a collection of sporting events. Oh, and the winning team gets the treasure.
From the get-go, the game feels shabby and more than a little unfinished. The visuals in the story sections are a million miles away from the high quality animation on show in the movies and as much as we hate to say it, things only get worse from there.
In every collection of mini-games, you get one or two that miss the target, but you generally also get a handful that make up for them. In Arctic Games, you don’t get that handful. What you do get are a bunch of badly thought-out events that serve to infuriate more than entertain. On rare occasions, you’ll start to feel something akin to enjoyment, but it doesn’t last. In Diego’s obstacle course event, for example, no sooner have you cracked a smile because you’ve leapt at the right time to make him jump over a fallen tree, you’ll be frowning as he refuses to stop running in time to prevent himself from falling off a cliff. The game then sets you back to your last checkpoint, and you have to navigate through a veritable carnival of shoddy controls as you attempt to complete the stage.
Other games in the package don’t fare much better and even at their best, you won’t want to play through any of them again in order to try and better your score or pick up the gold medals that are on offer. Some are sort of passable, but that’s about it. We dare say that most kids would become bored of this in less time than it takes Usain Bolt to run 200 metres, and the majority of them will have seen everything the game has to offer in well under an hour.
Ice Age: Continental Drift – Arctic Games is a lazy, unpolished, and insultingly small collection of sub-par minigames that offer next to no playability and exhibit a complete lack of invention. Pick any Kinect title at random, and you’ve got a 95% chance that you’ll have more fun with it than you would with this. Awful.