Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Ice Breaker

Well, Ice Breaker brings back memories. It's a direct clone of JezzBall, a game I remember from some Microsoft Windows Game Collection from when I was in high-school. The only difference is that instead of trapping bouncing balls, you're trapping bouncing penguins (okay, maybe it's not the only difference).

Trapping? In the immortal words of Mister Doctor Professor Skulhedface, allow me to elucidate: you click on the screen to draw a line, horizontal or vertical, that will divide whatever area you're clicking in from the point at which you clicked. If there's no penguin in one of the halves, that half will disappear. The point of each level is to eliminate 80% of the space in each level in the fastest time possible.

Level one has two penguins, level two has three, and so on, ad infinitum (I assume; I did not reach the 'infinite penguins' stage to verify its existence, but I can't imagine they'd have put a level cap on it). The game is simple to comprehend, and difficult to master, requiring both sound strategy and quick decision-making.

It's not really all that fun for me, because I don't like puzzle-games and it's basically a real-time puzzle game. All of the requisite features are represented, in that it works, it doesn't crash, and it keeps a high-score list. Oh wait, did I say it keeps a high-score list? My bad. It asks you to enter your name after you die, but it doesn't actually save the names. Maybe you could keep a notebook by your PC to record your scores?

Graphics are functional but will not delight and awe you. The developer claims the graphics are superior to Jezzball's graphics. I disagree, but he's welcome to his opinion. The only sound is encountered when a penguin hits a still-forming line (taking away a life and stopping the line from forming). It's a bassy glass-breaking sound that's not too annoying but impossible to miss, so at least it's clear on when you've screwed up.

I found Jezzball relatively addictive when I was in my teens, and this one should scratch the same itch. I don't seem to have that itch anymore; Wizardry VII and No One Lives Forever have permanently ruined me for mindless mechanics-based games. If these sorts of things are up your alley, you could do worse.* It's another mediocre clone, and its high-score list is broken, but it works and it's free. You decide.

*You could also do better: there's a Java version playable here, that has a working high-score list and saves high-score lists for the whole gosh-darned world, both daily and all-time. I have no idea if it does malevolent things, but it didn't put any spyware on my machine, or cause any popups to open up in Firefox. Your mileage may vary.

1 comment:

Matthew Miller said...

Hi — just noticed this post. The high score list actually is functional, but expects to be setgid to the "games" group so it can access a shared score table in /var/games. I haven't looked, but I wouldn't be surprised if the the Debian/Ubuntu package disables that.

Or possibly there's another bug of some sort.