We go hands-on with the new mobile game from the creator of Wonderputt.
If you really want to know what the new mobile game from Wonderputt creator Reece Millidge feels and plays like, then we can make things very easy for you. Over at his Damp Gnat publisher website, you can get your hands on the original Flash version for free - and to get a real feel for the game we recommend you do just that.
As with the original Icycle, this sequel is a deceptively simple affair at first. Holding down the screen causes your naked hero to pedal forwards, while a tap elsewhere causes him to leap over the deadly gaps, traps and terrors of the dynamically shifting environments. Again, you need to collect as many of the icy shards that populate each level while staying alive, but in a new twist you can now pedal backwards - handy for managing the trickiest obstacles, but it's also allowed the designer to up the difficulty considerably, opening up new types of pathways and dangers.
What's most apparent though is that a commercial release in partnership with Chillingo has allowed for greater care and attention in the presentation of the game, a lavish presentation that's comparable with the intricate animations of Wonderputt. The new game boasts a fabulous cinematic intro that makes a nod towards silhouetted Bond girls of years gone by, as our hero floats gently along a giant, outstretched finger. Elsewhere a concussion-induced, Magrit-inspired level sees players traversing a word of apples and bowler-hatted gentleman, floating through doors and shifting perspectives between the back and foreground.
It puts a grin on your face from the very off, and while production values are up compared to the original browser game, the core gameplay remains the same for the most part. But there are a handful of new mechanics to contend with in the game too. One of these, the umbrella, allows players to float gracefully through the world and over the dynamically dangerous environments with a press of the screen. Like the first game, the challenge soon becomes steep, and you'll have to time your floating skills just right to sail over some of the prickly surfaces that spell doom for the rider.
In this latest game, those icy fragments you collect as you travel through each level go into a kitty that's used to unlock new equipment for our humbly naked hero - scarves, hats and the like. While the game will make use of in-app purchases, we're assured that all of these upgrades can be unlocked through normal play if you prefer to pay once for your games.
Playing the original browser game will give you a taste for what's in store for Icycle 2, but it really is only a taste. If a lunchtime blast of the game has whet your appetite for more, then more is what you'll get from the upcoming game - more levels, more upgrades, and more detail in the presentation. We were only able to play a handful of levels in the current build, but it was enough to make us intrigued to see how the final release plays out.