Ice Age 2: Arctic Slide
Scrat stumbles in his mobile acorn collecting antics...
Ice age 2: Arctic Slide from Glu is a step above being a complete movie-licensed cash-in, but not by much. Gamers play as Scrat, the scrappy little... well I'm not 100% certain what he is, having not seen either film. In any case you play as the little squirrel/weasel that is present in all the movie's preview material, always working as hard as he can to keep his precious acorn out of harm's way.
In Arctic Slide Scrat is in a perpetual state of motion, and its up to you to guide him through 15 levels of occasionally Sonic the Hedgehog-esque ramps, pits, and spring boards. To clear each level gamers will need to collect a set number of acorns, which isn't as easy as it sounds. You have to keep Scrat moving quickly to reach the higher paths, where the larger acorn stashes are located. Maintaining speed is simple - just hold forward to run when headed uphill, and release to slide when going downhill. The challenge is that the high speed needed to make the necessary jumps makes it all but impossible to react in time to avoid obstacles. Memorization of upcoming boulders and jumps through frequent retries quickly becomes a must, which sucks a large portion of the game's moderate fun right out.
The game has numerous problems apart from the frustrating memorization requirement. For starters there are just 15 levels total, all of which can be completed in a couple short minutes, once you know the layout. All restarting included I saw everything the game had to offer in about 50 minutes.
More importantly, it wasn't a particularly fun 50 minutes. There are a handful of objects Scrat will interact with in his environment, such as boulders, geysers, and catapults, and each one was buggy and frustrating to deal with. Catapults would launch me in the wrong direction about half the time. Geysers raise and lower themselves to allow access to higher areas, but it was difficult to get on and off of them - I'd often slide right by. The game's first few levels, the ones that focus solely on acorn collection and speed, were the most fun. The more complex the level design became the more unwieldy the basic control scheme seemed.
To the game's credit your high score for each level is recorded, extending replay value beyond the hour or so the game itself lasts. Arctic Slide isn't horrible; I didn't have to force myself to play through it to the end as I do with some mobile shovelware. It certainly isn't something I have any desire to play more of, however.
What's Hot: Horizontal (widescreen) support. Hi-score tracking.
What's Not: The game is short, glitchy, and light on fun.