At their best, tilt controls can be ever so much fun. The finest example is WarioWare Twisted, a brilliant Game Boy Advance game that puts tilt controls to varied and creative uses – a game so fun and enjoyable that I could waffle on about it for hours.
Instead, this review focuses on Ice Mechanica.
Here, you must help a tiny robot eye find its way to the end of each level, by tilting your iOS device and letting gravity do the rest. Each level contains the usual type of industrial hazards: static and moving buzzsaws, cogs, objects that try to crush you – that kind of thing. Sometimes, you’ll even need to hit switches to proceed further. It is as uninspired as it sounds.
The problem with games that require you to tilt a portable device is that less is most definitely more. A game that asks you to tilt the item in your hands a few degrees to the left or right is going to be infinitely more enjoyable than one that asks you to constantly rotate your device 360 degrees-plus. I think you can guess which category Ice Mechanica falls into, and matters are made worse by the fact that your little robot eye slides around so much that it just causes frustration.
It would be more bearable if the levels had a little more creativity involved in their development – you can only avoid spinning buzzsaws and crushing pistons for so long before boredom sets in. There is a great deal of challenge involved with many of the 30 levels, but there comes a time when enough is enough, and the realisation sets in that you aren’t really having fun at all.
The whole game just feels so generic by App Store standards. You’ve got graphics that are so incredibly basic that most of the screen is filled with grey objects and bland environments. Most assets are made of circles or rectangles with no sense of imagination. It’s barely acceptable for free apps these days, let alone one that costs £1.49.
VERDICT: It’s been a while since I’ve played an iOS game that’s made me feel so damn bored on my morning commute. It’s so dull and grey that at times it genuinely made me feel miserable. This is the type of review I absolutely hate writing, but sometimes you take a step back from a game and think: “Why am I playing this?”.
Ice Mechanica is technically a competent game, but it commits the cardinal sin of gaming by being not very fun at all. We say this in so many mobile reviews, but it holds extremely true here: Why spend £1.49 on this when there are far cheaper ways to find fun on the App Store?
BAD. Ugly, lazy, and unpleasant, if we’ve scored a game so low then it has serious issues. A 3/10 game will suffer from a combination of uninspired, lacklustre design, unfixed bugs and poor presentation.
Review code provided by publisher.