Sunday, July 25, 2010

Ice Bike

Oh man. You may notice the extreme lateness of this review. I guess I'd just been putting this off. Not for any real reason, if I'm honest. Ice Bike isn't an awful game. It's not particularly good, but it isn't rage-inducing. If anything, the game doesn't incite any emotion whatsoever.

Let's face it: that's far worse than pissing people off. Surely your goal should be to cause some kind of reaction in the player, right? Not so much here. It's a shame because Ice Bike is actually a pretty well made game. You drive a snowmobile around a course in the shortest time possible and everything looks pretty nice.

Nothing jumps out at you, true, but it's perfectly adequate. That's the best way to describe Ice Bike - a thoroughly adequate game.

The graphics? As I've noted, perfectly adequate.
The controls? Turning can be a little slow, but otherwise adequate.
Difficulty? Well, there aren't any penalties (you can't even really crash) and you're not up against a time limit, but the tracks get a bit longer and more twisty, so I suppose it's... adequate.

You see my problem here? How do you review a game that has nothing out of the ordinary? There's nothing about Ice Bike that makes it memorable. It just kind of sits there, like that ornament your aunt Brenda bought you that one time she was on holiday in Cypress and that you never notice until it's time to clean the living room. Why would you bother playing a game like this?

Maybe if you like snowmobiles, you'll get something out of it. But then, depending on where you are in the world, you could just drive a snowmobile. It reminds me a lot of a scene in an old episode of The Simpsons. Bart, forced to stay in school while everyone else goes to the chocolate factory, has to help Principal Skinner seal envelopes. Skinner suggests that Bart make a game of it, seeing how many he can seal in an hour, then trying to break that record. To which Bart replies, "Sounds like a pretty crappy game."

Ice Bike is that crappy game. The only competition is yourself, and I don't mean you have to overcome some inner demons to achieve success. You ride around a course, you see how quickly you did it, then you try to do it faster. Since all of the course are unlocked from the beginning, there's no incentive to beat your record. You do it just because, for want of a better reason.

In a world where there are great games and awful games, Ice Bike ranks somewhere right in the middle. Neither good enough to be a fan favourite nor bad enough to cause waves of gamer rage, it sits on the Information Superhighway like a petrol station you only stop at if you need to stretch your legs, quickly forgotten as soon as you leave.


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