Do you remember Bug Village from Glu? Exactly. It was that game everyone played for just the achievements. Certainly not because it was fun. For those of you who are not familiar with it, Bug Village is micro management game where you have to build houses for bugs and bees and keep both busy harvesting acorn for you. Yes, that’s pretty much all about it. Ice Age Village is the same kind of game, though offering a lot more variation though and even a story. That doesn’t mean it won’t get boring rather quickly of course. Check out the details below.
Graphics and Gameplay
The overall look is very cute and there’s a lot of action almost everywhere on the screen. That is if you decide to play long enough. Upon first launch you’re greeted with an introductory story line starring the three main characters of the movie before you’re handed over the controls over a rather tiny piece of land.
Manny, Sid and Diego guide you through the very first basic steps of the game and keep offering new missions for you to fulfill. These tasks aren’t mandatory, but since you need to get your village growing and are granted rewards for every successfully accomplished task, I’d rather recommend following them during the first couple of levels.
So what exactly is that micro management? It’s basically nothing more than purchasing new animals, looking for a partner for them and get them 2 offsprings each and build some recreation and fun areas for them to play with. Everything else that needs to be done is gathering coins, acorns and stars.
Collecting stars increases your level, whereas coins are required to purchase animals, recreation areas or to increase the size of your village. Some animals and recreation areas can’t be paid with coins though, they require acorns instead.
This wouldn’t be much of an issue, if acorns weren’t as rare as they unfortunately are. And since a couple of achievements require animals that can only be purchased with acorns, you will rather sooner than later become a little frustrated. You can of course always choose to purchase either coins or acorns with real money, but you would have to pay quite a lot in order to gather enough acorns to unlock every single achievement.
There are two other currencies you will come across in the game: hearts and tokens.
Tokens can be used to play Kung-Fu-Scrat, a Fruit Ninja like mini game that rewards the player with either coins, acorns or a rather expensive animal. One single token is generated once a day, but every once in a while they can drop from snow stashes that randomly appear in your village. Other than that these can contain coins or acorns.
Hearts on the other hand can be exchanged for special rare animals or recreation areas and can only be gathered by visiting other villages and “like” them. Scrat, the clumsy little squirrel hides in these other villages and rewards either coins or acorns when you manage to find him.
The quicker you are, the higher the reward. If you’re too slow, a little tag appears above him, making him very easy to see. The reward you gain then is a lot smaller of course.
Speaking of Scrat, he randomly appears multiple times in your village as well, but unlike in other villages, he appears on either the right or left side before starting to run across the bottom of your screen. Tap him before he leaves and you’re rewarded with coins or acorns.
The good, the bad, the ugly
I’ve already mentioned the frustration caused by the rareness of acorns. As if that weren’t enough, the overall game is very repetitive and becomes pretty boring after a very short time. Pretty much like Bug Village, like I’ve already said in the beginning.
But if you’re patient enough, you will unlock all the achievements in the end by just loading up the game once or twice a day, collecting all the stars and coins, playing Kung-Fu-Scrat and liking your friends’ villages and finding Scrat there. There’s definitely not much more that could get you spending more than a couple of minutes with the game a day. Even the at first pretty appealing graphics, animation and overall cuteness wear off very fast.
Ice Age Village was plagued by a lot of bugs upon first release. Bugs that have mostly been fixed already. What still doesn’t seem to be working as intended is the friends feature. The game allows you to connect to Facebook as well as to Gameloft’s very own network and add your friends’ villages from there. It still doesn’t recognize the login attempt for me though, so I’m still stuck with having random friends. But there’s no real reason to play it other than grinding for achievements; you shouldn’t care too much about if you actually know the other guys or not.
Ice Age Village is neither ground breaking nor exciting in any way, but it has a certain degree of cuteness. Being a free game, achievement grinders can gather 200 Gamerscore at a minimum effort.
Ice Age Village is Windows Phone 8 only. It can be found here or by scanning the QR Code Below.