Icebreakers (by Xibalba Studios) is the love child that resulted when Mario Kart and Tron hooked up. It has elements of both, but is not overly like either one of them. The short and sweet of it is that it takes the multiplayer from Mario Kart, adds on the light tail from Tron, and calls it a day. Is that really enough to make a good game though?
Icebreakers is a 3D driving game that isn’t a racing game, but also isn’t done in the style of Grand Theft Auto. Simply put, it is the multi-player part of Mario Kart released on its own. At first glance this might seem like a bad thing as that is like releasing half of a game. The beauty of this title though, is that they do it so well, with several different types of levels and different terrains to play, that you don’t even mind the fact that the actual racing has been removed. The graphics are well done, the game-play is enjoyable, and it is a mix of two very good games. Sadly, there is not a single game that has ever been made that didn’t have a downside to it.
In Icebreakers you can choose from one of six different characters in which to play. This is not a huge number, but I would say it is sufficient. Each character has their own snow mobile that they use (with varying stats) and their own special move. In addition to this special move, they can throw snowballs at other players to temporarily blind them. You can also choose from ten different levels to play, each with varying levels of difficulty and different obstacles. The choices go on with the type of game, ranging from who can get through a set number of rings quickest, to who can hold on to a monkey the longest. As you can guess, with all those choices there is some serious potential for replayability here.
While playing, however, I found that a lot of the choices were very similar. True, the characters are all different, but a lot of the levels seemed to resemble each other quite heavily after a while. Not all of them follow this pattern (there are ten after all), but there are enough similarities between the levels to make it worth noting. Also, a couple of the game options seemed very similar to me. You can either see who can hold on to a monkey the longest, or who can hold on to the apple the longest. Again, this is not dramatic enough to take away from the game itself, but still worth noting.
Also worth note was the AI. It is very well done, adhering to the various levels of difficulty admirably, but they still became predictable if you paid enough attention to them. I would have to say though, that if you were just playing the game and not analyzing the AI, then I don’t think you would really notice this at all.
All in all, this game is definitely worth picking up. It is fun, it looks pretty, and it will keep you coming back for more. What else could you really want out of a game?
[review pros="Great graphics, fun game-play" cons="Story mode too repetitive, AI can be predictable" score=80]