Based on the popular animated movies, Ice Age Avalanche is yet another match-three puzzle game. But, that doesn’t stop this charming little puzzler managing to set itself apart thanks to its great presentation and twists on the classic formula.
Cooler than the competition
Sliding tiles around a range of different shaped grids to make horizontal or vertical lines of three has been a mainstay of puzzle gaming for as long as I can remember. Unfortunately, in recent years, the popularity of Bejeweled and Candy Crush have inspired so many clones that the genre has become swamped. But, somehow, Ice Age Avalanche manages to elevate itself above this sea of competition.
In part it archives this due to the huge amount of care and polish that has clearly been lavished upon its presentation. Every character from the movie makes an appearance and looks great in motion. A few audio samples join this to set the mood – though there is still a lot of reading to get through if you want to enjoy the story. Well, I say story, but all Ice Age Avalanche's plot really provides is a framework for its heroes’ adventure across the frozen map.
Where Ice Age Avalanche really secured my attention, however, was with its slight variations on the formula and a well-paced variety of puzzles. The first notable deviation from the norm is that, despite lines only being scored horizontally or vertically, you can move tiles diagonally. It is a tiny and almost laughable change on paper, but trust me, in-game it makes a huge difference to your available strategies.
It is also possible to move tiles while matches are being made, so nimble fingered players can quickly shift blocks to create larger combos. This can also help you create special tiles by linking more than three blocks at a time. These special squares can clear whole areas of the grid or entire lines of tiles when activated, often making them the difference between success and failure.
If you do fail a round, you will lose energy. Like so many free-to-play titles, once your energy is exhausted, you can wait for it to recharge or pay to refill it with real world money. For the most part this is not an issue as you will have more than enough hearts for a good session, but it is worth keeping in mind.
Ice Age Avalanche's game modes constantly change. Some simply demand you get enough points, while others have you trying to drop specific tiles off the grid or defeat an opponent by taking over the table in an Othello style domination game. While none of these are ground breaking, they do add enough variety to ensure the familiar formula never gets dull.
A nICE match-three game
Ice Age Avalanche is a well put together and beautifully presented example of the match-three genre. If you are puzzle fan looking for a change, or have some younger family members who are into franchise, then it is a great choice.