Wow, there’s just no stopping Ice Age, is there? Just like The Pleistocene, 20th Century Fox’s (or Disney’s now, we guess) animated juggernaut has been relentless since the release of the first movie back in 2002, with a total of five cinematic releases, a host of short films and TV shows, and a plethora of console and online games. Despite harsh critical reception towards the latest movie, it still made a mammoth (ha!) amount of money, and so the wheels keep turning. Ice Age: Scrat’s Nutty Adventure is the latest game in the franchise, starring everyone’s favourite sabre-toothed squirrel in a quest to find the four legendary Crystal Nuts – hey, quiet in the back!
We’ll just come right out and say it: this isn’t a good game. It’s an incredibly mundane platformer that’s completely devoid of any originality or challenge. What’s more, the performance of the game on Switch is really rough in comparison to other platforms, with a shocking frame rate and bland visuals. But what’s so frustrating is that there’s heaps of potential here for it to be a great game – there's some excellent level design on display, for example – but it’s clear the developers just settled for ‘good enough’ for the most part.
Once again, the lovable Scrat is on a needlessly dangerous quest to recover his precious acorn after dropping it into the mystical Scratazon Temple. The temple mistakes the acorn as an offering, and activates the four Crystal Nuts. And so, to retrieve his acorn, Scrat heads out to four distinct locations to find the Crystal Nuts and return them to the temple. The plot is about as deep as you’d expect from a licensed title, but we have to admit that bringing Scrat back as the main protagonist was probably the best decision the developers could have made; he’s everyone’s favourite character for a reason. On the flip side, the distinct lack of any other characters makes this a very lonely game – and not in a good way, like Metroid. There’s no one to talk to throughout the experience, and the plot never deviates from the ‘go here, retrieve this, and come back’ task that’s been handed to you.
Controlling Scrat is very similar to how he played in 2006’s Ice Age 2: The Meltdown (which gives you an idea of how unambitious this title is) – he can jump, roll around, throw objects, and unleash a few nifty kung-fu moves against his enemies. As you defeat the region bosses and gather the Crystal Nuts, new abilities such as a double jump will be granted to you, with subsequent regions altering their layout accordingly to allow adequate use of these abilities. Naturally, Scrat doesn’t talk, and is limited to manic fits of giggling and screams of fear as he traverses the land (and the squeal of relief he emits when collecting a health pickup is, er… troubling).
The levels themselves are the highlight of the game. They’re really quite well designed, giving a sense of an open-world whilst remaining entirely linear. You’ll start off in a fairly idyllic countryside setting before moving onto snow-capped mountains and lakes full of lava. What you actually do in the levels is an entirely different story. You’ll hop around collecting purple crystals (which unlock concept art in the main menu – though the game doesn’t actually tell you this) and the occasional tablet or statue piece, defeating bugs and crabs along the way before moving onto the next area. That’s about it. Oh, and there are locked doorways dotted around here and there requiring you to collect two keys (shaped like nuts, obviously) lying nearby. It’s so repetitive, so by-the-numbers, that despite the game’s short run time (you’ll be done in about 3 or 4 hours), you’ll feel like you’ve seen everything there is to see after the very first region.
Where the game really falls down is in its performance on Switch. It’s awful. Whilst not the best-looking platformer on any console, it’s clear that some downgrades were made in bringing it over to the Switch. Lighting effects are poor, textures are bland and muddy, and rock formations look like lumps of Play-Doh. Despite all this, the game still struggles to run adequately enough, with the frame rate chugging along at unacceptably low levels. Additionally, bugs will cause unnecessary deaths at various points in the game; we found ourselves clipping through platforms and getting stuck in walls whilst wall jumping.
Instead of being a brand new platformer, Ice Age: Scrat’s Nutty Adventure feels like a remaster of a game from the early 2000s, and not a very good one either. On the positive side, the level design is pretty good, with areas connecting to one another in a way that feels large-scale, but remains comfortably linear. Otherwise, Ice Age: Scrat’s Nutty Adventure completely lacks challenge, is extremely repetitive and runs on the Switch about as well as Manny the Mammoth runs after gorging on a bunch of peaches. In short, it's exactly what you’d expect from a licensed game of this type.
Sadly a poor rating is just what i expected as licensed games are usually just a cash grab. Not always but usually.
I guess they should have kept this one on ice.
Ohhh, bother! I was looking forward to this one - being a huge Ice Age fan as I am. Would it have been at least a 6, I’d go ahead and get it. But alas, poor Scratty!...
Poor performance.. There is no excuse anymore, not after the Witcher 3 port.
Raise your hands if you saw this coming. I expect you all to raise them.
Aw. Well I guess I'll hope it joins game pass on Xbox
I could’ve swore there was a mention from the lead developer or someone who made the game recently about how “proud” they were of it ....
"Really poor performance on the Switch"
Not a surprise, considering how poorly optimized the Switch version of Outright's Adventure Time game was.
I wasn't expecting this game to get God Tier scores like 8s and 9s everywhere, but I wasn't expecting the game to be this poor to be honest.
The game does look like love was put into it, but it also looks very low budget by what I've seen. Lack of polish and boring combat, along with that price tag of 40 dollars, a 4 is an appropriate score.
Best to play the older Ice Age games to get a better experience.
Don't really care for this game, but I've only just noticed the developer behind this are the guys behind the Oddworld HD remasters, plus the Oddworld: New 'n' Tasty remake and the upcoming Abe Exoddus remake. Are they desperate for funding or something?
Glad I got my kids into Mario as their first games so I didn't need to waste time or money on dross like this.
I don't know why everyone was hyping up for this, I instantly knew it would be crap. lol
Well, that’s disappointing. Oh well.
I wasn't expecting much out of this, to be honest, so the low rating is no surprise to me. Then again, I have played Ice Age 2 and I didn't think it was anything remarkable either. Not bad, but pretty forgettable.
"It’s an incredibly mundane platformer that’s completely devoid of any originality or challenge."
That's how I felt with Yoshi's Crafted World (among other things).
Hold on, let me find my OMG surprised face.
Can't wait for the sequel: Scrat's bad fur day.
I will still buy this as I am a furry with a lifelong infatuation with Scrat and anything where I can control him on screen is an instant buy.
@neogyo Yeah, I remember the dev's saying they wanted to change the perception of movie tie ins with this game.
That ain't happening here...
I am shocked after hearing developers mention how proud they were of it, and also the trailer actually looked pretty good. The graphics appeared interesting so I’m sad to say the least.
Licensed games based on animated films/TV shows have built in sales based on name. As such, the need for polish and quality is greatly mitigated. The money spent on the license could have gone into a host of investments to improve gameplay. When the property that's being licensed is kid-focused, this is even more acute.
@Toy_Link The Adventure Time game is a complete disaster--I can't even get passed the first boss because the game softlocks every time I deliver the final blow. (This is the downloaded version, so it isn't a problem with my cartridge.) The game has crashed on other instances, and the skybox will just spazz out and be replaced with glitchy textures. It's completely broken, and I don't understand how something that bad can be allowed on shelves. That's not to mention load times of literally over TWO MINUTES, revival items that glitched out and wouldn't bring back my fallen partners, and a frame rate that drops to zero multiple times in a minute. The game had a lot of ambition, and if it were polished it would be great, but yeah, I've lost faith in this developer.
Didn't they say they were very proud of what they were putting out?
@gloom well they're proably proud of the graphics... on the other consoles!
So in line with the movies then.
Oh, oh oh hands !
But lets be honest here there are decent movie based games out there.
There is Goldeneye.
Oh and the ghostbusters game !
The 2009 one, I like that one.
Uhm and Goldeneye.
And Batman !
The Nes one
...I'll get back to you.
@KitsuneNight you can pad out the list with Lego titles
Will still check it out in the future, I really want to like this game
Won't that be cheating ?
@KitsuneNight Nah, feel free to include them in any and all game lists. There's one for every occasion.
Damn I really wanted this. Patch for performance and it’s half decent?!?!?
Lego Star Wars 1 2 3 episope 7 and that new one.
Lego Indiana Jones 1 and 2
Do the Lego Batman's count ? Not exactly based on a movie
Same with the Lego Marvel games.
Lego lord of the Rings.
We do NOT speak of Lego Hobbit !
Yeah, if CD Projekt Red can get that to run on the NX, other developers and publishers simply have no excuse.
"On the flip side, the distinct lack of any other characters makes this a very lonely game – and not in a good way, like Metroid. There’s no one to talk to throughout the experience"
That's exactly what I said after watching the trailer. This isn't a "game", it's the part of a game where the sidekick - think Daxter or Clank - goes off and explores on their own for a few hours.
"(you’ll be done in about 3 or 4 hours)"
Which proves my point of this not being a game, it's the part of the game you should play free on an app as a tie-in to a game starring the rest of the Ice Age characters. Like Knack had.
May not even bother borrowing this one from the library now, maybe on PS4 just to hear his "squeal of relief".
About what I expected. This also could have been my review for Yooka-Laylee.
@gloom I am in the same boat. I thought it had so much potential, to the point that I was getting excited to play it. It is a shame that it didn't turn out very good. On the plus side though, I just bought Yooka Laylee And The Impossible Lair physically, so there will be my next platforming fix.
@KitsuneNight Disney/Pixar tie-in games.
Toy Story 1/2/3
Cars, I guess.
I should start compiling a list I suppose.
Batman Begins was decent
I was really looking forward to this.. said nobody ever
@KitsuneNight After The Meltdown? Yes.
Isn’t this the same publisher that published Race with Ryan? If so, I’m not surprised.
Kind of sad actually, especially since it looked okay.
I actually had unexpected hopes for this... A shame.
Maybe when its in the sale I might pick it up.
"Steven Universe - Save the Light" on Switch is pretty good
Otherwise I can mostly agree.
Is that overrated character still around? Geez..
Poor performance on the Switch, from a game like this, is insulting to Nintendo, to gamers and to gaming overall.
@CurryPowderKeg79 The only good thing about it is the nostalgia for horrible licensed games.
I can't say I'm surprised, but I was honestly hoping it would be one of those rare licensed games that were actually good. Oh well.
I think I checked the game size once on the eShop.
It was only a fracture of a PS2 game...
I mean, 15 years have passed since that era and they publish games that don't even reach PS2 standards?!
There's no excuse for that. And people still wonder why platformers are dead on this console generation...
Uh...there’s a reason I only care about the first movie
Crash and Spyro remasters ?
Or maybe that kinda awnsers your question.
I'm also stil busy compiling that list, I swear.
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