App of the day: Icebreaker - A Viking Voyage HD review (iPad)

Rovio's Angry Birds is one of the best selling, and probably most played games in the app store, but every time it tries to do something other than birds being catapulted through the skies it usually fails after the initial first-week excitement.

This time though things are different. Icebreaker - A Viking Voyage isn't a Rovio created game, but a Rovio published game. But is it any good?

Icebreaker - A Viking Voyage HD

Format
iPad, iPhone
Price
£1.99
Where
iTunes

A part of the Rovio Stars program, Icebreaker: A Viking Voyage is by UK-based studio Nitrome. The game's premise is simple: an icy wind carries a band of Vikings away, and now the Vikings are lost in a "perilous landscape of trolls, traps and a lot of ice".

Players assume the role of an icebreaker apprentice and must save their fellow Vikings by cutting through ice, ropes, traps, chickens...and troll snot with "special god powers".

The gameplay offers 95 levels of puzzles, side quests, Vikings, trolls and deadly theme park rides, as well as "epic final bosses and offbeat humour".

Fire up the game and you are presented with Hammerfest, the opening level and the place where you'll learn all your tricks and guile. The levels start off easy, easing you into the gameplay, before becoming fiendishly harder as you progress.

After Hammerfest is Trollmarsh and then one further level (we've yet to get to) and the promise of more to come in the future - presumably in the same way Angry Birds games keep adding more levels and content.

On a simple level the idea is to slice the ice surrounding you to help get the normally frozen Vikings into the boat so you can get home, but after a while a more complex element takes hold - a par system.

Rather like golf, the game then insists that you complete the levels in a specific number of swipes to continue and its here things can get annoyingly difficult. Thankfully that's not all the game, and there is plenty to play if you are struggling.

As you might expect not all the game is open to you at first and the game's map branches out based on how many coins you've collected. Do well in Trollmarsh and you can pay the trolls to gain access to more levels. That means more gold opportunities and more challenges.

Add all that to cute graphics and you've got a game we've been coming back to over and over again - more than we at first thought we would.

Avid gamers and puzzle solvers will probably tear through the levels with speed, and beyond the ice-cutting elements of the games the puzzles won't offer much of a challenge. But you can see Rovio's fingerprints all over it right down to the set number of gold coins you need to collect on each level (stars if you will) and precision needed to get the cut just right for the block of ice to slide into place.

If you are really struggling there is of course the shoppe, ready and waiting to take your in-game app purchases (with real money). They aren't needed, but range up to £6.99 allowing you to cheat your way through the levels with ease.