Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs Review
Video game based upon an existing movie license are generally looked down upon in the gaming world as a simple cash in to get money from an unsuspecting consumer, and a lot of times that may be true. Going into Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs you could have assumed you would be getting the same thing yet again; you’d be wrong. While it is true that the game doesn’t break any new ground in any way, it is still a fun romp through the environments of the prehistoric era alongside the characters of the Ice Age franchise.
Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs is a fairly typical 3-D platformer. It is told as a series of bedtime stories by Cid and Diego to young Peaches. Each mission is introduced as one of these story elements before going into the game play. You will find missions such as going from one point in a level to another in order to cover sharp rocks with leaves to protect Manny and Ellie’s newborn child. These areas are thankfully not very far apart and it doesn’t take very long to accomplish these tasks. In fact, most of the levels are not difficult and should pose no real challenge to veteran gamers. As well as the fetch quest style of game play there are numerous other types of game play mixed together so you are not playing the same type of level multiple times. Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs features side scrolling platform levels where Scrat is trying to retrieve his acorn from his female counterpart, Scratte. There are also side scrolling shooter levels reminiscent of Gradius where newcomer, Buck, is trying to rescue Cid from a Tyrannosaurus Rex. Cid has the most exposure in the game and the most numerous game play types, such as a mission where he is atop an egg rolling it to safety that will remind Nintendo veterans of the ball rolling mission from Super Mario Galaxy. He is featured in the aforementioned fetch quests as well as a series of missions where he is running towards the screen from the mother T-rex. These missions are the only downside to otherwise classic gaming moments. They also feature a lot of repetition as you learn the layout of the levels and avoid falling into pits and dying. Cid also has static third person style shooter levels where he is defending his friends from incoming Pterodactyls and huge prehistoric insects. Buck had some of the most memorable missions where he was sliding across vines and jumping across huge gaps that will remind you of the rail sliding levels from Rachet and Clank’s newest adventure.
You will play through the game as one of six characters that are all very similar in how they control. Movement is handled by the Nunchuk and attacks are pulled off with either a button press or a combination of a button press with a movement of the Wii Remote. You will also use the Wii Remote’s pointer to hurl projectiles at enemies. While each character has unique moves they can perform they all serve a very similar function and you will find that it would not really matter which character you were controlling in any given situation as they are all exactly alike. The only real exception to this is Diego, who will be played during a racing style game where he is chasing after a gazelle.
Most of the cut scenes are presented using the games engine, but noticeably there were a few that appeared to use footage directly from the movie and were much better quality than most. While this is a bit jarring at first the overall presentation of the cut scenes will leave you with the impression you are watching the newest movie unfold. This is going to be a great experience for fans of the movies.
While traversing the games many levels you will be collecting a large number of fruits like cherries, apples, and pears. These are used as currency that can unlock bigger weapons or more health, as well as art galleries and music players. The bigger the fruit, the more money they are worth. You will also be able to unlock eight mini games that can be played with up to four players. These mini-games are based on game play elements that you will experience during the single player campaign and there are a number of variations based on each of those elements. They are not overly engaging or deep, but will provide players a few more hours of fun, especially parents playing with their children. Each of the movies cut scenes as well as voice samples and concept art will be available by collecting crystals during the game, and you can purchase these in the games store if you do not want to play levels multiple times to find all the crystals available.
Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs does not bring anything new to the game that you haven’t played a hundred times before, but the variety of game play types provide a break from the monotony of movie based games available. Fans of the series will love being able to play as their favorite characters and getting a chance to revisit the movie may be enough for some to want to purchase this game. You won’t find much in the way of difficulty and it won’t take you very long to finish the game, but the addition of the mini-games and their variants will give you something to enjoy with younger family members for hours afterward.
Final Score: 3.5/5