Icycle: On Thin Ice ($0.99) by Chillingo Ltd is a puzzling platformer that takes place in what the developer refers to as a “post-apocalyptic frozen wonderland,” and I cannot think of a better way to describe it. In this environment, you will help Dennis, a dazed and confused survivor in the nude ride a tiny, rickety bicycle for survival. Where he's going, who knows, but he must survive the cold.
To proceed throughout each level, use the left, right, and up arrows located along the bottom of the display. Tapping left or right will move Dennis forward or backward, while tapping up will make him jump, and holding that arrow will deploy his parachute umbrella.
As Dennis makes his way carefully across the landscapes, his environment will change around him. Unfortunately, these changes are usually not in his favor. To prevent him from freezing to death, be sure to watch out for pointy objects, land mines, and other obstacles that may poke or crush him. Once Dennis uses all four of his lives, known as “spare wheels,” he will have to begin a level over again or purchase more spare wheels using the game's currency. Of course, more of this currency can be attained via in-app purchasing.
Along with acquiring more spare wheels, you can also purchase new apparel and equipment for Dennis in the “icebox”, which acts as the game's virtual store.
One of the strong points of Icycle: On Thin Ice is that the graphics are not only a pleasure to view, but they also add to the overall experience of the game to make it seem more real. Their color and texture reminds me of the Mimpi games that we recently reviewed. As Dennis gets more and more lost in the middle of nowhere, the view continues to pan out to portray the feeling of emptiness. However, while this looks great on the iPad and has the same effect on the iPhone, this type of camera angle is not optimal on devices with smaller displays, since holding my phone right up to my face caused a bit of eye strain.
The graphics, complete with the sounds of whistling wind and Dennis' little bicycle are very consuming, yet soothing to experience. As each level, or “location” changes, so does the visual makeup of Dennis' surroundings. While there are only 20 locations to work with, each of them presents a great deal of challenge, especially if you are going for a perfect score of 100 percent.
For anyone who, like myself, enjoys a casual platformer that requires a bit of wit, Icycle: On Thin Ice is calling your name. Head over to the App Store and purchase a universal copy of it for $0.99.