Ice Tales ($0.99) by Widget Revolt LLC has a cute back story meant to draws players into the game. An evil ice queen named Maura needs penguins to tend her nefarious garden. (Do not question how she can grow greenery above the frost line. She is an evil queen. She can do whatever she likes.)
It is the responsibility of Pendleton Penguin (that's you!) to find his brethren. Maura is as crafty as she is evil, and she throws all manner of obstacles in your way: crabs, seagulls, seals, and polar bears. Play Ice Tales long enough and Maura even makes an appearance.
We users learn about Ice Tales' back story through the intro that plays at the game's start. If you want to see it again, or get some hints on how to handle all those enemies you are sure to meet, tap the ? symbol on the start screen.
The object of each screen is to clear as many starfish as possible while avoiding all enemies. Bonuses will be awarded for speed, the number of starfish eaten, as well as nabbing the final starfish.
Each of the four chapters are unlocked in succession as you progress through the game.
Users can choose the desired degree of difficulty: casual, normal, or hard. It is also possible to turn off the 8-bit soundtrack and sound effects, but the game loses some of its charm if it is played in silence.
Ice Tales integrates Game Center as well as Facebook and Twitter, so you can spread word of your achievements to every corner of the internet.
Ice Tales features cute characters and an offbeat storyline that entertained me. The game also peppers the breaks between levels with hints about how to fend off villains, or score bonus points.
The imprecise game controls, however, were very frustrating. I found it difficult to maneuver Pendleton around the maze effectively. The graphics during gameplay did not impress me the way the intro and scenes between levels did.
Even though I enjoyed the clever back story and cute characters, they can't make up for the weak graphics and imprecise game play. As a result, Ice Tales is probably not a game that I will play regularly.