Newly thawed from Nitrome, Ice Breaker is a great-looking physics-based puzzle game involving vikings, chunks of ice, and vikings frozen inside chunks of ice. Using the mouse, simply draw lines to cut the ice and drop vikings onto the ship. You'll often need to manipulate the frozen environment to create a smooth path for the vikingcicles to slide down, so timing and a little experimentation with physics are your two best friends in this game.
To slice a chunk of ice, all you have to do is click and drag the mouse. You can only cut using a clean stroke, so the line must begin and end outside of the ice. Use the [arrow] or [WASD] keys to scroll the map, or just slide the cursor to the edge of the screen to take a look around.
Ice Breaker doesn't confine the action to cutting and dropping. More physics puzzles are introduced quite quickly, including fixed points where ice can swing from and ropes that can bind pieces of ice together. You'll also find a few other obstacles and bonuses as you slice your way through the game's healthy 40 levels. And even when you're not trying to complete puzzles, it's a lot of fun to cut up the environment to see what kind of havoc you can wreck.
New expanded versions now available!
Analysis: The gameplay in Ice Breaker is reminiscent of the under-appreciated Nintendo DS game Soul Bubbles. In both titles you manipulate objects by slicing chunks off of larger pieces to make them more manageable. In Ice Breaker, for example, you'll often need to cut slivers of ice so a frozen viking can slide down a pathway. Sometimes chiseling a pillar into a properly fitted bridge will be necessary to move a viking to safety, bringing into play your ability to mentally visualize and rotate oddly-shaped objects in your mind.
I've always enjoyed Nitromes pixel-perfect art style, but Ice Breaker's visual presentation really impressed me. Maybe I just like the Norse-like influence, the subtle hints of a grand mythology looming just behind the fuzzy bearded viking guys. The moment I saw the ship floating in the cold waters I was in awe.
A few minor gameplay quirks, such as the mini-map covering areas you need to cut and the slightly "sticky" scrolling function, are slightly annoying but far from ruin the game. A clickable mini-map would also be a nice feature, allowing you to quickly view different areas without moving through the whole stage.
Great-looking, well-balanced and a lot of fun to just play around with, Ice Breaker is an excellent physics-based puzzle game that you'll thoroughly enjoy.