ICE AGE 4 Continental Drift: Arctic Games Review

Activision’s “Ice Age 4 Continental Drift: Arctic Games” title for Kinect on the Xbox 360 is pretty much aimed for what you would expect to be its target audience – gamers who are around the age of 4 to 9 years old who love the movies and now want to be interactively involved in the video game form.

Upon initially starting the game you are alerted to a very badly created cut-scene where all the movies favourite characters are rendered to look extremely basic and lacking in detail. It’s times like these you remember that the graphical quality of Kinect games need to be lower due to the processing power required for the motion sensor. Unfortunately first impressions are that this game oozes dullness, lacks imagination and would keep a young child entertained for just an hour or two tops – it doesn’t show the capabilities of Kinect to its full advantage and needless to say that unless you wanted a quick ‘show-off’ piece for your kids birthday party to keep the gang entertained for the afternoon without having to do the whole musical chairs fiasco – then – and only then, buy this game!

It does have a very simple and clean presented look overall in the menu’s with ease of use Kinect motion controls and gestures that do actually respond quite fast and fluid in up to ten different mini-games that span out to create a very short campaign, separate tournament mode, or a more causal free play mode. Although the video game does not mirror the story of the movie exactly, the Kinect game takes the movies characters, locations, scenery and pits two different teams The Herd and The Crew Pirates in a battle for food and treasure.

It is mostly “Winner take’s all” scenarios in what appears to be a Kinect form of animal Olympics using your own body as the controller – you have to compete in a set of really short and very simplistic mini games. You get to move your body left and right as your on screen character takes part in a Slip Slide Race collecting Acorns for points, mirror the on-screen prompts to the body shapes in a Style Jump across the slopes, raise your arms to virtually play Shell Slide – a form of bowling on ice where the more acorns you knock out the higher your score combined with hitting the target markers, and Prehistoric Plumber sees you move left and right holding your hands out to repair cracks in the ice where water flows through, let in too much water and the game is cut short.

Furthering the story mode, where you’re yet to see a story as you continually play mini games that last for around 2 – 4 minutes each, the game continues with another range of short motion controlled mini-games. Mountain Drift is a form of fast paced skiing down a range of slopes where you must follow the guide and collect acorns to complete the objective, next up is Coconut Slingshot, one of the more entertaining game types that sees your character use a sling shot to try and hit a selection of targets – and that is shortly followed by a Glacier Hopping challenge where you must jump up and down to see your character hop across the sinking and breaking glaciers.

After each mini game in the Story Mode where there isn’t quite a story, but rather a follow up dull cut-scene in place – the next game loads. Despite working at around 5ft – 6ft distance from the Kinect Sensor there is an annoying on screen pop-up that displays “Please Move Left” or “Please Stand Back” yet the game is perfectly working and within an adequate range of space all around you and in front of you.  It’s a real shame these annoying messages can’t be set as optional displays in the settings menu, but sadly unless you have a super huge room you are stuck with the messages despite the game working well at around 5ft in front of the sensor.

Continuing with the final sections of the story mode, which by now I have got the gist that it’s a battle for each piece of fruit found in an acorn basket at the beginning of the game – the whole damn lot can completed in less than hour with Achievements unlocking left right and centre just for the taking part in each mini game. If you wanted to play each mini game from the Story mode individually, then you would choose your favourite game type in the Free Play mode which does have optional multiplayer for two players locally.

It does have multiplayer! So, if you have an extra person with you in the room and enough space to distance yourself in front of the Kinect Sensor, Tournament Mode allows you to play the whole Story Mode with another player, which does make the game more fun – a little more interesting, and more competitive…

Visually the game looks basic, dated and the gameplay is just downright plain and dreadful. It’s a gimmicky movie tie in video game that even your child would probably get bored of very quickly. The whole game can be completed in about 45 minutes to an hour with added longevity due to freeplay modes that you are likely not to bother with.

This is the part where you should be glad you read this review just so as not to buy this game at all. If your child is screaming for it, send them to the naughty step. It’s just plain boring and a waste of anyone’s money.

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