After only one hour of playing Ice Age: Continental Drift – Arctic Games for the Nintendo Wii, I was confident that I had played enough of the game to write this review. Before you accuse me of being the laziest critic in history, I’d like to present an important piece of evidence in my defense: Arctic Games contains only 10 mini-games, and each of them will take you only a couple of minutes to play. The result is a completely forgettable experience with so little content that it’s not even worth a rental, let alone a purchase.
Yes, these 10 mini-games come packaged in three different flavors: Story Mode, Tournament, and Free Play. Sadly, each mode is essentially the same. All three game modes contains the exact same mini-games, with the only change being how you gain access to them.
In Story Mode players will take on each mini-game against a computer-controlled opposing team. These 10 events happen in a set order, and are broken up by brief cinematics, which amount to little more than the winning team gloating about their victory. All 10 games will have you trying to beat a score set by the opposing computer; however, you never know what the target is until after you finish an event.
There’s no way of seeing your opponent perform — nothing. You just hope and pray you beat whatever score the game decides to assign to your opponent. Luckily no challenge is ever all that difficult.
Story Mode amounts to little more than a boring single-player experience, and I’m sad to report that even the two-player modes involve only single-player action. In Tournament Mode and Free Play you race against the clock — and then you hand off the controller to your friend. There’s no split-screen action of any kind; multiplayer just feels so very lonely.
Half the fun of mini-game collections comes from seeing your opponent on screen with you, and doing your very best to make sure they are defeated. With only the clock as your enemy, and without even so much as the ability to choose what character you play, the whole Arctic Games experience feels very rushed.
The mini-games themselves are embarrassingly simple; all seemingly designed to be as boring as possible. Most of the games involve a simple movement of the Wii Remote, combined with only a single button press. The worse offender, Slip Slide, is nothing more than a race downhill, where players move only side-to-side, picking up acorns to improve their time.
Rather than go through each mini-game individually, I will just say that there is some variety here, but not nearly enough to keep one interested. The only game that really stands out as being any fun is Drift. In Drift players will find themselves skiing down a hill, performing command prompts, doing tricks, and earning points. The game is a nice change from the typical offering, though I can’t really find a reason to play it more than once.
The voice cast from the movie reprise their roles, but don’t expect to hear Hollywood quality dialogue. Hearing Denis Leary read instructions on how to control Diego actually made me laugh. He sounds like he’s reading off a cue card, with a producer holding a loaded gun to his head. It is certainly nice to get the movie cast here, but the dialogue and brief cinematics make very poor use of their talents.
To make matters worse, the graphics in both the cinematics and gameplay are just terrible. They are barely adequate to sell the action on screen — this is easily one of the worst looking games I have ever seen on the Nintendo Wii.
I’m having a very difficult time finding positive things to say about Ice Age: Continental Drift — Arctic Games. This game is terrible; one of the worst games I have played for the Nintendo Wii. There is very little here for kids or adults to enjoy, and the $29.99 price tag is absolutely insulting. Even if you’re a huge fan of the Ice Age franchise, stay as far away from this one as possible — there’s nothing here for you to enjoy.
Ice Age: Continental Drift – Arctic Games is rated E (Everyone) by the ESRB.