Many eons ago, long-lived a futuristic cyberbot known as Proto Man. Proto Man was crafted from the ground-up through the utilization of determination while being that self-arrogant and prideful Mega Man character. While maintaining his cool apparatus with his awesome gear and accessories, he would eliminate all enemies standing in his way. The Battle Network series in Mega Man was known for its computer cyberspace world that transitioned well between computer terminals and other real-world locations. Is ICEY another attempt at recovering Mega Man from Capcom’s losses entirely, or rather, is it a different game altogether?
ICEY centers around a beautiful protagonist looking creation that becomes very similar to Proto Man but with many better moves. Also, the genre is action, adventure with occasional platform elements to reinforce the main drive of its hack-and-slash roots. We are thrown into ICEY within the main story as we first learn about a character named Judas. Whether this is the same Judas alluded to in biblical history, we will never know. However, we do know that Judas is the main antagonist that has sent robots and other strange creatures to do his own bidding against us. There is some talk about him attempting to become a god which is quite ambiguous, to say the least.
ICEY is told from the point-of-view of a separate narrator in traditional to simplified Chinese language. Likewise, of some languages, some can say more in fewer words while others say less in more words. It tends to be the latter when in comparison towards the audio dialogue by following along with English subtitles. One aspect that catches you off guard will be the procedure by which game difficulty is chosen. Instead of the standard layout in which difficulty can be changed and lowered through the main menu, it is rather determined through a short questionnaire throughout guided responses. These questions determine difficulty, enemy count, and story depth. Graphics, on the other hand, show some age and wear over time.
The art style is unique to the Chinese and Japanese culture. It takes place in a cyberpunk universe with dull scenery and a gloomy tint of color. I was expecting a brighter array of colors since the character is pretty translucent. It does make up some for it within its gameplay. The map layout could seldom be compared to Mighty No. 9 but without the addition of dazzling colors. I think it best alludes towards the earlier Mega Man graphics but more so the Shadowrun series. It mirrors Shadowrun perfectly almost even within its same shade. The bridges are a light sky blue color which prominently overtakes by a large margin the other environments.
Since ICEY is hack-and-slash at heart, keyboard controls are exceptional, right? Wrong, the keyboard layout of controls is very uncomfortable. The original keybindings are not tied to the use of the mouse. ICEY is best played through either a Xbox or PlayStation controller. One defect I found earlier on with the controls was a delay in time response frequency. Every time I would go to press A or B to interact with things tied to progression, sometimes, I would have to hit each button string of commands twice; the lack of response latency becomes more frustrating later on. Enemies are all patterned based; controls are combo based. It is a mash-up between the intersection of the intuitiveness of beat-em-up with low-budget Metal Gear like actions to stun and disassemble enemies.
The story is meager and perplexing. It is sometimes classified as a dream within another dream. Remember the NetNavi’s in Mega Man Battle Network? Yes, a similar mechanic is brought back front and center but completely remains out-of-place. The story’s pacing is ruined by messages that randomly pop-up in this NetNavi form, failure of system error’s in the computer terminal, and even the layout maps of places that block many messages from being read. This is the worse example of system implementation from navigating both in a logical order and outstanding balance between the two. Upgrades can be purchased which increase abilities, combo attacks, and new ways to slice-and-dice enemies. However, the lack of other allies to team up with together, options that are not available nor can be accessed in-game without exiting to the main menu, and changing between controller, keyboard controls with a mediocre non-chronological storyline with poor use of locking into enemies once dashing makes for a mediocre experience. All in all, simply put, ICEY adds a new flair of style but barely makes it over the mark to actually do what it tries to attempt, well.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary PC code was provided to Brash Games for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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