There have been many video games based on various different movies over the last few generations of consoles and out of those there were quite a few that were, well, let’s say that they just weren’t very good and seemed more of a cash in opportunity. Don’t get me wrong there have been a few that were decent and the odd one or two that were great, with a notable mention going to the brilliant Goldeneye in the 90’s and the more recent Mad Max game released a few years ago.
Apart from games in the Lego series based on popular movies though there hasn’t really been many movie based video games for kids that have been anything more than a generic platform game with the usual gameplay style. So in steps Ice Age Scrat’s Nutty Adventure, a platforming game featuring the whacky, accident prone squirrel Scrat who appears occasionally in the Ice Age films and who now gets his own game! Go Scrat!
Scrat is thrown in to an adventure that he never really intended to be involved in, accidentally coming across an ancient magical temple. He is greeted by supernatural sprits who set him the task of retrieving four magical Crustal Nuts and sent across the whole Ice Age Universe to collect them all, not that these spirits have any confidence in him but they make do with what they have been presented with. Scrat’s Nutty Adventure feels familiar straight away and immediately has that ‘generic’ feel to it that I had initially feared before booting it up for the first time. I can’t word it any other way than it is a generic 3D platform game that offers very little in any kind of originality. It is the (Ice) age old run, jump collect, spin attack enemies, repeat. It sounds pretty basic right? It is, which would also make you think that it should play pretty sweet, right? Wrong!
Scrat’s Nutty Adventure feels clunky, dated and has a camera system that would make the most patient of people want to throw their controller against a brick wall. That sounds harsh because it doesn’t play THAT badly, it’s actually alright at times, but what frustrates me with this game is that considering how simple the controls are, the clunky movement, terrible hit detection, jerky jumping mechanics and that horrible (shudder) camera movement is inexcusable for such a generic simple ‘up, down, left, right, jump, bash’ game, especially at a price of £34.99$39.99! The main issue that I have with the camera in particular is that it makes it almost impossible to manoeuvre in right spaces as the camera doesn’t allow free sight of movement. It’s awful, just awful and I found the camera being the main culprit for every time I died on a level. It’s a dated camera system that frustrated me on many occasions throughout my play through.
Level design is unadventurous for the first half of the game, but I must give it some credit as the level design later on in the adventure is actually pretty good. The exploration options on offer are also a nice touch adding variety to paths taken and offering a little replay value if you wanted to go back in and take different routes than you may do on your first play. Enemies are as generic as the you may think and apart from the odd appearance from an Ice Age character, the enemies and other characters are just boring.
Boss battles are generic and offer little challenge, even to younger gamers and again, are all boss battles I felt I had done time and time again in other titles. While it can get quite repetitive Scrat’s Nutty Adventure does add a few breakers in between some levels, with offerings like guiding Scrat down after he jumps off a cliff while collecting things or surfing on a piece of ice while trying to retrieve a crystal. It does split the game up slightly but it doesn’t do enough to stop this feeling repetitive.
Visually I was expecting Scrat’s Nutty Adventure to look appealing, oozing the visual style of the movie series its based on, but much like the gameplay, I was left disappointed. I was incredibly underwhelmed with the overall look of this game and reminded me more of an Xbox 360 game that had been given a lazy remaster. Don’t get me wrong it doesn’t look terrible but it’s certainly not great either, with textures looking average and the colour palette looking washed out, I was left thinking how this game could have looked had it been given the attention it probably deserves, I mean after all, it’s based on a highly successful animated movie franchise. Animations are jerky and unnatural and apart from the odd screech from Scrat, the audio is pretty underwhelming.
I find it very difficult to recommend Ice Age Scrat’s Nutty Adventure, especially for the price it’s being sold at, as there are many other games in this genre out there that are not only cheaper in price but are of a higher quality and offer an experience ten times better than this. If you or your children are ultimate Ice Age fans, then this may be for you, but even then I would advise that you maybe wait a little while for it to come down in price considerably. I wanted to really like this game, I really did and I feel that if nothing else it deserved a more polished and refined effort to do the character and the franchise justice but I was left underwhelmed and disappointed sadly. Ice Age Scrat’s Nutty Adventure isn’t terrible, it just hasn’t been done justice by the developer.
A copy of the game was provided for this review by the developer/publisher