Every now and then a game comes along that catches you by surprise with just how darn good it is. Shanghai Fantablade Network’s new game ICEY did just that to me as the game looked interesting to me at first glance but turned out to be a true indie game gem when I finished it.
ICEY is a side scrolling, 2D Action game where you play as a female robot named Icey. You awaken Icey from her pod to fulfill her mission which is to hunt down and kill an entity known as Judas. You are also accompanied by the Narrator who gives Icey directions on what to do and where to go but the interesting thing is as the player you can defy his orders and make him mad. For instance early on he will tell you to hit a switch to activate a bridge but instead I jumped into the hole over and over making him mad until he eventually pretty much sat me down for a lecture about my actions. In another area if you are quick enough you can dash into a gate before it closes putting you somewhere earlier in the game than you should have been. The Narrator then starts freaking out about how you got into there already. Going into certain areas will even make the narrator hack in and access the command prompt to force you back onto the correct path. It’s really cool and it’s one of the the highlights about this game for sure that makes it different from most other games.
As you play you’ll explore several different areas all of which feature beautifully drawn art. Robot enemies will greet you along your path and you will have to cut them down before you can progress further. There are a handful of different enemy types including ground robot enemies, little bat like enemies who will shoot lasers at you, centaurs, suicide robots and more. The combat is fun and fast as you have different combo’s you can perform to defeat your enemies and more can be bought at terminals using cash you gain for defeating enemies.
However throughout my time playing I really didn’t buy any other moves as I found that I could just use several of the combo’s I started with for every battle I fought. A dash ability that you’ll obtain early on will even allow you to zip around at high speeds dashing from one enemy to another. Knocking enemies up into the air and then dashing up and performing mid air combos is a total blast and reminds me of what it feels like in a Devil May Cry game except in 2D form. You’ll also come across boss fights pretty regularly as well all of which feature unique designs and fantastic animation. They all do have their own attack patterns to learn but I really didn’t struggle with any of them. I did opt to play on the easier difficulty however so if you want a greater challenge you do have that option. Audio in this game is also well done especially when the fights start as the music really helps to get the adrenaline pumping.
The story in the game is a little all over the place and can be hard to fully understand but there is plenty of intrigue throughout. Talk of gods, hostile emails between members of the development team and much more but the narrator himself like I said is the highlight. The voice acting is performed well and you can really hear it in his voice when you’ve made him mad by disobeying what he wants Icey to do. He also clearly has his reasons for wanting you to kill this Judas but why is a question you’ll have to play to find out yourself. If you like trophies there is a full set here including a Platinum which I obtained even though the narrator probably isn’t happy about it. At one point he criticized me for waiting in a room for a trophy and questioned if that was the only reason why I was playing his game. Of course it wasn’t but it was pretty funny and he even gave me a bronze and silver trophy to help get me back on the right path. Suffice to say that whole exchange was pretty funny. The only other negative I can say about ICEY is that I wanted it to last longer. I finished the game in probably around five hours and honestly just wanted to keep playing because of how good the combat in it is.
If you call yourself a fan of fast action games than ICEY is a must play for you. This game wasn’t on my radar at all but it is one of the best indie games of 2017 that I’ve played. Fast, responsive combat mixed with a beautifully drawn world and a narrator who actually speaks to what the player is doing all combine to form a true gem.
ICEY is available on PS4 and PC. Reviewed on a PS4 Pro. Review code provided by the publisher.