We’ve just settled in with two strong Nokia exclusive Windows Phone releases this week, but avid gamers and non-Nokia owners are already hungry for more. Hey! Why don’t you go order a pizza from your Xbox 360 if you’re so hungry?
Well, assuming we’ve all had a nice lunch/dinner/second breakfast, it’s time for a new Xbox game from our good friends at Gameloft. This week’s release is Ice Age Village, one of the more casual-friendly titles that Gameloft announced for Windows Phone 8 last year. Whether or not the theme appeals to you, Ice Age Village happens to be free-to-play, so we all might as well put down our vegetable peelers and give it a try.
Build your own zoo
This game is loosely based on last year’s animated Ice Age: Continental Drift film, which I didn’t see. The first Ice Age was more than banal enough for me, thank you. But the idea is that the super (awesome) continent Pangaea has started breaking apart, leaving countless prehistoric creatures without a home. Thus Manny the sitcom mammoth, Sid the slurring sloth, and their friends take it upon themselves to build a new village for those homeless critters.
The gameplay in Ice Age Village is similar to Bug Village, except much prettier and about a million times better. Players will build houses in their own personal villages and try to attract new residents. If you get two of the same creature, they can even have a baby and become a modern Stone Age family. Play long enough and you’ll even get impressive creatures like the legendary Tyrannosaurus Rex.
On top of the general town building and customization, players will need to take on daily challenges and side missions in order to earn more precious currency. You’ll even play minigames as Skrat, the chipmunk weasel thing that everyone likes to see get hurt.
One big plus over Bug Village is that Ice Age Village actually has the social features found in other versions of the game. That means players can visit their Facebook or Gameloft Live friends’ villages, providing an actual reason to decorate and care about the village’s looks. The ability unlocks once you reach experience level 6.
Update: The social features are pretty much broken at launch. Darn.
To spend or not to spend
Ice Age Village is a freemium game, so it costs nothing to download. But like other town-building games, players can also buy currency with real money. There are too types on offer: coins and acorns. Coins are the common currency, while acorns are much rarer. The game offers a good amount of stuff for purchase with coins though, so it appears less evil and money hungry than Real Soccer 2013. Acorns are at least available in a $2 pack, though the cheapest coin pack is seven bucks. Let's hope the Achievements don't require any spending.
Time to build!
Ice Age Village is free for Windows Phone 8. The file size is 73 MB; quite merciful for a Gameloft title. Get it here from the Windows Phone Store.