All right everyone, I’m going to just put this out there at the beginning. Icey is a good game. A really, really good game—and I didn’t expect it to be. I sat down to play this game planning to string together as many temperature related puns as I could to gloss over a forgettable indie experience and call it a day. Joke was on me, because what ended up happening was very cool.
So, Icey is a gorgeous 2D stylish action game in the same vein as Devil May Cry or Bayonetta made by Chinese developer Shanghai Fantablade Network Technology Co. The player is thrown right into the action, playing a blue robot girl hacking away at some unfriendly mechanical mobs with responsive controls and intuitive, upgradeable combos. There are even more to unlock, and the fluidity of everything makes what could be a relentless grind feel natural and fun.
Before long players run into the narration, which comprises the vast majority of Icey’s plot. The loud voice of Icey’s developer describes the titular droid diva’s motivations and what she must do to accomplish her goals in boisterous Chinese. The actual plot is pretty simple. You, the player, are instructed to have Icey, the robo gal, kill Judas and his flunkies. Whether or not you choose to obey is up to you. From here, the game takes on a very meta bent a la The Stanley Parable. The narrator/developer admonishes you for deviating from the path and attempts to dissuade you from sequence breaking or hunting for alternate endings, wishing you would just play the game the way he wants you to play it.
The fake-out endings and meta text go pretty deep. It got to the point where I was unsure of a lot of things, even whether Shanghai Fantablade, the name of the development studio, was an entity within the actual narrative of the game itself or just another cryptic meta clue. Sadly, Icey poses more questions than it answers, though some will find this more charming than problematic, especially in relation to one of the more concerning endings. The meta aspect will definitely turn some players off. Luckily, the gameplay more than makes up for it.
As much as I enjoyed it, Icey isn’t perfect. The gameplay is strong, but there isn’t really a great deal of enemy variety. While enjoyable, the game isn’t overly difficult or long, but that’s really it. Essentially, my biggest complaint here is that I want more of it, and that’s not a bad thing at all. All in all, Icey is an exciting, fun title that left me anything but tepid.