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A Frozen Heart to Melt {IGMC Review}

  • Liberty
  • 03/07/2018 02:11 AM
  • 219 views
Icebound was one of the entries for the IGMC (Indie Game Making Contest) for 2017. As one of the judges of the competition it is my pleasure to share my thoughts on the game. This review will basically just be the notes I took cleaned up. It will be based on the competition version of the game, so certain aspects of the game may have been changed, and thus I won't be giving an official star score (unless otherwise asked to, though I will be including an unofficial score).


Presentation
The graphics used in Icebound were a mix of different types however they all worked well together to create a cohesive whole. The overwhelming blue could sometimes wash out details and made it a little hard to find the orbs needed to move forward in the game, but it helped give the feeling of ice-cold weather. The mapping was very well done and the designs of various areas were also well done with many little nooks and crannies to explore.

The sound usage was quite good with sound effects being used to create atmosphere. Nothing really stood out as odd or jarring. The music was also very well done. There were a lot of great tunes and they all fit their scenes and areas. A lot of the tunes also added to the overall atmosphere of the game.

Writing was quite good. There were no spelling and grammar issues to note and the writing was well done for the different characters. They didn't really stand out too much as characters, but what was there was well written and both coherent and instructive when it needed to be.

The story itself had a very good premise and the presentation of it was pretty good. The jumping back and forth was a little jarring at spots (mainly the jumps from scene to scene) but overall it was enjoyable and set the tone well.


Gameplay
Gameplay consisted of battles and exploring the various areas in search of items necessary to move forward.

Enemies were on-map sprites and some were avoidable. These enemies really weren't needed in a game like this - they existed just to block the way and let you get used to the battle system a bit, but otherwise they weren't a threat at all and could have been removed with little issue.

You needed to collect items on the map in order to turn them into key-like objects through a shop menu, in order to open the paths to the boss. This probably could have been evented a bit better as the shop scene was a bit awkward.

There were no puzzles or NPCs to deal with, nothing besides the environment, cutscenes and finding items to use in battle.

The boss battle was very well done and enjoyable to play. This is as should be since it was the main aspect of the game.

The main component of battles was changing your equipment each turn in order to change your fighting ability. There were a few choices of equipment and slots to use, so you could opt for a more conservative and protective style while waiting for certain skills to end their cool-down, then change to a more attack-based style when your super skills were ready to use. The equipment also gave passive and non-passive abilities to help you in battle.


Engagement
I quite enjoyed the game. The story was well told, and once I understood what was going on, it felt good to get through it. Going back and forth in time was a nice touch. I would have liked it a lot if your equipables grew as you went, as I beat the boss on the second go and it made it sound like I'd lost, which was annoying (this could have been fixed by having you find certain skills through your journey to the boss room - you had to find the items anyway, you could have tucked the equipables in those chests with them or near them for finding and slowly building up your power, even if it technically didn't make sense).

That said, the battle system, once you understood it, was pretty fun. It would have been nice to have a little more of an explanation as to how to use it properly from the onset since I only realised that I could change equipment through scrolling down just before I lost the first battle to her.

I think something that annoyed me a little lot were the jarring jumps in the storyline from area to area. For example, jumping to a scene in the library. I understand why it happened but I can't say I liked how jarring it was to go from one area to the next in the space of seconds. It felt, at the time, like we were being led to play the next part than that it was all going to take place in cutscenes.


Theme
The game revolved around the theme of freedom and duty. The story-based part of the game reflected this nicely when it came to dialogue (of which that's all there was), and some of the mechanics of the game also reflected this aspect (the in-battle equipping that allowed you to change your abilities and passives as you went).


Bugs

There was a crash right at the very end after the credits for some reason.




4 Ice-Ice (baby)