Ice Climber Game Review
Ice Climber is a 1985 platform video game developed by Nintendo for the Nintendo Entertainment System. It is a flawed, yet mostly satisfying and admirable early platformer.
The gameplay consists of 32 levels that are basically mountains that you have to climb all the way up to recover stolen vegetables and get picked up by a giant condor. And of course there are various obstacles and enemies on the way up. I really liked the concept of this video game mostly for the fact that it is so original and very detailed and complex.
Let’s talk about those enemies first. The short yeti is called Topi and he is such a fascinating creature that I absolutely loved here. Not only can he kill you, but he also has his own business and doesn’t notice you at all. That I loved and his ice repairing was without a doubt the most fascinating aspect of Ice Climber because it leads to many interesting moments during the game. He sometimes is on your way and you just want to stop him from repairing. However, sometimes that repairing can be very helpful and even necessary and those are the moments where you have to wait for the little guy to do his thing and then hit him in the head. That was so funny and authentic.
Nitpicker is this very annoying pink bird who is much more of an enemy than Topi is. Not only can he cross and go wherever he wants, but genuinely goes for the target and sometimes even at exactly the crucial moments making him somewhat difficult. And of course you have the Polar Bear whose task is to move the screen to the next height when time is up.
All of those creations are so well designed thanks to some strong character design at display here. I really liked the Eskimo protagonist as well as the aforementioned characters above as they all look great. Really, the graphics is absolutely fantastic, extraordinary even in the context of time. This looks magnificent for 1985 as it is quite polished with good designs and fine colors.
I also really liked the technical aspects in Ice Climber mainly the sound effects which are terrific and the score at the end of the levels which is so good and done in that great 80s arcade style. The level design is mostly great as some levels are so tough to get through and are perfectly constructed. I also adored the attention to detail that went into this game not only in its characters, but also in its surroundings as well as its technicalities.
But Ice Climber is far from a perfect platformer as it is plagued by some big problems. One of those problems is obvious and that is its uneven structure. Of course, you can’t expect that all of the levels get progressively harder with just the right amount of more difficult level design and tougher enemies. But again, this was ridiculous here as the levels are so clearly unconnected as you basically get one level that is super hard and then the next one is as easy as they come. That was so frustrating.
Another problem is the overall difficulty level which is not high. Yes, some levels were annoying and quite difficult, but not one of them was excruciating and too many of those levels were either too simplistic or way too easy to beat. And I have to say that the level designs were sometimes uninspired and that the overall mountains should have been higher. And yes, the longevity has to be taken into account and this game only has 32 levels and all are very short leading to a frustratingly short game and a very quick gaming experience. But despite those obvious flaws, I still liked Ice Climber, quite a bit actually because it was so fun and entertaining to play and it was charming in its humor, animation and detailed originality.
Ice Climber is a bit too easy to finish and of course uneven and short, but whereas it lacks in terms of difficulty, it more than compensates that with some great level designs, extraordinary graphics, superb humor and details, evident originality in its concept and obvious entertainment and replay values to it.
My Rating – 4.2