Icebreaker: Hyakugojyuu!

It’s funny: any particular level of Icebreaker might take a couple of minutes to complete, or it might take more than an hour, and there’s no way to tell which aside from playing it. As I played the last couple of levels, I knew I was close to the end, but had no good notion of how close. Close enough to finish today, it turned out, although I had a moment or two of doubt.

Toward the end, nearly all of the levels are slime-heavy, often filling the entire area around with the stuff. When slime was first introduced, I didn’t really notice how useful it is to the level designer: it provides a way to keep the player confined to set paths, while not restricting the movement of the Seekers at all. (Even the smartest Seekers have trouble navigating walls sometimes.) Level 149 in particular really shows this off: it’s essentially a maze of paths in a lake of slime, with Seekers constantly hurtling at you from all directions.

Level 150 is just a level like any other, with no boss monster or recapitulation of the lessons learned up to that point. Which makes a certain amount of sense, given that the levels aren’t really ordered, that access isn’t gated. And afterwards, the game ends without ceremony. Or at least, it does if you still haven’t got the in-game videos to work. The disc holds an obvious victory scene, set in what can only be described as pyramid heaven, with a choir of winged angelic pyramids surrounding the luminous pyramid godhead. I only looked at this after exiting the game. In the game itself, what happened was that I finished level 150 and was immediately whisked to a randomly-generated level. I’ve looked at a few randomly-generated levels now, and while I can’t say they’re as well-crafted as the designed levels, they’re at least satisfactorily different from each other. As in the designed levels, each picks just a few elements from the full palette.

Because of that transition from victory into more game, just like the transition at the end of every level up to that point, part of me isn’t sure that I’ve just won. I get up, I look around. I’ve spent most of the day on this game. It should be some ridiculous hour before dawn, with me shaking off the gaming-trance like a sleeper awakening. That’s how it worked when I was younger, and this is definitely the sort of game where it would apply. Perhaps these days I never really leave that altered state at all.

1 Comment so far

  1. paul on 1 Jun 2010

    Ominous last chapter of “The Stack” by Vernor Vinge

Leave a reply