Icebreaker is a new title from Natural Motion and Digital Legends Entertainment.  As the title implies, this is a hockey based game for the iPhone.  So I ask, can a hockey-themed minigame for the iOS score a Hat Trick in its debut on my iPhone, or does it simply spend its time in the Penalty Box?

What Went Right?

The first thing that stands out id the polish that went into the presentation.  Before you even get into your first game, you land on a screen where you get to set up your player.  You are able to type in your name and number (which appear on your jersey – nice touch), pick a skin tone, affiliate your self with a team and go!  The actual gameplay is based on a break away goal.  You are tasked with taking the puck from one end of the rink to another.  As the game progresses, it gets harder and harder to do so.  There are eventually multiple defenders, a goalie and in some of the more advanced levels, sections of the rink are labeled as out of bounds areas.  You have 4 main ways to avoid the defenders; a speed boost, deke and spin moves to the right and left, and a hard stop move. for each defender you avoid, you are awarded bonus points.  In addition to avoiding the apparent obstacles, in order to score even more points, you need to skate over highlighted zones.  Your side to side motion is handled by the iPhone’s accelerometer, as you tilt the phone to the left and right to skate in those directions.  In order to do a hard stop, you simply tap anywhere on the screen that isn’t being utiliaed for the on-screen buttons for Dekes and spins.  There are 2 game modes, Challenge and Endurance.  Challenge pits you against the defenders and out of bounds areas in grouped waves, while Endurance simply keeps you going as long as you can, wave after wave.  Both modes are very fun.

What Went Wrong?

The only real problem I had with the game were the controls for Dekes, Spins, Speed Boosts and Shots.  These moves are all handled with on screen buttons and they seemed to lack the appropriate responsiveness I would have liked.  There seemed to be an inordinate amount of lag between my frantic button presses and the on-screen action, which led to some frustrating moments.   One more thing that could really make this game stand out would be the NHL License.  The teams you are able to play on are fictional, but the logos for those teams actually did look pretty good.

Final Thoughts

Aside from the “Button” issues I mentioned above, the game was very enjoyable.  It is very easy to pick up and play, and the button lag can be overcome by anticipating the lag and allowing for it in your reaction time.  The lack of the NHL License isn’t a dealbreaker either, it is just something that would be really neat to satiate the desires of us hockey fans out there.  I feel good about recommending it to any fan of hockey.  You will enjoy this game.

Icebreaker is available now on the iTunes App Store for only $0.99.


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