Ease of Download and Functionality of the Software
Ice Age Village was free to download from the App store. I put the game on my iPad 2. It actually did not take long to download but did take quite some time for the game to load initially. After that first time the game loads quickly every time. I have had quite a few things that do not work all the time on the game. It has crashed a couple of times and also in the friend section it will often give me a message that says I am not online when clearly I am. It also will not load friend’s villages sometimes. I did check in the help section and the issues that they are dealing with at any given time are listed. Even though I have had a few things not work, I have never had a serious game error that made me lose progress in the game or required me to download the game and start over.
Who would this game appeal to
My husband and I are well over 50 and we both love the game. It might not be that exciting for some folks but we have been having a lot of fun with it. The game is rated for ages 4 and up, but I think I would add that some reading skills are required to understand the game and also to connect with friends. Part of the game involves connecting with friends on Facebook, or random friends. For a young child without a facebook account it might be more difficult. I do not think that there is much danger for kids as there are no messages exchanges with others, just a visit to view their town. Perhaps someone could write a message on their town using items like blocks to form letters but to me the risk of anything dangerous is very low. I think games like this can be a great incentive for young children to want to learn to read. With the fun graphics they will want to know what it says on the screen so that they can progress in the game.
What Devices Can you play with?
I can play Ice Age Village on my iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch. It can also be played on Android Devices. One thing that would make it tons better is if I could sign on and play the same game on another device. As it is if I sign on to play on my iPhone I have to start a whole new game. I thought maybe if I signed in to facebook it would recognize me but no dice!
The Tutorial and Help Screens
When you first load the game it will walk you through a tutorial while you play the game. I like that it forces you to do some things and teaches you how to play through game play rather than reading instructions. If you need a refresher go to “stuff” and then click “settings” and then “help” Inside the help menu you can get The basics about game play, Information to play with friends, and other resources.
Basic Premise of the Game
The game is modeled after the Ice Age Movie with characters and familiar sounds from the movie. The Graphics are top notch and it is fun to take in. The basic idea of the game is to build a village with various animals that you can buy as well as other decorations. There is a certain skill to help you build up points faster that you will come to understand as you play the game. Each item that you place either gives points at certain intervals or adds a percentage of points to an item near it. When you put an item down that gives points you can click on it and it will show you how many points you will get and a time next to it to let you know when to expect the points. As you add items that increase the percentage of points around the point playing item you will see the percentage grow. Play around with the placement and see what sort of impact it makes on growing your points. The faster you can accumulate points the more stuff you can buy for your village.
Coins, Acorns, Experience, and Hearts and Leveling up
Coins: There are two types of coins. Gold coins that you get at certain intervals or for completing challenges. You can in turn use these coins to buy items for your village. You can also use coins to expand your village. The further you go, the more things pay, and the more expensive things get! Silver coins come from little snow piles and also from some items in your village. You use the silver coins only to play the in app game called Kung fu Scrat.
Acorns are a bit more rare to come by. It starts you out with a few and you can get one here or there, but they are hard to come by, unless you want to pay for them. I would suggest to hold on to your acorns and spend them wisely.
Experience: You gain experience from feeding the animals and completing tasks. When you collect coins from an animal, it will then pop up an apple. Click the apple and you will get experience stars.
Hearts: Hearts are gained from friend’s villages. You can only collect them once a day and you can spend them in the store on special items that you can only buy with hearts.
Leveling up: As you collect stars you will see your level increase. The first couple levels go very quickly and as expected, the further you go, the slower the levels increase. As you reach certain levels you will gain different game play opportunities. I am on level 16 and I have see a few improvements. It seems that every five levels it will let you add more friends, so the higher your level the more friends you can have. It follows that with more friends you can earn more hearts each day.
Goals: On the bottom left of the screen is an icon that says goals. If you click this it will open a bar up that will list your goals. If you click on a goal it will explain it on the screen. If you have already done what is needed for that goal it will just give you the points for it. If you see animal icons at the bottom of the goals toolbar, click on them as they have more goals for you. Sometimes you will see an icon appear over an animal on the screen. If you do not click it right away it seems to disappear but they are really just waiting in your goals menu.
Stuff: On the bottom right of the screen is the “stuff” menu. If you click it, it opens a tool bar up to the right side of your screen. In the stuff menu. In the menu are the shop, nursery, collections,friends and options.
The Shop: The shop is in the stuff menu and has a gold coin to lead the way. It opens full screen and has items grouped, in categories of new, animal, fun stuff, decorations, friend, and special. Items will change in the shop over time and as you level up.
The Nursery: You can see what eggs are getting ready to hatch in the nursery. When you buy an animal it puts the animals icon down and then you buy it a mate. After that you can hatch two eggs until that animal family is complete. Each animal takes different amounts of time to hatch an egg. When you start you can only hatch one egg at a time. I am on level 16 and can still only hatch one egg at a time. I am not sure what has to happen to unlock the other two nests shown but I am guessing you can eventually hatch three eggs at one time. Each family is complete when it has two young.
Hatching an Egg: I learned that if you swipe the egg while it’s hatching you get extra coins. The faster you swipe the more coins you get.
Collections: If you place an item in your village and want to put it away you can store it in your collections. This comes in handy if you decide to totally revamp your village or run out of room.
Friends: If you press friends in the “stuff” menu, you will go to a new screen which will show all your friends, plus one other town that comes with the game and also an icon to invite friends from Facebook, and another to see random towns. At each town you can click the heart at the top to like their town. This gives you a heart and I believe it gives the other person a heart too. You can also send a gift. I am not aware of what the gifts are but it improves your friend rating which helps you score more points. You can also do a few other fun things in each town. You can only collect things from your friend’s towns once a week but you can visit as often as you like. You can connect with friends through Facebook or by opening and logging in to your Live Account. I do not have a Live Account so I can not really comment on how well this works.
As I stated earlier in the review, I find that the friend section has the most glitches. Often I will click on something and end up nowhere. I have even had to restart the game a couple times. I get the idea that they are working on this since it is listed as a known issue. Perhaps it will be fixed in an upcoming update.
Kung fu Scrat Game: One piece that you can buy for your village is actually a game called Kung fu Scrat. Every day you will get a coin to play for free and get prizes like acorns, coins or animals. You can also play anytime you like using acorns. If you just want to practice, that is free, but there are no prizes for practice games. The game is like fruit ninja and actually rather fun.
Movie Theater: The movie theater piece shows you movies. I have seen three and they gave me 5 acorns for watching. I am not sure if the game will add more movies further into the game. Some of them are really helpful. One gives game play tips. If you just want to get the acorns you do not have to watch the movie to the end.
Snow Piles. Random snow piles will show up from time to time. Tap them to release gold or sometimes a silver coin. When your village gets more full it can be hard to see them, so you really have to look.
Scrat Pop up: If you are playing occassionally you will see Scrat come up from the side of the screen. He will then run across the bottom of the screen. If you can catch him while he is running across the bottom, you will get some coins. You get more coins for this task as you level up. I think he comes more often when I am idle.
In App Purchases: You can play this game and have plenty of fun without making any in app purchases. There will be some things you will never get, but if you can live with that, you should not get pulled into making a purchase. I enjoy the game and will probably buy a few acorns to get some things I want. It sounds silly in a way but if I bought a game it would cost money so I don’t mind. I think that developers know that if they give you the game for free you will get sucked into buying something like I usually do. If you are letting your kids play make sure they do not have your apple password or you could be in big trouble.
Final Thoughts and Rating
I would give Ice Age Village 5 stars if it was not so glitchy. I have never had a serious error where I lost anything but it still does something odd almost every time I play it. It is a great game though so I will give it 4 stars.