Platforms: Windows, Mac
It’s really hard to tell you why I’m enjoying ICY as much as I am without burying you in spoilers. The game is almost entirely about the story. Yes, it’s a survival game, and you need to scavenge for food and fuel (pro-tip: do not let yourself run out of fuel) and medicinal herbs, but in ICY, that’s a means to an end, not the end in and of itself. This game requires reading, and careful attention, and it’s one of the rare games that I really really want to play with my headphones on.
There are some light RPG elements; you are given starter points to flesh out your character, and having different skill levels can open up different paths throughout the game. Not having reached the end of the story as of yet, I’m not sure how replayable it will really be, or if I’ll be motivated to try different skill combinations.
The graphics are mostly pretty stills given as backdrop. ICY will make you read. It will make you read a lot. Sometimes, you might be reading so intently that you almost forget that you’re playing a game. I think this was a deliberate choice. If you don’t think to open up your character panel every now and then, you may forget to spend your experience. If you don’t go looking for something in your backpack, you may forget to put on some new equipment you picked up. In fact, if you get lost in the story, you might not even notice what you’ve looted.
Some of the characters you meet in your journeys are absolutely fantastic. Some really could have done with being a little less cardboard, but I suspect that was also deliberate. When you’re doing everything you can to survive in a post-apocalyptic wasteland and trying to lead a group of survivors, you don’t really have a whole lot of time for the niceties of playing getting-to-know-you.
Normally, I give myself about an hour to sink into a game before I give an opinion. I got caught up enough in ICY that I played for twice that and hardly noticed the time pass. It’s not often I regret buying a game on sale instead of paying full price, but this is one of those times.