Carnivores: Ice Age Review—Cooler Ain’t Better
Carnivores: Ice Age is not the direct sequel to the original Carnivores (renamed “Carnivores: Dinosaur Hunter” for its re-release in the Minis program and the iOS environment). There is an actual numbered sequel to Carnivores named, obviously, “Carnivores 2.” Carnivores: Ice Age is the third title of the series. I wanted the numbered sequel more than this, since I love hunting dinosaurs. Chasing down and/or running away from Ice Age animals seems silly.
I admire Minis that include software manuals. Such an inclusion makes the publishers/developers look serious about their finished game. However, Carnivores: Ice Age’s software manual has some weaknesses; there are a few grammatical errors and unclear sentences. Still, we are playing games, not software manuals, right?
Ice Age retains the same universe and storyline as Dinosaur Hunter. However, it is not clear if both titles share the same planet as the setting or not. The game introduction is just copy-pasted from Dinosaur Hunter but extended with this sentence: “DinoHunt Corp scientists found Ice Age animals living in the Arctic regions of planet FMM-UV 32 and they set up a separate hunting program for big game living there.” That doesn’t make sense to me.
The backstory of the game is as irrelevant as the software manual, and the truth is I am just employing delay tactics to put off getting to my actual review of this game. Honestly, Ice Age is just a re-skin of Dinosaur Hunter. And I tell you, that is not a bad thing. Carnivores: Dinosaur Hunter is one of the few Minis I keep on playing every now and then (full year and running).
Yet, there is a big difference between Ice Age and Dinosaur Hunter in terms of control. Some people have problems with Dinosaur Hunter’s control scheme, as it does not allow inverted controls. Ice Age allows players to customize the controls in allowing inversion in both the X- and Y-axes. It’s good to know that Beatshapers/Tatem Games included such an option. I prefer the non-inverted scheme, so nothing’s lost or gained for me.
Before I forget, the control mappings are exactly the same. Moving is controlled using the face buttons. The left shoulder button is for toggling your weapon. The right shoulder button is for firing. The directional buttons are reserved for hunting essentials like using the binoculars, calls and the map.
There is an additional weapon not offered in the original title. There is also a mysterious creature that you may or may not find. I guess it’s an abominable snowman because of the ape-like silhouette in its profile. So far, I’ve clocked several hours in the game and have not been able to meet it yet.
Almost everything from Dinosaur Hunter is ported over to Ice Age. The graphics in Ice Age may look better; the barks of the trees are somewhat more detailed in this Mini than the earlier one. Or they’re just the kinds of trees that grow in cold places. I am not sure. The sound effects are minimal, but it all stays realistic and atmospheric.
Both of the titles also share the same progress system. You hunt. You succeed. More points for more weapons and more maps and accessories. You hunt again. Sounds simple as a game mechanic, but it is not; it’s the exact opposite.
The hunted creatures share the same glitchy pathfinding AI. It’s not a gamebreaker, but it’s kind of annoying when they try to push through a mountain instead of going around it. My favourite part of the game, the trophy room, makes a return. The trophy room serves as a high score table.
I like Carnivores: Dinosaur Hunter more, as I find the dinosaurs much more menacing and fun to hunt. This Mini does not improve much from its predecessor and really feels like it’s the same game. The core gameplay is impressive and entertaining, but these icy creatures, truthfully, lack charm.