Penguins are pretty cool, perhaps even Ice Cool? Terrible, moving on from that we’ve had the chance to play a fun dexterity game from publisher Brain Games.
Genre: Dexterity / Fun / Family
Playing Time: 20-30 Minutes
Price: £30 on Amazon
Ice Cool see’s you and your opponents take the role as penguins in a school. One of you will be playing as the hall monitor who has to catch the other penguin pupils and take their hall pass card. The other remaining players objective is to run around this icy school and collect fish. In doing these objectives you collect cards which have points on. As the hall monitor you have an advantage as you can hit the other penguins as many times as you can to earn more cards until you’ve collected all the players hall pass cards, whereas the players controlling the pupil penguins running around the school after fish only get point cards for each fish they acquire. Each player gets a turn as the hall monitor though so it does kind of even out, unless you’re terrible at the game and don’t bust that many pupils in the halls on your go as the hall monitor.
The first thing to note is how ingenious the play area of this game is. The school is built up from the actual box the game comes in. As you can see from the shot of the box above, this game is a “Box in a box”. It all aligns up nice and tidy and is clipped into place by fish that are not vital to the game or the players.
The box in the box system works great and all slots back together perfectly when you pack the game away. What’s also really nice about this setup is the detail on the illustrations of each box or room of the school. It adds to the detail of a frosty school specifically for penguins and each room is recognisable as a different part you’d find in a school like the classroom, cafeteria and sports hall.
Each player has a player card or hall pass card which is double sided for male or female characters. The point cards that are collected come in increasing values from 1 to 3.
Ice Cool despite the complicated look of the box is actually incredible easy to play and features a brilliantly fun method and style of play. To move your penguin around the halls of the school you simply have to flick them. That’s it. Flick your penguin through the halls to collect fish, or in the case of the hall monitor flick towards the other players and flick your penguin into them to collect their hall pass card and point card. As mentioned above as the hall monitor the fun doesn’t stop for you until you’ve collected all the players hall card passes, you can continue to hit the same player for point cards as many times as you can until one of the other players has collected all 3 of their fish, or unless you go for the kill and get all 3 players hall pass cards as soon as possible. If a player as two ‘1’ point cards, they can use them to have an extra go, they also keep these points so it’s definitely worth using them if you’re in need of wanting to move out of sight of the hall monitor, or in the case of the hall monitor want to pick off that final pupil in the next room. Once each player has had a go as the hall monitor that’s the game over and you tally up your points cards. Whomever has the most points wins. Easy as that.
Ice Cool is such a funny game to play. On many of our plays of this game, one or two players find themselves stuck In the first room from their very first flick as they can’t aim through the halls properly. It results in some hilarity. It’s also really good fun being the smug player that miraculously pulls off a super flick and see’s your penguin manoeuvre through 2 rooms with a curling flick of the gods. The daring players try to flick up and over walls which again has created some hilarious moments due to dramatic backfiring flicks and often with injuries to fingers. The simplicity of this game is the highlight of it. You put together the level with ease thanks to the markers, you simply flick through 4 rounds if there are 4 of you playing and that’s the game. The time goes by really quick playing it and I’d be lying if I didn’t say that there are some genuine tactics you can play in this game too, depending how devious you want to be in getting another player in harms way or not. It all adds to the fun of the game.
As fun as this game is and it is really fun, It’s a shame that you can’t change the layout of the school. It’ll only setup for one default school which can halt the replay ability of this game, especially in one evening. After 8 rounds you’ve sort of adjusted the to the weight of the penguins, and might even consider yourself a bit of a pro at flicking. Or of course you can still find yourself stuck In the starting room.
So with that one small critique of Ice Cool aside the game is a really enjoyable, funny and simple to pick up game. The box in a box level is a great touch, but it’d be nice to have some more layouts for the school available. Perhaps new layouts are on the agenda of Brain Games for the future? In the mean time however it’s back to practicing that flick and learning the wall jump technique, or in all seriousness get out of that first starting room in one flick.