Review – ICEY

Have you ever thought about playing a game that’s a mixture between Nier: Automata and The Stanley Parable with a 2D perspective? No? Don’t worry, I’ve never thought about it either, but here’s a game for you regardless! Say hello to ICEY, a Chinese indie previously released for PS4 and PC; a living video game embodiment of the expression “there’s more to it than meets the eye”. This is one incredibly clever title that also happens to be a fun brawler.


I understood the reference!

The moment you start the game for the first time, you’ll think to yourself that there is absolutely nothing innovative in ICEY. The setting, despite boasting beautiful hand-drawn visuals, looks a lot like what you’ve seen in Nier: Automata, including the character design and the whole “desolate and abandoned world inhabited by machines” schtick . You’ll fight a few enemies and a boss in this initial section, just enough for you to get used to the controls and the slight input delay present in the combat. Despite this issue (which can usually be devastating in most games), the combat mechanics are still awesome, full of combos and possibilities for you to rack up a nice big score.


Uh huh…

The game will only really begin once you defeat the tutorial boss. It will basically revert back to the beginning of the level, with the difference being that this time around, a narrator accompanies you throughout the rest of the game, acting just like the narrator in The Stanley Parable. He basically tells the story in a way that encourages you to follow his orders, but you can pretty much disobey you as much as you want resulting in an increasingly irritated narrator who’ll proceed to break the fourth wall and… well, I don’t want to spoil what happens next. Let’s just say that the game has tons of different endings, all of them being pretty inventive and thought-provoking.

The game masterfully blends great (but flawed) gameplay and excellent storytelling. The visuals are pretty good and the electronic-inspired soundtrack is great. If I had to nitpick about something, I’d say the game features some sudden difficulty spikes, which can either be exciting for those looking for a challenge or a bummer for people playing ICEY for the story. To each their own.


Kinda Nier-ish, don’t you think?

I wasn’t expecting to like ICEY as much as I did. Great visuals, a fun combat system, a great soundtrack and a surprisingly clever storyline are more than enough for me to recommend this game to any Switch owner, even though there are a few gameplay issues here and there. You could do a lot worse with this price tag.


Graphics: 8.5

Excellent hand-drawn visuals and a great framerate. The enemy design is fairly good, as well as Icey’s.

Gameplay: 8.0

The combat system is flashy and full of combos, but there is a noticeable lag input. You can get used to it, though.

Sound: 9.0

A great electronic-inspired soundtrack with some memorable tunes, but the narrator’s voice acting steals the show, especially if you start disobeying his orders.

Fun Factor: 9.0

A great hodgepodge of sidescrolling platforming and fourth wall-breaking storytelling, ICEY provides great commentary on player freedom and video game design. The combat is also pretty fun!

Final Verdict: 8.5

Reviewed on Switch.
Also available on: PS4, PC