With the temps constantly plunged below minus 10 degrees Celsius around here, including a windchill of “f— it’s cold,” it’s obvious a game title like Insane Cold: Back to the Ice Age would pique my interest when it popped up in my Steam’s “suggested games”. The game’s trailer sealed the deal when it showed an image of what looked like the corner of Main and Market in my town just this week. Lawd ha’ mercy with this cold! Even my furnace couldn’t handle it this week and we wound up having to lay down the big bucks for a new one.
Although our house sustained a frigid 13 degrees on Wednesday, my experience with cold was nowhere near as bad as what Helen faced. You see, Helen’s beau, Jacob, was planning a romantic anniversary evening with his beloved Helen which included dinner and the gift of an amulet he found at a local antique shop. Little did he know this amulet was cursed. Thanks to his purchase, Frost Giants have now awakened and descended upon the town, depositing ice everywhere and taking souls in their wake – including Helen’s – leaving behind ice-encrusted figures. Way to go, Jacob! Now he must frantically find and save her and everyone affected in town by using the amulet against the frost’s creator, the Frost King.
Insane Cold: Back to the Ice Age is a hidden object game by creators Mysterytag. As cheesy a story as this game is, a lot of care was taken to develop the story and see it to the very end. Along the way, the gamer encounters plenty of hidden object scenes, puzzles, items to collect and people to save. The hidden object scenes are the usual junk piles in random areas, and do repeat themselves at least twice, but at least each time the clues change, and the scenes are clear enough that you don’t have to use the Windows Magnifier.
Insane Cold happens to be a pretty long game, as I clocked in at almost 8 hours of gameplay. Once you get far into it, you realize how expansive this game is, taking you to at least 15 different places around town. Each locale is its own frozen tundra, beautifully set with its own clues to find and puzzles to solve. And each area is interconnected with the last, so backtracking should be expected as you resolve old puzzles or engage in new hidden object scenes. Once an area is seemingly complete, you are not closed off from it when you actually are done. Expect an interesting moment or two when you are unsure where you are supposed to go next and eventually find yourself back near the beginning. That’s ok, there is always the Hint button…
Speaking of which…
Alright, the truth is you are taxed with confusion many a time in this game, although I believe the challenge has more to do with game programming than the actual puzzles at play. Insane Cold failed on multiple occasions to identify my clicking on the right image. In other words, if a hidden object scene asked me to find the butterfly in the scene, I’d click on the butterfly, but the game would not register it – not until I weirdly asked for a hint, at which point, the game would identify the EXACT item I had been clicking on. In another scene, I was pairing one object to another, and the game wouldn’t register them together until I hit the Hint button. As a result I found myself pounding the Hint button on several occasions. I guess it didn’t help that some things got lost in translation when developers converted things from Russian to English; like pocket change being called “notes,” a teapot was a “kettle,” or a caster called a “chair wheel.” So what I thought I was searching for wasn’t really what the creators meant. It made for an interesting gameplay.
All in all, aside from some technical glitches, Insane Cold: Back to the Ice Age wasn’t a terrible game. For the price, it was a decent looking game, immersive, with plenty to do while the weather remains frightful out there.
Insane Cold: Back to the Ice Age