The Most Fun You’ll Have With a Murderous Ice Cream Man.
Take away the promise of delicious dairy, and ice cream men are inherently ominous. We dedicate a great deal of words and time to telling children not to accept sweets from strangers in vans, and yet, once we hear creeped out, public domain songs playing through tinny speakers, we turn a blind eye to popular wisdom. Etorki Games latest offering “Ice Scream: Horror Neighborhood” taps into that menace to make a slightly spooky, but mostly just fun and witty game.
I Scream, You Scream, We all Scream
Our story begins on a pleasant, sunny day. The ice cream man—Rod to friends—pulls up only to turn a plump customer into a popsicle. We witness the whole thing, and climb out the window to embark on a rescue mission. Why the window and not the front door? We may never know, but what matters is Rod is on the hunt for chubby children to victimize We stow away in his ice cream truck, collecting clues and weapons along the way.
The gameplay comes in four options: Ghost mode, where Rod cannot see or hear the player, Normal, Hard and Extreme—which are exactly what a savvy reader would suspect. It’s a pretty straight forward puzzle game. The player moves via a joystick control on the left hand side of the screen. We tap to rifle through drawers, looking for clues or tools. We hide in strategically located dog houses and pipes. Much of the game is exploring the world and avoiding Rod. Items are collected and used by tapping.
The (Double) Scoop
“Ice Scream: Horror Neighborhood” is smart enough not to take itself terribly seriously. Rod is sinister, without being truly scary. He is, however, very fun. He sings little songs about his desire to capture and kill chubby children, he happily jabbers to himself. The world itself is bright and engaging, with beautifully rendered graphics. There is room for variation and exploration. The puzzles (ranging from “where is the rope to get me out of this window?” to “what am I even looking for in this office building?”) are mostly relatively simple, but never boring.
It is disingenuous to call “Ice Scream: Horror Neighborhood” horror. It’s not scary, and anyone seeking a game with a lot of jumps is going to be disappointed. In fact, the player spends much of the game actively avoiding the most potentially frightening element of the game—Rod himself.
Is it Hardcore?
It kind of is.
Players hoping for an intense horror experience will be severely disappointed. But “Ice Scream: Horror Neighborhood” provides fun puzzles in a macabre and charming world. And that’s nothing to scoff at.