Sawbuck Gamer

Ice Beak

To Hell And Beak

Clean up the inferno one snowball at a time in Ice Beak.

By Matt Kodner • January 11, 2013

Sawbuck Gamer is our daily review of a free or cheap ($10 or less) game.

Escaping the underworld has never been a simple proposition, but the titular boneheads of Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey managed to find their way out. Bill and Ted find themselves dead and trapped in hell. They come up with a brilliantly idiotic scheme to challenge Death Incarnate not to a game of chess, but to something more in line with their intellectual capabilities: Twister. Their ticket out of hell was to do what worked best for them, and the blue duck of Ice Beak does the same.

While navigating a surprisingly expansive hellish landscape, this lonely bird manages to transform it into a winter wonderland of sorts, by shooting balls of ice and snow from its beak. This proves even more effective than Twister, as the ice can jam up fireball-spewing cannons or bring down one of the myriad floating baddies—who bear a certain demonic resemblance to Dilbert’s Pointy-Haired Boss.

The hitch in each level is that you have a limited supply of ice—you are in hell, after all. While the inferno is peppered with ice-refueling stations early on, later levels spread them apart, and in typical Nitrome fashion, progressively difficult and inventive puzzle elements are introduced in each level, each of which requires timing and finesse. Beak’s endgame is downright menacing, and it left me yearning for the relative simplicity of four limbs, one colorful mat, and a spinner wheel.

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  • Effigy_Power

    Nitrome Games don’t naturally lend themselves for blown up screen-shots, do they? I had to go to the other end of the room to see what I am looking at, which is a problem I also have while playing them.
    And since my arms aren’t 16 feet long, I may have to invest in a 7 inch monitor.
    Or not play Nitrome games… ‘cuz they’re balls.

  • Aaron Riccio

    Now we can all go skiing again! 

    Perfect little browser game, exactly the high quality and old-school feel I expect out of Nitrome stuff. Increasing challenge, too, but never to the point of utter frustration, and the mechanics actually change. Admittedly, with only 10 levels, it’s easy not to repeat yourself, but that’s what makes it a fun little browser game.

  • http://www.avclub.com/users/merve,96925/ Merve

    Usually I like pixel art, but this is just a step too far. Mildly interesting gameplay, though.

  • http://www.gildedgreen.com/ Girard

    The write-up made it sound like a generic shooter game, but even so I gave it a shot and was pretty pleased with some of the inventive stuff this game does.

    The ultra-lo-res graphics are really interesting, and I enjoy how legible they are despite the dearth of visual information. Also, the economizing necessitated by the limited ammo and the way that frozen enemies can smash each other turns it into more of a puzzle game than a shooter, which is kind of cool.Not game of the year, but there are a few interesting aesthetic and ludic ideas going on here.