Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs video game review
Available for
Xbox 360, Nintendo Wii
Publisher
Activision
Ice Age: Dawn
of the Dinosaurs

Reviewed by Jason Thompson

()

K

ids’ animated flicks and video game tie-ins are part of the inevitable.  Every now and then, a good one comes along, but for the most part, these things are about nothing but the quick cash-in.  Toys, Happy Meals, pajamas, video games, the whole nine yards.  Milk it until the marketing is no more.  If nothing else, you basically have yourself a quick tax write-off at the end of the day.  The real question is why go to so much trouble for mediocrity?

“Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs” is nothing but mediocre. There’s not enough here to say it’s complete crap, but then there’s also nothing here to make anyone other than the kids it’s marketed towards want to play it for any longer than an hour or two at best. Unlike past recent movie games such as “Kung Fu Panda” or the whimsical “Madagascar 2,” everything about this game feels like it was phoned in, and it probably was.

It’s hard to imagine even the kids digging into this one very long. It’s your average platforming fare, after all. Players get to control various characters from the movie while collecting berries and other fruits to use in a shop to buy other features in the game.  There’s your standard jumping around bits, riding on the backs of other characters bits, and doing an endless supply of random task bits. All for the sake of just having a game simply exist, I suppose. It’s just all a bit depressing and not much fun at the end of the day.

The big problem with this game is that it doesn’t feel challenging to anyone, be they young or old. My five-year-old son quickly tired of making Sid the Sloth run around collecting crystals and throwing mud on rocks and couldn’t get the least bit excited during Diego the Sabre-Toothed Tiger’s sprinting exercises. And, well, Manny the Mammoth really didn’t spark much excitement, either. He didn’t care that you “finally” got to play as six characters in the game; he simply found the non-action and low difficulty of the levels as boring as I did early on playing it.

Maybe you have to be an “Ice Age” fan to really dig this title, but if that’s the case, then that’s ultimately not saying much for the film franchise, either. Unfortunately, games such as this one often feel like they’ve been culled from some old video game cookbook from the ‘90s and allowed to coast on their sheer existence. Well, that’s really not enough to make for an engaging game these days. Kids’ tastes have grown a lot lately, and games such as this one make it look all too obvious that no one was really trying over on the developer’s side of the fence.

As stated earlier, there have been some very good kids’ games based on hit movies to come down the line recently. This one simply doesn’t fit the bill.  The dialogue is rote, the characters aren’t that much fun to take control of, and the level tasks have been played to death in countless games before it. It’s not quite as bad as something like “Busby in 4-D,” but it doesn’t feel that far off. So yeah, sometimes cash-ins are simply that: something to suck 60 bucks out of mom and dad’s wallets for no real good reason at all. “Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs” might be worth a one-day rental, but a couple hours should really give you all the experience you need with this one.

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