The story goes that the planet's ice is melting and that the continents might even be drifting, tying it into the upcoming film (with a set subtitle of "Continental Drift"). Creatures big and small have been forced from their homes, and you'll need to create a stable way of life for them on still snowy ground. The game is technically a city-builder, as you'll create homes for the earth's different species (like sloths, mammoths, piranhas and so on), and will then build structures for their entertainment or relaxation.
The other major gameplay element is reminiscent of games like Zynga's Dream Zoo, as you'll need to provide companionship for each of the animals that arrive in your village, and can then breed those pairs to create complete family units. These families generate profits for you over time, which can then be spent on further city structures or to expand your land (which will become incredibly crowded incredibly quickly).
There's no true energy system to limit your playtime in a single session, although the game's quest system will sometimes require you to complete tasks that take a few hours or more to finish, which does provide those expected limits. You'll also be able to take a break from the main gameplay to play a mini-game or two, like one that sees you slashing evil piranhas that are trying to eat Scrat's acorn. Finally, you can watch a short Ice Age film in your city's movie theater, offering even more fan service to an experience that's already full of it.
Gallery: Ice Age Village on iOS
In terms of the game's social features, you'll be able to add friends by connecting to your Facebook account, and can then visit their villages to find Scrat in a very light version of hide-n-seek. Ultimately, the game's social features aren't that extraordinary, but the ability to check out your friends' progress is appreciated when you're left with nothing else to do but wait for your own game to turn a virtual profit.
If you're an existing fan of the Ice Age franchise, there's more than enough content and polish in Ice Age Village to warrant the free download, but even if you only have a passive interest in the series, this is a solid city-builder that moves fairly quickly and has high production values that look great on the iPad's HD screen. For the low price of free, I'd say that's worth checking out, wouldn't you?
Click here to download Ice Age Village on iTunes --->
Have you tried Ice Age Village on your iOS device yet? Are you a big fan of the Ice Age franchise as a whole, or will you just play the game for its individual gameplay? Sound off in the comments.