Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs is an action-adventure game based on the third movie in the franchise. It's a humorous, kid-friendly romp through the pre-historic period, featuring plenty of colourful characters in a wide range of game styles including action, platforming, shooting and racing. Its simple gameplay is unlikely to hold the attentions of experienced players, but young folks and fans of the movie should be quite satisfied.
6214036When Sid decides to adopt dinosaur eggs it's your job to roll them back to the herd.
The game's plot is loosely based on that of the movie and features the same cast that fans will be familiar with. When Sid decides to adopt a litter of baby tyrannosaurs, the broody sloth is subsequently taken by the babies' mother, and it's up to you to rescue him with the assistance of the herd and Buck the weasel. Unfortunately, the characters' motivations are a bit incoherent at times, which leads to plot confusion. For example, the game never properly explains explain why Sid decides to adopt the dinos, or why Buck is seeking revenge on a dinosaur.
Ice Age has a lot of variety in its gameplay, and each of the six playable characters offers a different experience. Buck is the main character, and both he and Sid take part in Ice Age's more action-packed sequences; their on-foot levels typically mix combat, puzzle-solving, and exploration. The combat is simple button mashing at its core, but Buck's basic combo system and fruit-based projectile weapons make the fighting amusing, though monotonous hordes of similar enemy dinosaurs eventually put a chill on the fun. It's sometimes easy to lose your way in these on-foot levels, and while gusts of wind will give you clues as to which direction to head in, the lack of a map means you sometimes need to backtrack to find your way.
As you progress through the story you get to experience a number of different gameplay styles. Each level puts you in control of one character, and you take advantage of their strengths to complete the section. For instance, Diego the sabre-toothed tiger chases down a gazelle in a racing level, and Manny the mammoth uses his tusks to clear tree trunks in another. Despite having playable roles, their sequences are brief, and it feels like they've been included merely to add a couple more characters to the roster. Following the style of the movies, Scrat, a sabre-toothed squirrel, has a separate storyline that focuses on his pursuit of an acorn that's always out of reach. You also get to play as his new love interest Scratte, a flying squirrel, and their endless quest for nuts incorporates some fun 2D side-scrolling platform levels.