If you were to tell me that I’d be able to play a hockey game featuring Enviro-Bear [99¢] as a player, I’d say you were crazy. Yet, that’s exactly the case with Ice Rage [99¢], a simple arcade hockey game from Mountain Sheep. While Ice Rage doesn’t quite feature the deep gameplay found in previous Mountain Sheep titles, it’s still an enjoyable little arcade game, especially on the multiplayer side.

Billed as bringing the “8-bit hockey experience” to iOS, Ice Rage plays less like a hockey game and more of something akin to Pong. Games are played 2 vs 2 (one goalie and one attacker) on a very small rink. There’s also very little strategy involved; if your player has the puck you take shots at the opposing goal, and if you don’t have it, you smack the opposing attacker until you get it back. The controls also share Ice Rage’s simplicity: a virtual joystick and a button that doubles as the offense/defense action are the only buttons you have.

Ice Rage does offer three different difficulties, with the hardest also giving you control of your goalie (which is not the easiest task considering that your joystick will control both your players simultaneously). Also featured are a variety of characters including John Gore of Minigore fame and Enviro-Bear (who needs no introduction). A brand new update has already hit for Ice Rage, which adds the Bike Baron as a playable character as well. While some of the characters do have hidden stats such as being harder hitters, as far as gameplay is concerned Ice Rage is about as basic as they come.

While the gameplay may lead to some lackluster single player games, it’s actually well suited for multiplayer and becomes the biggest highlight of Ice Rage. Multiplayer adds another set of controls and sets them opposite of each other table-top style. On an iPhone or iPod touch, the whole experience is a bit cramped, but on an iPad it’s actually well-done. The controls are easy enough to pick up and play, and the time period (all games are 1:45 long with no customization) is short enough for spontaneous games with local friends. There’s just something about frenetic gameplay combined with a human opponent that brings out the fun in simple arcade games and Ice Rage is no exception.

Once you get past the initial appeal of playing hockey with the likes of John Gore or Enviro-Bear, you’ll quickly find that Ice Rage doesn’t have much of anything else up its sleeve. There are no achievements, career mode, or really anything other than quick-play with the three difficulty options. Multiplayer is nice, but single-player really doesn’t have anything to offer after the first few playthroughs. I understand that the developers were looking to create a classic arcade hockey title, but even features as simple as a leaderboard or ‘tournament’ mode would have gone a long way towards increasing replay ability.

Seeing as how the game has already been updated, it's not hard to imagine that it may include more robust single-player features in the future. Along with Bike Baron as a character, the new update made some minor tweaks to the gameplay, including an upgraded goalie AI and the ability to play as either the red or blue team. It will be interesting to see how the solid foundation of Ice Rage gets expanded over the long haul.

In the end, Ice Rage really is a game about tempered expectations. If you go into it expecting any kind of depth, prepare to be disappointed, as that’s not the intent of this title. However, if you go into it knowing that it’s a simple arcade hockey game, you should have a good time, particularly with its multiplayer.

TouchArcade Rating

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  • David Eriksson

    Wow, a pretty cool Hattrick-clone! Nice!

  • Gatada

    This game is very well made. The visuals are really nice and cartoony, and the controls are perfect. I keep coming back to this for fun; and with the cool single player modes - I play those more than anything else.

  • seraj

    It's great game and amazing touch game, but i have question if there's any update to can play online multiplayer or via bluetooth!

    ANSWER PLZ!!

Ice Rage Reviewed by Eric Ford on . Rating: 3