You may think that the phrase “Bad Ice Cream” is an oxymoron in itself, since everyone loves ice cream and there can’t possibly be anything bad about it, can there? Well, even though ice cream is a boring choice for dessert, it makes a brilliant choice for a game, as is evident in Bad Ice Cream 2. Games that utilise a retro-style aesthetic instantly appeal to many gamers out there that miss the golden age of gaming, and the fact that it is of the arcade genre makes it all the more appealing since its fun is instantly accessible, hugely challenging, and immediately rewarding. There really wasn’t much that wasn’t enjoyable in Bad Ice Cream, and sequel Bad Ice Cream 2 is here to continue the stunning visual style and gameplay that is addictive on a fiendish level.
Developers Nitrome are responsible for Bad Ice Cream 2, and they clearly know how to emulate the retro-arcade feel of older games in a manner that is appealing to a huge audience. Bad Ice Cream 2 focuses on controlling a small ice cream in order to collect all of the fruit around each level, the floors of which are lined with tiles. Your ice cream character is able to shoot blocks of ice by using the space bar and moves around with the directional controls. The aim is simply to collect different kinds of fruit as they appear in each level, with there being more fruit to collect and in more difficult positions on the screen the deeper you get into the game. You also must avoid the enemies in the levels, of which there are many, each having different abilities and patterns of movement to challenge your fruit-grabbing mission.
Each level contains a certain layout of frozen blocks which can be navigated around or simply smashed into bits with your ice-block-shooting power. Various enemies bob around the levels, some simply following simple patterns of movement while others are able to jump/fly over blocks and cause a little more trouble for you. There are also tiles of different properties as well such as ones where the ice on them re-forms after a short amount of time and super-fast blocks that make you slide quickly across them when you step onto them. The combination of avoiding the enemies and navigating your way to the fruit scattered around each level is where the challenge of the game lays. You must learn the enemies’ patterns of movement and utilise your freezing power to block, freeze, and fight your way to each and every last piece of fruit in order to be successful in each level.
The most distinctive feature of Bad Ice Cream 2 is its stunning retro feel that is full of colour and packed with different level and enemy designs that feel more authentically 8-bit than games like Sk8bit. Every last pixel of the game feels authentically retro and you simply can’t beat a game that has the look and the longevity that comes from sublime yet simple gameplay, and this game has these features to an extent that other games can only dream of.