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Ice Lakes Review

Ice Lakes Review

Ice Lakes plunges you deep into the beautiful landscape of the Arctic Circle, as you vie against others in the most compelling and exciting series of ice fishing competitions. But is this game fit to be sat high on a perch, or does it simply look out of plaice in the simulator genre?

In Ice Lakes, there is no mistaking that you’re in the Arctic. The tranquil stillness of the region is wonderfully captured, with the sounds of your footsteps and drill ploughing through the ice adding a real feeling of serenity. You feel the sensation of an Arctic blast with the snow, freezing temperatures, and the frostbitten trees on display.

Screen Shot 2016 05 14 at 21.59.05

Not only are the trees covered in a blanket of frost and snow, you hear the crisp crackling of snow brushing the trees, and with the top view camera you can see the magnificent shadows from the trees, all of which helps to paint an alluring picture on the screen. On occasion, you will even come across some of the animals the Arctic has to offer, including the Arctic hare and the moose.

There are three game modes: Single Player, Competition, and Online. Within the game modes you can customise your character and their equipment. Ice Lakes could have fallen apart here but it overcame this brilliantly. Each piece of equipment feels unique, as they have individual strengths and weaknesses that actually makes a difference when you use them. Whilst on the lakes and fishing, there is a ‘fish shop’ on hand where you can sell fish you caught, and then use that money to upgrade your equipment. The customisation of your character is somewhat limited, but you can still make them stand out with regards to the colour of their clothing and type of headwear. The online game screen highlights servers that are available to join, each having different settings. You can play with up to 32 players in an online or LAN game, but unfortunately I was unable to sample much of the online play as the servers weren’t always full, which meant waiting for people to join. But, this does not detract from what is a great experience.

Screen Shot 2016 05 14 at 21.52.2

Where this game excels is in its attempts to create a number of interesting and dynamic game modes. For example, you can elect to go on a free fishing journey in any location, or you can compete against AI or online players in a competition to catch the biggest fish, or to see who can catch the most of a certain species. Ice Lakes boasts over 20 species of fish, and each location harbours certain species. But, in order to catch the more prized fish you need to upgrade your rods and bait – and ensure you have the patience to claim the best catch.

You can choose different locations and game modes, with ten locations to choose from, each with their own design and species of fish. You can change the settings as either morning, noon or evening, with the all the seasons barring summer as an option to choose from. Games can range from 10 minutes, all the way through to 180. Just make sure you make it back to the starting point by the time the competition ends, otherwise your catches will not count. But, perhaps the most enjoyable game mode was the tournament mode. In this, you can play in extensive events which adds a more competitive edge to proceedings, but if you want to, you can play solo and just have a venture around each of the frosty locations.

Screen Shot 2016 05 23 at 13.14.38

The controls are relatively simple, as with a click of the mouse you control your fishing rod and you scroll up and down to reel. The way you move your character is similar, as you click to where you want them to move to, and once you find a suitable location you can get yourself ready to do some fishing by clicking the drill icon in the bottom corner – the drill is an ice auger that makes a hole in the ice.

While the controls are simple enough, when you get a nibble it is best to use the keyboard, otherwise you will be clicking on various things at once. To attract fish to your line, you should click and drag until the rod bends at the front. I opted to press ‘F’ on my keyboard, which immediately retracts the rod and gives you a better chance of securing the catch. Also, there are occasions that you will need to press ‘R’ to use your scoop, which lifts slush and ice from the hole while you are fishing. Also, the button configurations can be edited to your liking.

However, while this is a fairly relaxing game, it is one that needs patience. Fishing is an activity that demands such patience, and Ice Lakes captures it well, with little out of place. It could have been easy for the game to veer on the side of being tedious and uninteresting, but the balance is struck exceptionally. You can even look at your statistics for a selected location and view your best catches, biggest catches, and length of time spent fishing there. The statistical side of the game was pretty comprehensive and it was a nice feature.

Screen Shot 2016 05 13 at 11.57.22

Ice Lakes takes little time to load up, and is a fast and reliable runner throughout as I encountered no problems while playing it, and I was amazed by just how quickly the game did run. The menus had a really nice sound too, with a blue and white colouration running through it, which was continued throughout both the menus and the gameplay.The sound effects in the game are so crisp and pure. I loved the smaller details, like hearing the crunching of the snow, and the gentle whisper of the wind. This accompanied with your footprints in the snow creates a striking theme that runs throughout Ice Lakes.

If you are a fan of fishing, then this is a game I would label as a must have. Having said that, I am not a fan of fishing but I found Ice Lakes to be a wonderful experience with its glorious visuals, a multitude of game modes, and a running theme which is continued throughout. Forget about the fish; Ice Lakes is the catch of the day.

10.00/10 10

Ice Lakes (Reviewed on Mac OS)

Outstanding. Why do you not have this game already?

If you are a fan of fishing, then this is a game I would label as a must have. Having said that, I am not a fan of fishing but I found Ice Lakes to be a wonderful experience with its glorious visuals, a multitude of game modes, and a running theme which is continued throughout. Forget about the fish; Ice Lakes is the catch of the day.

This game was supplied by the publisher or relevant PR company for the purposes of review
Nathan Hunter

Nathan Hunter

Staff writer

A man who’s in a long-term relationship with Liverpool FC. Gaming, music and his love of the weather follow narrowly behind.

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GarySheppard - 08:24pm, 30th May 2016

I would never have considered a fishing game, but this sounds brilliant. 

Nathan_908 - 05:36pm, 3rd June 2016 Author

I didn't think I would enjoy it as much as I did, but I can't talk highly enough of it. 

Sirkka - 07:51am, 2nd June 2016

Why bother buying this game. This is only a copy of Propilkki 2 which is freely available for PC.

GarySheppard - 09:02am, 2nd June 2016

That looks like it's a port of a mobile game. It does look rather nifty but the screenshots I've seen appear to be a bit less in-depth and polished than this game seems to be. 

Adam Neaves
Adam Neaves - 01:18pm, 12th July 2016

Great review, Foot! (He knows! :P)

Vernon MacDonald
Vernon MacDonald - 09:54pm, 26th November 2016

im from Flin Flon Manitoba we do alot of ice fishing here. This game is so awesome. I love the lookof the graphics all the small animal that scurry around. the fish are outstanding. the only small problem is i wish you could set your drag on your reel other than that its great i give this game a 10 out of 10 .