Ice Station Z Review
You are alone, out in the middle of nowhere with nothing, and a bunch of zombies want to kill you. Well, unless you play the online mode and then there are people everywhere and not many zombies. Wait. What? Is this a game I’m talking about? Of course, this is a game. Ice Station Z for the 3DS eshop is just a game….or is it?!
Survival is the name of Ice Station Z’s game. You are thrown into the middle of nowhere with nothing and then have to collect whatever you can find to survive as long as you can. There is no story or even setup for this game. I wish there had been some kind of setup at least. But for what it is, Ice Station Z is mostly fun.
The world of Ice Station is very big. I’m glad that you can save anywhere, at anytime and come back to things later. I think that the maps are randomly generated in single player, but I’m not totally sure because the areas all look pretty similar. There are a few unique buildings and places to visit (a sub!) here and there. I do know that the items you find in this game randomly pop up in places. And there are a lot of items to find in this game!
Its fun walking into buildings and seeing what items you can find. There are a lot of item suprises (snowboard! tent!). On your way to the buildings, you’ll have have to keep an eye out for zombies. They are everywere, they will attack you if you get close enough for them to see you and they are fast. You won’t always be able to protect yourself or outrun though. When you die, you’ll respawn, with nothing and have to figure out how to survive again.
Surviving can be intense, but it can also be a bit boring at times. There are a lot of wide open, empty spaces in this game. Your character can’t move too fast and without a vehicle (which you can find but won’t always have fuel for), it will take you awhile to get from point A to point B. This isn’t always interesting. And when it gets dark, the graphics get very muddy and its hard to tell where you are going, even with the flashlight on. Still, when you find items, fight zombies, and stumble upon things like submarines and boats the game can be a lot of fun. And its even better online!
Ice Station Z has a very active online comunity. The game also supports local play and online friends only but I didn’t get to try those modes. Online with everyone can be really fun. In fact, I’d say its more fun than single player. In online mode, there’s people to talk to via text or voice chat! Yes, Ice Station Z has online voice chat with anyone! Why can a small indie game have voice chat on the 3DS and Animal Crossing New Leaf can’t? I have no idea. But the voice chat in Ice Station Z works and mostly works well. Although, it seemed like most people were using texting and only little kids were using the voice chat when I played. I did try to the voice chat out some myself and it worked good. Texting is easy to use in this game too.
The online mode works well for the most part. I did have it freeze up on me once and another time I got disconnected from online. When it froze up, I had to turn my system off. When I got disconnected, I still had all my online equipment and was just put into single player mode. Very nice! Online mode definitly is fun. I liked walking around, talking to people, and trying to survive. You can team up with people to survive too and other players can, gulp, kill you if they are mean spirited. There seems to be more equipment available in the online mode, which is great since there can be a lot of people in these online matches. Though there are little to no zombies and it would be nice to see some more things to do online. I hear there will be an update to this game that adds more content in the future! I look forward seeing what will be added. As for now, the game is good and thankfully the controls are part of the reason why.
The controls in Ice Station Z are pretty good. Walking around, aiming, and shooting work well. So does picking up items. Ice Station Z uses the 3DS second screen well too. On the touch screen, you’ll find a “phone” app where you access all your items, your flashlight, map, and more. The touch screen controls here are mostly good. There are some touch screen mini-games, such as cutting wood too. The wood cutting is a bit tricky, but it is a neat addition. One thing that I do wish was a little bit better was the in-game camera when you are driving a vehicle. The camera for this game is pretty good otherwise. I do wish you could take screenshots to share on social media, but I guess you could always just share them on mii-verse. Despite any issues I do have with this game, I enjoyed my time playing it and look forward to playing it more!
Ice Station Z is not without its faults, but the online mode alone makes this game worth downloading if you are into survival horror/sim games. Oh and the game only costs $3.99 (US) . What a great price! You shouldn’t expect much from the game’s graphics though.
Ice Station Z’s graphics are not bad, but they are not really 3DS graphics either. I would liken the graphics to Nintendo 64 graphics. The visual style fits the game, though there are some issues here and there. There doesn’t seem to be much collision detection in this game because you can walk through trees, some doors, and hitting a zombie with a vehicle hurts you and not the zombie (its like the vehicle isn’t there). Hopefully future updates will fix this. Also, as noted before, the night time graphics are pretty muddy. Still, I’ve seen worse looking games than Ice Station Z on the 3DS.
In the audio department, Ice Station Z doesn’t have much much in the way of music, but boy does it have great sound effects. Everything from just walking around to the sounds the zombies make this game sound really good. Ice Station Z is moody and the sound effects really help set that mood. Overall, this is a good game that is sure to get better with bug fixes and future content updates.
Ice Station Z is not a perfect game. It has glitches, it has bad collision detection and it has moments of boredom. But when you get past all that, you’ll find a good game, especially when you play it online! And at the price of $3.99, the game is offering a lot of content and a unique experiance for the 3DS. Future bug fixes and content updates should make things even better. So yes, Ice Station Z is just a game, but its a game that survival horror and simulation game fans shouldn’t pass by!
Thanks to Wobbly Tooth for providing a copy of this game. Ice Station Z is currently available on the 3DS eshop. There is also a demo available for the game! You should definitely check that out!
- Good Gameplay
- Active Online Community
- Voice Chat
- Excellent sound effects
- Bad Collision Detection
- Muddy night graphics
- Too Many Empty Areas