I have a confession to make: I don’t like ice cream very much. In fact, I’m not a big fan of any desserts that involve either sugar, syrup, chocolate, or cream (so that’s pretty much all of them).
Naturally, this aversion to sweet things has led to many occasion where a chef or cook has been offended by my apparent culinary snub, but the sad fact is I can’t eat more than one or two delightful mouthfuls without my teeth deciding I should be punished for my sins.
Creamy Ice, the reaction game from developer Thumb Fire, promises to offer an exciting sugar high of a real ice cream dessert without the inevitable impression of a Sensodyne advert, but, like the sweet itself, lacks substance.
The action starts as if it's a time management game, giving the player a small ice cream bike (which plays no practical purpose in the grand scheme of things), and a limited selection of ingredients to work from, before expanding out your evil sugary empire.
Customers walk up to your stall, based just alongside the Eiffel Tower going from the background image, and ask for a sequence of ice cream scoops and sauces.
The customers don’t seem particularly keen on simple choices like a Mr. Whippy with 99 flake, often demanding layer upon layer of pistachio, choc chip, blueberry, cream, and chocolate.
Should you tap the order or ingredients incorrectly while making their chosen dessert, all your efforts are instantly chucked in the bin, forcing you to begin again - the customer gradually becoming more and more upset by your tardiness as you fumble about.
Creamy Ice is a very ‘solid’ game - the presentation bright and cheerful while the tap controls and layout of the buttons nicely spaced out as to be almost impossible for even my sausage fingers to hit without concern.
However, there’s never a feeling of real progression or reward. In the time management genre, this is usually performed via visual clues (bigger buildings) or increases in the cash your business is raking (while simultaneously increasing the prices of the next item or upgrade to keep you playing).
There’s none of that here. Upgrading from a bike to shop feels insignificant as you’re always selling ice cream to the same random people just alongside the Eiffel Tower, and the money you make is permanently stuck to the $50-$60 mark per day.
With later items taking hundreds of dollars to unlock, it can even feel a little like a grind, despite the career mode taking all of 30 minutes to complete.
Then there's the option of doing it all again in Endurance or against the clock in Time Trial mode, but it’s hard to stomach another serving of the same sweet treats when there’s such little incentive to do so.