Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs

It's one thing to flood your game with dinosaurs, but it's quite another to actually play like one.

Though Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaur's Hollywood link-up means it has different boxes to tick from the average platformer, somewhere along the line Glu's ode to Manny and co. got lost in time, nabbing ideas off adventures past left, right and centre, but somehow managing to screw up the end result.

The most notable issue is its speed, or lack of it. Ice Age really does trot along like someone has covered the whole thing in glue, although its short levels offer up a narrow, heavily directed experience.

Taking charge of Sammy, your basic job is to wander around each stage picking up objects - dinosaur eggs and a plethora of other prehistoric gubbins - until a gauge at the bottom of the screen fills up. Only when it's full to the brim can you then make your way to the exit, though most of the time the two tend to coincide and it's likely you'll already be there by the time you reach the target.

It's a fine example of how free play doesn't really exist in Ice Age's world. While a mere description of its gameplay would hint at variety (Dawn of the Dinosaurs has many mid-level sections that, temporarily, change the aims of play, such as gobbling up eggs in a Snake-style mode or protecting baby dinos by attacking lines of foe), most of it is pinned down in simple exploration.

But this exploration is highly managed, each stage basically consisting of one set path with numerous triggers along the way that restrict just what you can do and when. It's such a tame affair that your decision making is limited to mere timing - deciding just when to mount a dangerous crossing or attack an enemy (with the ‘5’ key) is the extent of your responsibilities.

It's all so restrictive, in fact, that it's rather hard to judge the experience as a whole, because it never really feels like it gets going. Even a younger audience will find the lack of challenge and freedom in Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs tiresome.

Glu's latest feels like a trip back in time for all the wrong reasons.

Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs

Despite looking pretty and with all the fixtures and fittings of an Ice Age title, Dawn of the Dinosaurs is a game without a game, encasing the sludgy play within some very narrow walls