Coming out of stasis only to find the world has been destroyed in an all-out nuclear conflict sounds like just about the worst day anybody could have. But coming out of stasis to discover this in winter, completely naked, with nothing but a much-too-tiny bicycle to save you? That's worse. Icycle has you guiding a very chilly, very nude man on a teensy little bicycle across some terrifying terrain in an icy cold future.
Icycle is a simple game about careful navigation. Each of the games 8 stages provides a dangerous winter landscape full of sharp patches of ice and endless cliffs to tumble over. You objective is to make sure the man and his bike get to the end of each level unscathed.
Our hero's little bike can only go forward, so you won't be able to reverse and avoid obstacles once a mistake as has been made. This means you're going to die – a lot. In fact, the game's scoring focuses on only three things: how long it takes you to complete the game, how many soap bubbles you collect, and how many times you die. There's a little ticker to track all of your tragedies and pitfalls, so you'll know exactly how many times you've steered the poor nudist into an untimely death.
While there are only 8 short levels, the developers at dampgnat have managed to create a well-balanced escalation of challenge. Earlier levels simply have you jumping patches of ice and avoiding bottomless pits, but by the end you'll be racing to balance on moving pieces of ice, or trying to pedal inside a rotating building while at the same time trying not to get crushed. Icycle is a fairly short experience — depending on the level of challenge you find you can easily get through everything the game has to offer in about 15 minutes. Despite this, they've really nailed that “easy at first, tough as nails by the end” gameplay that any good game should offer.
Soap bubbles add an extra layer of challenge for those looking to up the ante. Each level has a set number of them to collect, but many of these are in hard to reach places. Once you've mastered the 8 levels, it gives you a great reason to go back and try again.
It would be hard to speak of Icycle without praising the game's breathtaking presentation. Levels have a beautiful, hand-painted vibe that left our jaws dropped every time a new level started. The developers must have recognized the reputation their art is getting, as they've started to make desktop wallpapers available detailing some of these captivating environments. Add to that an eerie, lonely wind sound and you've got a recipe for the perfect post-apocalyptic/lost in a tundra vibe.
a pretty quick experience, but Icycle offers a surprising amount of game for such a short amount of time. It's atmospheric, it's beautiful, it's challenging – it's a naked man on a child's bicycle. What's not to love? As a free browser game, you're bound to enjoy every minute you spend on that chilly bike seat.