Ice Cream Craze: Natural Hero is fun and refreshing time management game

Anna is back in Ice Cream Craze: Natural Hero, the third entry in the Ice Cream Craze series following Ice Cream Craze and Ice Cream Craze: Tycoon Takeover. In Natural Hero, your town has fallen victim to the nefarious Dr. Bane. He has cornered the dessert market with his ice cream that is made completely of artificial chemicals. Armed with your own recipes for all natural ice cream, it’s up to you to stop Dr. Bane before it’s too late.

In Ice Cream Craze: Natural Hero you will need to serve customers, purchase ingredients and upgrade your skills. The game is non-linear and the whole town is open to you from the beginning. You will be given a set of goals that you need to complete before the story moves forward but it up to you how you will meet these goals.

 Natural Hero

Each day you will be able to purchase three ingredients. This will max out your inventory for that ingredient. Each day after that it will degrade slightly. By having fresh ingredients you will increase your market share, slowly stealing customers away from Dr. Bane. You can also find ingredients when you are selling ice cream. Each store has seven ingredients hidden in it. If you find all seven of them you will max out that ingredient as well.

After making your purchase you can decide to earn money selling ice cream at one of the locations around town or you can choose to purchase or upgrade one of your skills or your equipment. Remember that everything costs money, and as the game progresses everything gets much more expensive. You will need to budget and strategize to meet your goals.

The upgrade system in Natural Hero is different from other time management games. Each location has a character who will teach you a skill or how to upgrade your equipment. They won’t do it for free though, and you will have to pass a mini-game to finish the transactions. Just like when you are earning money, you will be serving ice cream to your customers. However, you will be given a set of conditions that you must meet. For example, to upgrade your machines to be faster you may have to serve a specific number of customers before your energy runs out and there could be the added condition of not throwing away any product. As the game progresses it will get harder to meet these conditions. Luckily you can always try again if you fail the first time.

 Natural Hero

You will be serving a varied bunch of customers and they all come with their own set of quirks. Each location serves a different demographic and you will have strategize to determine which will best help you meet your goals. In one location you will be serving teenagers, who while patient are not the best tippers. In another location you will be serving mummies and magicians and you will be unable to use any of your skills, but you will be well compensated for the inconvenience.

After you meet your goals you will be confronted by Dr Bane. He will attack and you will have to fight him off by throwing his disgusting artificial ice cream at him. After you defeat him he will retreat only to return to fight again.

While Ice Cream Craze: Natural Hero is a fun and refreshing game it is not without its faults. Because you are selling ice cream from a truck the background images never change. Even though you are traveling around the town your store always looks the same. This, combined with doing the same tasks over and over, can make the game seem tedious after a time. There is also a minor graphical issue when you select a customer. The shading one them is off and makes them appear pixilated and it detracts from the otherwise pleasant graphics.

All in all Ice Cream Craze: Natural Hero is a well made spin on the traditional time management genre. If you are a fan of the other two games in the series or just a fan of time management games in general, definitely give this one a try.