I consider 3D platformers my video game comfort food. I can throw on a podcast or television program and lose myself in various collectathons. Yet, there aren’t very many that come out nowadays. So with the release of Ice Age: Scrat’s Nutty Adventure, I was hoping for at the very least a passable licensed video game. This is basically what it ends up being, except that the technical performance leaves a lot to be desired.
Ice Age: Scrat’s Nutty Adventure is a game that follows the titular Scrat from the Ice Age series of family-oriented animated films, whose last entry was in 2016. Scrat, a saber-toothed squirrel, was the protagonist of various short films that accompanied each movie. In this game, however, he takes center stage — to mediocre effect.
Fighting a pterodactyl in a volcano is great, and that’s about it
Ice Age: Scrat’s Nutty Adventure is a very short game. It’ll take even the most inexperienced players around four hours to get Scrat through all four levels and find all four of the Legendary Crystal Nuts. With each Crystal Nut, Scrat gains new abilities such as the capability to do a double jump. Combat is standard for a game of this caliber; it’s easy to understand and most situations can be resolved by mashing the attack button.
Perhaps the strongest part of the game is the level design. Like any good platformer, I was naturally enticed to search every corner of its map and try to find secrets. There is also some refreshing variety when it comes to the boss battles that are in the game, the major highlight being the fight you have with a pterodactyl in a volcano. Overall, the structure and gameplay are passable for a 3D platformer but could’ve benefited from more time and resources.
The lower budget of the game is made very apparent by how barebones the entire experience is. Apart from a few on-screen boxes of text that portray how to play the game, there’s very little story exposition. Also, don’t expect to see any major characters that are from the larger film franchise.
Yet, the technical performance of the game on Switch is what hurts Ice Age: Scrat’s Nutty Adventure the most. In more closed-off sections of the game, performance is passable at best. In open areas when the game has more to render, the frame rate is noticeably inconsistent. When you miss your timing on jumps due to a fluctuating frame rate, it only makes for a frustrating experience. Also, the game plays at a low resolution that’s even noticeable on the Nintendo Switch Lite’s smaller screen, making it hard to distinguish faraway objects. Videos available online suggest that the game runs smoother on other platforms, for what it’s worth.
A game that deserved to have more time and resources dedicated to it
It’s disappointing that Ice Age: Scrat’s Nutty Adventure was evidently rushed, especially since the groundwork for a good game is there in the level design and creative passion. Yet, the performance issues hinder the playability of the game and there simply isn’t anything engrossing in this game to forgive those flaws.
With no Ice Age movie releasing in tandem with Scrat’s Nutty Adventure, the choice to not give Just Add Water a few extra months to add polish is disappointing. At best, Ice Age: Scrat’s Nutty Adventure is a decent distraction for kids.
A review code was provided by the publisher.