The Best Way To Play New Steam Hit Icey Is To Ignore The Instructions

Chinese indie Icey may look like a simple side-scrolling hack-and-slash game, but that’s only if you do what the narrator and directional arrows tell you. Ignore them, and things get weird.


Currently selling for under $10 on Steam and enjoying a spot on the global bestsellers list, Icey is part standard action game, part metagame. Following in the footsteps of indie darlings like The Stanley Parable or Pony Island, Icey allows the player to break out of the core narrative by not following directions.

Go along with what the Chinese-language (with subtitles) narrator and follow the action arrows and you’re treated to a very competent hack and slash game, packed with large cyborg bosses and tons of flashy moves to perform.

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Ignore the narrator and the arrows, and you’ll find all sorts of secrets. There’s a strange story of ancient digital gods, hidden scenes starring characters outside of the core narrative, faux behind-the-scenes emails between the development team, and the slow transition from female cyborg hero Icey to something more personal (I See.) At one point I wound up in a different game altogether.

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Check out the game in action below, with commentary by yours truly. Feel free to ignore that as well. Who knows where you’ll wind up.



That’s an Humane Sciences boss, talking to an Exact Sciences programmer.

“Make the game more beautiful”.

Er, wut?

“Put some Deku Trees (without faces) to the scale of 2 humans of height, on the sidewalks of the streets every 50 meters. Make them random looking trees.”  

See the diference? Exact Sciences. You could ask Google AI to do that. You could even create just 2 sets of them, and rotate the trees, so they wouldn’t look exactly alike. Nobody, or very few people, would notice.

“Make the players like this game more”.

Er... how?

“Put large explosions, big guns, fast cars, jet fighters, and lots of clothing and hairstyles customizations in this game”. 

Now we are talking! A defined set of objects, even if there is some randomness possible to them! It is a very subtle, but very distinct line, that separates E.S. people from H.S. people. Even if the emails are some sort of in-joke, they tackle a very real problem.

Creative jobs, like Marketing, demand HS people, while others, like creating a car, that has some requirements of safety and performance, demands ES people. Sometimes the most beautiful cars on the planet happen by accident, when you were trying to solve other problems, like aerodynamics.

I think the game poked lots of fun on that dynamic, letting you wander about and having a completely different experience if you just ignore the rules! A definite “must see for myself” in my book.