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 $US10 ($14) 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 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 a ton of flashy moves to perform.
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.
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.