A Bit Nippy: Icycle

That saddle's going to need a rub-down after this

Floppy-haired Brightonian games proper-journalist Simon Parkin describes Icycle as ‘Naked, ice-age themed Trials HD [or Trials 2 to PC-you and PC-I] in Flash.’ He’s not wrong. And hey, even if you couldn’t stand Trials, let’s re-emphasise the naked thing – this is a game about a bloke riding his pushbike through a snowy wasteland, wearing only his birthday suit. Ouch.

Rather than a sequence of challenge stages, it’s a flowing story of sorts – a platformer more than anything else, but with elastic momentum that brings death at every turn.

Must admit I found it a bit of a trudge at times, due to the emphasis on very quick reflexes and remembering then repeating an exact route, rather than Trials’ mix of fudging it, guesstimation and insta-replay – but the flamboyancy and strange fusion of bleakness and silliness endeared it to me nonetheless. It’s about a naked guy on a bicycle.

Also, it’s about some startling epic background scenery, turned into much more than the 2D imagery it is thanks to natty zoom and physics shenanigans. It’s a beautifully-presented game, it really is. Plus, it’s about a naked guy on a bicycle. His shivering and frozen-nippled gasping are the game’s easy highlight. It’s made by a team which includes some olden Amiga devs and a professional animator, and aside from it being perhaps a bit too unforgiving, you can really tell there’s pedigree here. Naked, shivering pedigree.

You can play it for free in your browser here, or see it in action below. No, down a bit. Bit more. Ah, there you go:


  1. drewski says:

    Made it to level 6 before I reached my repeated instadeath frustration threshold. Fun for a bit, though.

  2. Sam says:

    Beat it with 66 deaths last night. The bubbles are clues for where you should jump or stand sometimes, so pay attention. Teeth-gnashing, but not quite unfair.

  3. Schmung says:

    It looks lovely, but the mechanics of it are nasty. Elasto Mania had it perfect and TeaGames Motorcross series is half decent as well, but here there’s no real feeling of being in control of the bike. Shame really, as it looks utterly lovely.

  4. Matt says:

    Completed with 85 deaths. Last two were super tricky :(

  5. PeopleLikeFrank says:

    Cute, but I’ve got a beef with deadly ceilings. Also with making you go back three screens and repeat all the tricky bits, just because there was a tricky bit within milliseconds of the fourth.

    • drewski says:

      I got terrible, terrible lag repeatedly throughout that which made timing jumps impossible. Shame, was a bit of fun.

    • Kua says:

      Worthy of the recommendation which you have placed on it. If only for the funky cyclists.

  6. JonFitt says:

    Looks well presented, but as a gamer I am against trial and error games. Comparing them to real life, I am pro-chess, anti-ball-on-a-string-into-the-cup.

  7. tba says:

    The best bit was the opening loading screen, then after dying, several dozen time on the first icicle… I gave up.

    • RobF says:

      Ooh, I managed till the second screen before deciding that I can’t be arsed with this.

      Naked bloke on a bike = ace concept. Death by barely visible scenery = shite.

  8. DrGonzo says:

    Looks amazing but unbelievably frustrating. Gave up on the second level after dieing a rediculous amount of times.

  9. TCM says:

    Beat the game, got a “bonus item”: A scarf.

    I can’t care enough to attempt to see if there are any more articles of clothing.

    • NukeLord says:

      I could <.<
      He gets a sweater. I can only imagine some dedicated person might persist in fully clothing the poor fellow.

  10. Coffee says:

    It’s certainly cute enough in concept. I struggled with the scenery though and differentiating tiny little icicles of impending death from perfectly safe ice. I died perhaps 14 times getting through the first two screens and decided I had seen enough.

    This could be a really fun game, but in a platformer like this where control is necessarily limited, you really need a fairly high-contrast between that which is safe and background and that which will instantly murder you. Subtle shade variations of light blue are terrible for this.

  11. Ozzie says:

    The fourth level was a bit too hard for me for casual fun.

  12. Ozzie says:

    Hey! Someone else apparently also posts under the name Ozzie! Now that’s… *sigh*

  13. Ozzie says:

    I say that because I noticed that I have a picture now that I haven’t uploaded myself.

  14. Ozzie says:

    Oooh, wait, everyone has a picture. How come?

    • sexyresults says:

      Did you just have a conversation with yourself?

    • zak canard says:

      @Ozzie: It’s a Gravatar, which is more or less an avatar plugin for various blogging apps. If you’ve never set one up it’ll use a random one based on whatever the default for the site is set up as. If you’re not happy with the one assigned to you randomly and want something more unique to you, hop over to http://www.gravatar.com and put in the same email address you use for here.

  15. bobince says:

    49 deaths. The levels were just slightly too long to forgive the go-back-to-the-start deaths, but the game was just about charming enough to keep me playing nonetheless. If the levels were any longer it would have been destroyed by frustration.

  16. SuperNashwan says:

    Looks quite pretty, although I had to recalibrate my estimation of graphical awesomeness recently after playing Muramasa: The Demon Blade. Anyway, as a game it plays like the kind of shareware rubbish I used to find off the coverdisk of Amiga Power. Have we really come so little distance since then?

  17. Kua says:

    I died many many times.

  18. Bhazor says:

    Very nice. Nice. Get it? Nice.
    I’ll do it again.
    Very nice.

    Still I must quibble with the term physics. All the scenery is pre animated and the acceleration and the guys balance certainly don’t take gravity into account. Even the thermals at the end seem preset with 3 different hieghts depending on which button you hold down.

  19. Larington says:

    Tried it earlier, when the game or my spacebar was stuck so at first I thought I was supposed to bounce my way through the whole thing, ’til I hit the first part of level 2 where that’d be impossible.

    Theres somewhat of a Lara Croftian difficulty to this game, I have little patience for that kind of gameplay these days.

  20. c-Row says:

    This made my boring day at work so much more entertaining. Thank you, naked man on a bicycle. Thank you!

  21. Tangy says:

    If this was an animation I’d love it (the audio as well as the visuals). As a piece of interactive entertainment I don’t, for all the reasons mentioned by others.

  22. Railick says:

    I actually quiet like this.

  23. Joseph Tkach says:

    Beautiful artwork, but I can barely see the obstacles in the first level. They blend in so much with the rest of the level that it makes the game unplayable, for me.

  24. Wooly says:

    Beautiful artwork. Anyone got a link to where i could get some of it? :D

    Unfortunately, this game is beastly hard. I’m stuck on the last level. Already got 150+ deaths :S

  25. Chemaqua says:

    Link’s broken – I get a 403 error.

  26. sexyresults says:

    Both the homepage and the game get 403 errors.

  27. Stranger says:

    I get:
    You don’t have permission to access / on this server.

    when trying to open link to dampgnat.com :(

  28. Hmm-Hmm. says:

    Seems to me they got a little too much attention for their bandwidth.

  29. Anton says:

    Well done, RPS, you’ve advertised a game to the whole Galaxy of your followers, and now we’ve DoS-ed the site by our billions of requests per second.

    The trailers looks mighty stylish, though. “Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet”-like stylish.

  30. DoS'er says:

    Heh, I guess this is a new way of making a DoS/DDoS… Might want to apologise to the guys at dampgnat …

  31. nakke says:

    New way? Heard about slashdot, digg, etc? :P

  32. Clovis says:

    You all (RPS) need to come up with a catchy name for this, like the “slashdot effect”, but not the RPS effect because that’s boring.

  33. Lyon says:

    I got a lovely Another World vibe from that, I didn’t give the bubble collecting any attention, I just wanted to see the charming world they had created. Bit too frustrating though.

  34. Al Ewing says:

    It’s very beautiful, and that kept me playing until level eight, when finally the crushing boredom and frustration proved too much.