At first my thoughts were to compare Icebound to Solstice, given that they exist within the same genre and involve worlds coated in ice. Another similarity is that they both concern characters seemingly trapped, or at least isolated, within a particular setting due to the harsh weather. But that’s where the similarities come to a halt. In Icebound, we’re to be treated to a much more fantastical adventure as the world outside of Isenbarr, the central town, is fully fleshed out, and the different regions play a part in the game’s dark fantasy story.
“A wandering alchemist named Dougal winds up in the isolated town of Isenbarr with his Familiar, Isaac, hoping to find a job and earn some spending money.”
In Permia – the world that Icebound is set within – you have two races that co-exist, but seem to be different in the exterior look, mostly. Of course, there are humans, but more interesting are the feran, who are a bi-pedal species that are distinct due to being furry and having horns on their head. Some of them have mystical abilities too. Both of these intelligent races have forged a way of life around manipulating the forces of nature, i.e. using alchemy. The main character is Dougal, who is a mysterious traveler with an unknown quest and a pretty tough stance towards any challenge life throws at him. Alongside him is his “Familiar,” which is just a companion called Isaac, an ice bat that has the unusual ability to talk. The diverse species in the game doesn’t stop there either, as the North contains the Holy Empire which is run entirely by clockwork, and the South holds the Council, which is an alliance of tribes that possess mystical powers. It’s a set-up which soon lends itself to chaos among these lands, and you’ll have to control Dougal’s actions as he attempts to trace a web of intrigue that includes deadly beasts, a seductress and even a mad genius (plus many more).
Icebound is said to be the length of a novel, and comes with not just an intriguing and witty story to tell, but also some puzzle elements through an alchemy mini game, as well as a notoriety system that allows you to influence responses with various more illustrious acts during conversation – some of them apparently being “not-so-peaceful”. When I first read about this aspect of the game, I was hoping for some dramatic RPG-like choice system, but I’m not so sure these conversational actions allude to that. However, that’s not to say that Icebound abandons some more weighty dialogue choices in favor of telling a linear plot for the player to be strung along. Quite the contrary is actually the case, as it is said that Icebound will come with multiple endings to uncover
Icebound is due for release shortly, and the developers are ramping up for that with the release of a new trailer and by opening up pre-orders for the game with an early discount – $11.99, rather than $14.99 during the pre-launch period. Icebound will be available for Windows, Mac and Linux and is trying to get on to Steam via Greenlight.