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Video Game / Icycle

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Platform Hell freezes over.

Icycle is a free Adobe Flash game, created by Damp Gnat productions.

In a post-apocalyptic, frozen Earth, the last Human Popsicle wakes up from his cryogenic sleep to discover that he is Last of His Kind. But he soon discovers that There Is Another, and he sets off in pursuit of them across the frozen wasteland, looking for the last remnants of humanity. Fairly typical of the genre, then.

"Typical," that is, until you realize that he's completely naked, he's riding across the tundra on a comically small, squeaky blue bicycle, and he's chasing a trail of frozen soap bubbles.

As a game, Icycle is a Platformer wherein you control the unnamed man and his tiny bicycle as he Follows The Bubbles across several icy landscapes. The man can't get off his bike—he's naked, after all, and he'd freeze quickly—and he can't backpedal. He's got momentum issues, too. You've got to figure out the layout of the levels and the types of obstacles contained therein, and figure out the best path around them. Due to the way the bike moves, precision is extremely difficult—but you're going to need it anyway, as the platforms are small, the Spikes of Doom are plentiful, and the ice is both slippy and slidey. Being a free Flash game, it's only 8 levels long, but it's 8 levels of precarious cliffs, steep slopes, Bottomless Pits, and spikes. Lots and lots of spikes.

An iOS-exclusive sequel, Icycle: On Thin Ice, was released in 2014. Increasing the number of levels from 8 to 20, and adding a vacuum for collecting ice blocks, a Parasol Parachute, and the ability to cycle backwards, it follows the same unnamed man (now known as Dennis) as an attempt to kiss a snow woman goes horribly wrong.

Both games provides examples of:

  • Apocalypse How: Class 6, with Dennis (and a gorilla in the first game) being the only survivor.
  • The Determinator: Dennis will go through a literal frozen hell to find another person, or a snow woman in the second game.
  • Exposed to the Elements: Being naked in an icy apocalypse doesn't slow Dennis down.
  • Glacial Apocalypse: The game has you play as the lone survivor of the new ice age, who is a naked man riding a small blue bicycle and following a trail of frozen bubbles. He attempts to find any remnants of humanity left in the frozen world, but only finds a gorilla.
  • Huge Rider, Tiny Mount: The guy is at least twice as big as the bicycle.
  • Human Popsicle: You're the only one who unfrozen successfully. The others all went splat. Or so it seems...
  • Last of His Kind: Dennis, looking for other humans in the frozen world. He ultimately fails in the second game.
  • The Many Deaths of You: Crushed, spiked, frozen, fallen into pits. Often you need to die the first time - or a few times - to learn what you'll need to avoid. Fortunately, the deaths a quite amusing.
  • Minimalist Cast: The only live characters to appear are Dennis and a gorilla.
  • One-Hit-Point Wonder: Anything and everything is enough to knock you off your bike, and you freeze instantly on contact with the ground.
  • Platform Hell: Remember, children, in Dante's Inferno, the ninth circle of Hell was completely covered in ice.
  • Rube Goldberg Hates Your Guts: Oh... boy.... The smallest actions Dennis will cause in any level creates a massive chain reaction that will likely either: impale, crush or freeze Dennis.
  • Scenery Censor: Despite being naked the entire game, the bicycle guy's legs are always carefully positioned such that you never actually see anything.
  • Scenery Porn: Sure, Earth may be completely frozen over, but if it isn't gorgeous...!
  • Slippy-Slidey Ice World: Surprisingly downplayed! Although the game's setting is covered in ice and snow, this doesn't really impact the gameplay. You can brake on an icy slope without sliding backwards, and pedal through piles of snow without slowing down.
  • There Is Another: Dennis' main motivation is to find another survivor.
  • The Un-Reveal: There is no clear indication why the entire world suddenly froze instantly.

Icycle: On Thin Ice provides examples of:

  • Anxiety Dreams: The level "Sweet Dreams" has a bunch of word candy saying "Want Me" and "Eat Me" but quickly devolves into saying "You Wish" and "You Die".
  • Bookends: "Fin" starts exactly where the beginning intro is.
  • Companion Cube: The Snow Woman is this for Dennis.
  • Darker and Edgier: This game really focuses on how alone Dennis feels.
  • Downer Ending: "Snow Balls From Hell" The final level prior to "The Bright Side" update, ends with Dennis crying after realizing that the snow woman he was after was the giant snowball that almost killed him.
  • Dream Sequence: Dennis goes through a wopping seven of these.
  • Dying Alone: Zig-Zagged, with Dennis in the end.
  • Gainax Ending: "The Bright Side" ends with the world ending again due to Dennis' reckless activities. Just as Dennis is about to accept that he is going to die alone he finds the snow women reformed and is finally able to kiss it, which causes the entire core of the earth to be carved into the shape of himself chasing the snow woman. The final shot shows a now densely cracked up earth turning into a giant snowflake.
  • Killed Off for Real: Dennis slowly succumbs to the cold weather as he finally kisses the snow women in "Fin".
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: "Tectonic States" and "Fin" reveal that all of the destruction Dennis has been doing throughout the game is slowly causing the entire world to shatter.
  • Non-Indicative Name: "The Bright Side" update is anything but.
  • Remilitarized Zone: "Pretty Cold War", albeit a completely frozen one. Unique to this game is that there is still active bombs scattered throughout the two levels.
  • There Is Another: Unlike the first game, this one completely subverts this.

The original game provides examples of:

  • 100% Completion: The game grades you on the percentage of soap bubbles you collect in a level.
  • Advancing Wall of Doom: Area 7 is build entirely around this concept, with giant ice crystals encroaching in on you from all sides.
  • And Your Reward Is Clothes: Beating the game lets you play again... but this time, your guy has a scarf. Small comforts, I suppose. Repeatedly beating the game gives him more clothes. However, these rewards are lost if the game is reloaded.
  • By Wall That Is Holey: In Area 8, you must position yourself exactly so so as not to get crushed by the falling building.
  • Checkpoint: Passing one gives an audio chime. Most are at a transition between screens.
  • Follow the Money: The way forward is marked by a trail of frozen soap bubbles, which the game helpfully instructs you to follow.
  • Shout-Out: The very first area is based on the famous Japanese print The Great Wave off Kanagawa. The second has the Statue Of Liberty's torch in the background, a reference to Planet of the Apes.
  • Stepping Stones in the Sky: Area 5's crumbling cliffs; some of the gaps are too wide to jump, but start to crumble before you get there. Luckily, they're still viable platforms even when they're falling.
  • There Is Another: Your awakening is followed by seeing someone ride away on a motorcycle, and your goal is to find them, as they seem to be the only other survivor in the world. It turns out to be a gorilla. With a bubble gun.
  • Time-Passes Montage: The loading screen/intro starts at the formation of the Earth and the Moon, the forming of the continents, the spread of life, the Earth being covered in cities, increasing global warming and a sudden ice age, all in about twenty seconds.
  • Trial-and-Error Gameplay: In the "growing ice" segments in Area 7, this is pretty much the only way to get past them—memorize the patterns they grow in, and stay carefully within them. Not easy, especially when it's difficult to stay in one place.
  • Vent Physics: Both Area 6 and Area 8 make copious use of vents; Area 8 especially has one particularly hazardous "threading the needle" stage.