We know what you're thinking: another movie game just means a new high-water mark for the Ocean of Suck. Hold your horses: Ice Age 2 might not be terribly memorable or innovative in the slightest, but its run-and-jump levels will melt the hearts of kiddies, no sweat.
Most of the time, players control Scrat, the ever-twitching prehistoric squirrel-rat that always seems to be finding or inadvertently causing trouble. Controlling this wide-eyed bundle of energy is a breeze, because all his moves have been seen before - double jumps, ground stomps, roll attacks, pebble tosses, all that stuff. The immediate sense of familiarity pulls you in, and just watching Scrat scramble about, constantly emitting little grunts and grumbles, pulls a smile out of your face. Yeah, even yours, Mr. Cool.
This rodent loves acorns. A lot. As in, "holy crap that's a whole hell of a lot of acorns." On most levels, collecting over a thousand unlocks a bonus video interview with the cast, and finding your way into hard-to-reach areas only digs up more nuts for the hoard. Even taking into account the relatively frequent and amusing mini-game diversions, like Sid's downhill ice slalom and impromptu aerial dance routine, it's hard to argue that there's much meat on these prehistoric bones.
Even the hardest of the obstacle puzzles only requires you to find a fistful of hidden nuts before you squeeze through another crack in the wall, ready to sniff for even more goods. And you'll get it done in less than 10 hours total. You have to love the Ice Age world to see how the sum, however modest, can still be greater than these too-conventional parts.
Though running and jumping Scrat all over vibrant and varied film-inspired landscapes filled with the simplest of jumping puzzles is mindless fun, interactions with other characters are where Ice Age 2's heart beats strongest. A fructose-intolerant bear launches you to otherwise inaccessible heights with his flatulence, while adolescent pigs let you ride their backs while they wallow in the muck. Sure, the humor is crude, but you'll sneak in some laughs when no one's looking.
The sporadic and rote boss battles don't ooze as much personality - sitting back and shooting rocks at eyes on stalks as they open isn't exactly epic - and none of the grunt henchman, from reptiles to rhinoceros beetles, provide any combat challenge against Scrat's surprisingly powerful kicks and frantic tail-smacks.
Though the personality of the film is soundly imprinted, the game is wholly conventional. Young players will get a kick, but mature gamers should just keep walking.