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Ice Scream: Horror Neighborhood

App review by
Paul Semel, Common Sense Media
Ice Scream: Horror Neighborhood App Poster Image
Awkward controls ruin a teen-focused fright fest.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this app.

Ease of Play

The game's touch controls are awkward and don't work well. The game has four different difficulty levels, but is still really tough on the "normal" setting.

Violence

The game has a lot of scary imagery, including jump scares when the ice cream man catches you. This also prompts screams of terror from your character, who is a young child.

Sex
Language

The word "bastard " is heard in the dialog.

Consumerism

The game runs ads when you get caught by the ice cream man and before you start a game. It also, if you play on the easiest skill level, runs ads while you play. An ad-free option is available for $1.99.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Ice Scream: Horror Neighborhood is a scary adventure game for iOS and Android devices. The game has a lot of freaky imagery and atmosphere, as well as jump scares when you get caught. In addition, the sound of a child screaming plays when he's captured. The word "bastard" is heard frequently in the dialog. The game runs a lot of ads, including when you get caught, when you start a new game, and, if you play on the easiest difficulty setting, while you're playing. An ad-free version is available for $1.99. Read the developer's privacy policy for details on how your (or your kids') information is collected, used, and shared, and any choices you may have in the matter, and note that privacy policies and terms of service frequently change.

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What's it about?

In ICE SCREAM: HORROR NEIGHBORHOOD (a.k.a. Ice Scream: Horror Adventure on iOS), you watch in horror when the ice cream man attacks a kid and pulls them into his truck. But rather than do the responsible thing and call the cops, or even your parents, you decide to pull a move from Stranger Things and rescue the kid yourself. Played from the first-person perspective, but with relatively simple touch controls, you have to explore the world, and figure out how to solve some situational problems. Just be sure to be sneaky because if the ice cream man sees you...

Is it any good?

As much as you may enjoy a good scare, the most frightening thing about this scary stealth game is its prohibitively awkward controls. In Ice Scream: Horror Neighborhood — or, as it's known on iPhones and iPad, Ice Scream: Horror Adventure — you're a kid who's excited to see the ice cream truck... until you witness the ice cream man grab one of your school chums. Played from the first-person perspective, you have to rescue the kid by exploring the world and solving problems, all while doing your best to not be seen by the ice cream man.

While this take on a precious childhood memory could add to the fright factor here, this isn't nearly as scary, or engaging, as it could've been. For starters, the controls don't work as well as they should for a game in which you have to run away from a child predator. Not only does it not let you interact with objects unless you're positioned just right, but the movement controls are really clunky. It also doesn't help that the ice cream man has better situational awareness than he should for a man wearing a large, unwieldy mask (or is that his head?). And yet he sometimes can’t find you even when he sees you you duck into a hiding spot. All of which is why Ice Scream: Horror Neighborhood isn't even as scary as getting brain freeze from a milk shake.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how to behave in a crisis. In this game, you witness a kid being kidnapped and in your attempt to rescue them, you put yourself in danger, but what should you have done instead? Called the police? Find an adult?

  • Families can talk about advertising. This game runs a lot of ads. Does this make the game less fun? Then why do you think they do it?

App details

  • Devices: iPhone, iPad, Android
  • Price: free with ads
  • Pricing structure: Free
  • Release date: December 1, 2019
  • Category: Adventure Games
  • Size: 327.20 MB
  • Publisher: Keplerians Horror Games
  • Version: 1.1.0
  • Minimum software requirements: Requires iOS 9.0 or later; Android 4.1 and up
  • Last updated: December 02, 2019

For kids who love scares

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