Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs



Movie game features mild violence and plenty of play modes.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

The story concerns a sloth who finds, hatches, protects, and cares for a trio of dinosaurs. Some of the side quests include finding a present for a friend and a pair of rat-like mammals squabbling over ownership of an acorn. Players fight other animals, but only in defense.

Positive role models

Sid the Sloth thinks he’s a “mamma” and most of his actions revolve around trying to do what’s best for the eggs he finds and, later, the dinosaurs they become.

Ease of play

Basic platforming and racing controls with in-game tutorials. Beginners should have little problem getting the hang of things.


Players have to defend themselves against mildly aggressive wildlife in some levels. They do this by throwing snowballs and mudballs, tossing and shooting fruit, and whacking them with their hands (Sid spins around with his arms extended and can throw punches). The violence feels relatively mild; defeated enemies make little squeaking sounds and typically disappear in a puff of smoke or a burst of colorful leaves.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this game is based on the movie of the same name and is clearly targeted at children who watch the film or who are fans of the Ice Age franchise. Unfortunately there is a disconnect between the movie's target age of 6 and the ESRB's rating that this game is appropriate for ages 10+. Parents trying to decide whether this game is good for their young kids should know that the game has mild cartoon violence about on par with what occurs inside a Mario platformer.  Our animal avatars defend themselves from the cute but moderately aggressive wildlife they encounter by throwing snowballs and mudballs, tossing fruit, and hitting them with spin attacks and punches. Defeated enemies simply squeak, teeter, fall down, and disappear in a puff of smoke or a burst of colorful leaves.

What's it about?

ICE AGE: DAWN OF THE DINOSAURS lets players take control of many of the characters from the film upon which it is based. As Sid, the sloth, players leap from platform to platform, collect a variety of fruits and crystals, and defend themselves from attacking wildlife. A mission as Manny, the woolly mammoth, has players ripping up tree trunks with his tusks. As Diego, the saber-toothed tiger, players get to chase a gazelle in a timed race, and as the loveable muskrat Scratte, you run from left to right in a brief 2-D platform adventure, while collecting cherries and avoiding other animals. Outside the main story mode, players take on a smorgasbord of challenges and can engage in multiplayer party games that use mechanics practiced in the story mode, such as Sid running atop a giant snowball and using it to push other characters off an iceberg.

Is it any good?


The latest Ice Age game is a fun little counterpart to the new film. With objectives, mechanics, and characters changing every other level, players are unlikely to grow bored quickly. And while this diversity means many levels require a quick explanation of controls and objectives, play is always rudimentary enough that it never takes more than a minute or two to get the hang of things. Plus, there are loads of unlockables earned by collecting and spending cherries, the game’s currency. In addition to several multiplayer mini-games and challenges, players can also purchase movies, art, music, and character voice-overs.

The only downside? Difficulty is occasionally imbalanced. Some kids will find themselves skating through a platform level with little trouble before getting stuck in an area that requires an incongruously high level of hand/eye coordination. Other than this one small beef, Dawn of the Dinosaurs delivers good gaming value -- especially for a game based on a movie license.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about what it means to be a “mamma,” which is how Sid, the sloth, refers to himself throughout the game. Moving beyond the fact that the word is inherently feminine, what are some of the traits mothers have? Can men have these qualities as well? Are there differences between moms and dads that go beyond gender? Does Sid make a good “mamma?”

Game details

Platforms:Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Nintendo Wii, Nintendo DS, Windows, PlayStation 2, Nintendo DSi
Price:$19.99 - $49.99
Available online?Not available online
Release date:June 30, 2009
ESRB rating:E10+ for Cartoon Violence (Nintendo DS, Nintendo DSi, Nintendo Wii, PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, Windows, Xbox 360)

This review of Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs was written by

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Adult Written byIce Age 3 April 9, 2010
Adult Written bykeeyanoosh March 7, 2012

ice age 3 DAWN OF THE DINOSAURS the game

ice age is a cool game it is good for 11 years and up. you have to let your kids 11 years to play this game it is so awesome
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Safety and privacy concerns
Written byAnonymous March 23, 2011

A decent game but a dissapointment overall.

This game was based off of the Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs movie. I played the wii game based on the second movie in the series, and was very impressed. When I played THIS game (wii version), I was a bit disappointed. The game involves your characters trying to rescue your friend Sid from an enemy dinosaur from an underground world, almost like a Journey to the Center of the Earth sorta thing. For a few levels at the start you play as Sid, then you switch to the weasel named Buck, who looks underground for the dinosaur and trying to get Sid. The visuals are decent and look about par for the wii. The controls work fine. The only problem I had was the motion controls at times, and I'll get into that a bit later. You get a regular attack (hitting enemies), several types of projectile attacks, and you can jump on enemies. That's easy enough, and it works for the most part. The whole feel of the game changes after you switch from Sid to Buck and go underground. The graphics look different, the game is darker, and it seems less inviting and fun, and it kinda is. Its just less playful. The camera is horrendous and sometimes made me feel nautious. The platforming in this game is BEYOND AWFUL. They make you do so many jumps that are virtually impossible. Most of the jumps were OK, but when they started having us press A twice to double jump, then to thrust the remote up to grab a rope suspended from mid-air, then jumping off of that, I got REALLY annoyed. The motion controls usually work, but when you only have a split second to do it like you do during a lot of your jumps, they SUCK. And you WILL die a lot in this game due to the controls. Now there is a multiplayer option in this game. Its fun the first time, but then you will never come back to it. In the end this game is OK. Let me tell you right now, dont buy this game. You will regret it, because its simply not worth it. Aside from the camera, controls, and poor multiplayer, the game is also overpriced. But this game may be worth renting for an Ice Age fan-kid.
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