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Daily iPhone App: Icebreaker: A Viking Voyage is a tasty cold cut from Rovio Stars

Icebreaker: A Viking Voyage is the very first title from the Rovio Stars program, a publishing initiative from the makers of Angry Birds. The company has a whole lot of infrastructure and expertise, but not a lot of good new ideas flowing, so it's decided to publish other developers' titles, and if Icebreaker is any indication, they're going to make some good choices. Icebreaker is a really excellent puzzle game that has clearly been polished to a Rovio-level shine, and it's a perfect start for the publisher partnerships.

Just like Angry Birds, Icebreaker is a casual, physics-based puzzle game, where you can cut various items in the environment by dragging your finger across them. Cut the Rope obviously used the idea of cutting in this way previously, but Icebreaker adds the ability to cut ice chunks, which then slide over each other in physics-based ways. Each level has a number of Vikings that you need to get sliding aboard a ship, and then your little hero on the ship can break up the ice (as long as it's cut small enough), free the Vikings and set sail in triumph.

Icebreaker's super cute -- the little Vikings have some hilarious chatter, and sliding them around in the physics engine is tons of fun. The puzzles are clever, too: A few levels in, you'll be using the ice to create bridges, and going after optional coins to collect and treasure chests that also slide around.

Despite being US$0.99 to download (or $2.99 for an HD version on the iPad), the game does have ads included in the pause screen, and there are powerups you can purchase via IAP, so Rovio isn't letting any opportunity to make money pass them by. Still, the game is great, and this is likely the start of a whole new industry for a company that's so far been propelled by what's essentially just one property. If all of the Rovio Stars title are of this quality, we'll look forward to playing all of them.

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