Double Chocophobia: An Ice Cream Machine Guide
To some, Adee the Chia's life might be the stuff of, well, dreams. Can you imagine being stuck in an ice cream factory? Or having seemingly no troubles, save for the need to dodge the occasional ice cream scoop or two (hundred)? You don't have to trouble yourself over the ever-present threat of a Dr. Sloth invasion or the resurgence of the Wraiths. No, you're just perfectly content to do a little jig, move out of the way of this ice cream scoop or that one, and continue doing this with your life indefinitely. And maybe, if you're lucky, a scoop grazes your glove and you gets to taste some of the ice cream that flies by. Yum.
Shockingly, though, some of us don't really like ice cream. Or at least not certain kinds. I, myself, have never been a fan of chocolate in anything -- my cakes, my fruits (looking at you, Chokato), and definitely not in my ice cream. I assume Adee is growing weary of ice cream, actually; the hapless soul spends all of her time trying to evade the ice cream scoops the factory's cones launch at her. And, sometimes, by clumsiness or just sheer bad luck, she trips, she falters, or she gets trapped, and she gets clobbered by a scoop of double chocolate ice cream. The horror! After playing for a while, you may wonder why she goes through all of this. As the ice cream flavors become more inventive and more sinister, escaping the cones may seem futile. Why does she labor like this if she's just going to lose as soon as the flavor du jour becomes peach? Well, for most people, the avatar is the game's biggest attraction. And (despite what you might think sometimes), Adee's here to help you get the avatar.
I will be honest: I have received the avatar, but I have not cleared the final level. As such, I feel it is imperative to say that this isn't necessarily the best way to play the game, but it's what got me the avatar.
I. THE PREMISE
Here's an overview of the game:
The game screen is actually very simple. The yellow Chia in the top-left corner of the screen is Adee. You control her with your mouse or trackpad. There are nine ice cream cones at the bottom of the screen that fire ice cream scoops at random intervals. Your goal is to avoid the scoops until you clear the level—you'll lose a life if you touch them. Well, not all of them: just the regular ones. But more on that later.
II. SCORING BREAKDOWN
– A normal ice scoop passing offscreen will give you 5 points. The same goes for special scoops. More on those later.
– A normal ice cream scoop with a special topping (chocolate, strawberry, or caramel) will give you double that amount, or 10 points. You can get a multiple toppings bonus if two scoops with toppings go offscreen at the same time. It's not really that meaningful, but it's a nice detail.
– A cherry scoop will give you 100 points. You have to make contact with it to get the points. You should get this if at all possible. It's the equivalent of twenty regular scoops, and you only have to touch one. Who doesn't love (basically) free points?
– A fish scoop will award 250 points. Like with the cherry scoops, you have to make contact with these to get the points. These should be even more of a priority than the cherry scoops! 250 points can be the difference between getting the avatar and not getting it more often than you'd think (I myself was stuck around 14380 for a long time), so it's essential that you pick up as many of these as possible.
– I have never seen this, but it's worth mentioning that a scoop of the Phantom Orange Shirt Guy, the game's designer, can appear, though it's very rare. It's worth 1000 points. I've never seen it before, but I'm sure it can still happen. I don't think I need to tell you to get it. It's probably worth more than an extra life in some scenarios.
It's worth noting that the cherry and fish scoops both have an interesting property: they'll reset your size. That can be good or bad, depending on the situation. But how do you get bigger or smaller? Certain special scoops will change your size! We'll get into the special scoops now. As a note, to experience any of their effects, you have to touch the ice cream scoop.
A. The scoop to avoid:
The light blue translucent scoop will make Adee larger. It should be only barely less odious to you than the solid ice cream scoops. Actually, it's not that bad, at least not in the early levels, but you do want to avoid getting these if at all possible. It makes it much more onerous to avoid an incoming barrage of ice cream, since, well, you're bigger and not quite as nimble as you once were. Luckily, there are many ways to remove this side effect, but which we'll get into soon.
B. Power-ups: the good stuff
Not all scoops will harm you. Some are actually quite nice. For instance, the ones listed here will aid you on your journey to get the ice cream machine avatar.
The purple scoop with the miniature Chia will shrink Adee. This is a very good power-up for obvious reasons: if you take up less space, it'll be easier to get out of sticky situations. Certain maneuvers become easier than they would be if you were normally sized; additionally, certain spots you won't be able to get out of without this power-up. It's worth mentioning that this power-up will stack; in other words, you continue getting smaller and smaller as you acquire more of them.
The pink scoop with a heart will give you an extra life. Always go for this. It is of nearly unparalleled importance. Unless you are going to finish a level and there's no way you'll make it out alive if you attempt to grab the extra life, get this scoop.
The gray scoop with a shield is for those who seek a little more iron in their diets. It creates a shield that protects you for several seconds. Whenever it goes from blue to red, it will protect you from two more seconds before it dissipates. This one is a bit tricky: some people will counsel against it, but others might swear by it. I am personally a huge advocate of the scoop shield, at least in later levels (after Peach or so). It is not something you should risk a life for, but you should go for it, especially if you are certain you can get it. The shield provides a few crucial seconds to reposition Adee and, should you need it, a moment to pause and compose yourself if you're nervous.
The green plus and red minus scoops are a little weird. They're the only special scoops that will never alter or reset your size and they speed up and slow down the ice cream scoops, respectively. I generally avoid them. The green one's not bad to get in earlier levels because it makes things a little less boring, but as you progress, you'll probably want to avoid them, and that's if you pay attention to them at all. Things move fast enough on their own after a certain point! Similarly, the red one gets better in later levels, but it's important to mention that using the red minus scoop means you're leaving a lot up to chance (even more than usual) -- the slower scoops are easier to maneuver around, but only when they don't trap you. They also have an even better chance of trapping you than the regular-speed ones. Again, I generally avoid them both, but on rare occasions, I'll pick up a green one in early levels or a red one in later levels if I have a shield.
The strawberry bomb clears the screen of ice cream scoops. Unless you have no other option, avoid this. If you don't see a way for the scoops to trap you, then I'd recommend steering clear of the bomb. Altogether, though, it's not the worst thing in the world; it's like starting over again. Naturally, if you have a clear path, you don't want to start over again. You lose the points you would have gotten from the other scoops and give the game more opportunities to trap you.
II: THE LEVELS
There are a variety of flavors in Ice Cream Machine, ranging from the conventional, well-known and well-loved flavors -- such as strawberry, vanilla, and chocolate -- as well as a few… eclectic flavors for a more refined palate, including Tigersquash and Rainbowberry. For those who seek a more savory option, fear not: at the end of the ice cream factory's fiendish game, there lies a bounty of garlicky bratwurst ice cream. Each flavor has a different level, which you'll see below.
1. Strawberry (25 scoops)
2. Vanilla (50 scoops)
3. Chocolate (75 scoops)
4. Mint (100 scoops)
5. Blueberry (125 scoops)
6. Vanilla Chocolate Chip (150 scoops)
7. Strawberry Vanilla Chocolate (175 scoops)
8. Peach (200 scoops)
9. Vanilla Chocolate Swirl (225 scoops)
10. Double Chocolate (250 scoops)
11. Tigersquash (275 scoops)
12. Rainbowberry (300 scoops)
13. Garlicky Bratwurst (325 scoops)
Since levels are more or less random, it's difficult to give competent advice on them. The first five levels should be a breeze. In a particularly unlucky run, you may lose a life in level 5. It's okay to keep going if you really want, but sometimes I get so annoyed that I restart immediately. The three following levels (levels 6-8) aren't really that bad, either, though you'll have to move faster if you want to stay alive. I think Vanilla Chocolate Swirl, Double Chocolate, and Tigersquash are easily the hardest levels in the game. It's very likely that you'll get trapped multiple times in at least one of those levels, and that's if you don't lose outright. If you can make it through Tigersquash, you can make it through Rainbowberry, and you usually don't need to finish Garlicky Bratwurst for the avatar; you just need to survive long enough to get the score.
III. MY APPROACH
The basic strategy I use for Ice Cream Machine is as follows: in all levels, I stay near the top of the screen. This is important because it gives me as much time as possible to react to the ice cream scoops. I also prefer to stay near the center unless I see an attractive bonus (e.g., fish scoop, extra life) -- staying close to center gives you more escape options than being near the edge of the screen. After Vanilla Chocolate Swirl, I usually drop down just a bit. I still remain in the upper third of the screen, but for the hardest levels, I just want an extra bit of wiggle room because sometimes it's hard to react to where the scoops are and you may need to move backwards a bit to dodge a nasty slew of them.
It might be useful to think of Ice Cream Machine as a puzzle game. It might seem unintuitive, but in later levels, you learn no longer to think of survival in terms of "I need to avoid this, this, and this scoop", but instead in terms of "I need to stay in the empty space", or places where there are no scoops firing. In other words, you need to consider the pattern of scoops like a maze through which you must navigate. In later levels, this may not be entirely possible in a given position, and you will have to deal with losing a life. Sorry about that! It's all part of the game, however.
For what it's worth, I also find it helpful to think of the game in terms of "lanes"—if we look back at the screen that I posted in an earlier section, there are nine ice cream cones at the bottom of the screen. You can see the ice cream scoops as lanes or columns that you should stay in. Like so:
I've drawn "lanes" in green. Each should be about the width of an ice cream cone scoop. You don't want to lose a life due to carelessness, and the best way of avoiding this is often making sure that Adee's body isn't between cones; it's surprisingly easy to get clipped. You want to make sure that you line up as closely with an ice cream cone as possible; in other words, stay in only one lane. For the entirety of the game, you want to stay in a lane that's empty, obviously; you don't want to run into an ice cream scoop! So don't position yourself like I did in that screenshot. That way, you won't have get clipped by an errant scoop, lose a life, get upset, lose three more, and lose in Vanilla Chocolate Chip. No, that's not anecdotal at all, why would you think that?
Jokes aside, survival in later levels often depends on choosing the right lane—sometimes very quickly—and sticking with it as long as necessary. Once you're done, you need to figure out where you need to move. More often than not, this will be somewhere on the screen with more empty space. One of the biggest takeaways I can give you is this: don't move if you don't need to, and once you move, make sure you know where you're moving! Usually you want to switch from one lane to another. Figure out where you need to move and be diligent in how you position yourself; you can save so many lives by paying more attention to where you are on the screen and where you need to go.
There's usually a lot of luck involved in Ice Cream Machine and, at the end of the day, you often don't have much control over whether you lose a life. And the same goes for your next life, the life after that, and so on. So, to provide at least a bit of cushion against the game's cruel vicissitudes, you should probably have at least five to six lives before attempting Double Chocolate. Most of my attempts below that mark were either ended swiftly or I made it with one life only to lose promptly in Tigersquash. Having five lives doesn't ensure anything, really, but it's a good enough buffer against luck to the point where you should make it out of Double Chocolate fairly reliably.
Speaking of Double Chocolate, the difficulty ramps up tremendously around that point. It's the point where Ice Cream Machine quickly becomes less skill-based and more luck-based. Scoops fire so frequently and so quickly that it's not really feasible to worm your way out of every tight spot that you get into, and you don't have a lot of time to react when you do get into trouble. It's not a fair level, in any case, and it can be vicious. It's worth noting, however, that it, along with the subsequent levels, gets easier with practice. The more you play it, the less intimidating the speed will be. Just stay as close to the center as you can, stay calm, and be ready. Your time to get the avatar score will come.
One last bit of advice about my approach: don't panic if you're in the corner! Obviously, it's not a desirable position, but if there are tons of scoops onscreen_ just take it slow. The game will keep going and you'll still earn points. Inch your way out of the corner once you can. If the coast is clear, though, rush out!
I feel like I'm repeating myself, but it's not easy to give thorough tips on Ice Cream Machine. Here are a few tips that will definitely help, though.
– Typing strawberryvanillachocolate grants you an extra life. It doesn't really matter when you type it in; it just matters that you type it in. You'll need it.
– Practice! I had to play this game hundreds of times before getting the avatar. Even if it seems like you're stuck on a certain level or you're never going to get past a certain score, keep playing. The game gets a lot easier as you continue playing; Double Chocolate may seem impossible when you first try, but it probably won't be the tenth time. the scoops will seem to pass by slower. Eventually, you'll find a way out of spots you thought were impossible to escape from. Everything gets a bit easier with time.
– Try not to be afraid. It's a game. Have fun with it. Don't be scared of getting hit. It's going to happen a ton. Sometimes it'll even be funny. Don't hesitate to laugh; you might be in this for the long haul. Somewhat related, don't look at your score. It's the easiest way to stop having fun and psych yourself out of a good game. Everything goes downhill immediately when you start getting excited about your score. It is the only immutable truth about this game. Just focus on what's in front of you (that isn't the score, of course).
– If at all possible, try not to run into two scoops at the same time. Occasionally, you'll lose two lives at the same time and it's the most annoying thing about the game. It can destroy runs. If you know you have no way out of a situation, make sure you hit only one ice cream scoop.
Another note! If you touch an ice cream scoop and a scoop shield at the same time, you'll lose a life, but you'll get the shield, and it'll keep going as you respawn. It'll be red when ice cream scoops start firing again. It's definitely an oddity, and it doesn't really come in handy (one would be inclined to think that picking up the shield would somehow keep you from losing your life, but no, that would make the game too simple…)
Ice Cream Machine is a fun game. It's neither the easiest game in the world nor the fairest, but it is enjoyable and borderline addictive. The music is catchy, the premise is funny, and it even has a really cute avatar. I hope I've inspired you to go out there and try for the avatar! If you need any help with anything, don't hesitate to send me a message. I'm always happy to give people game advice if they need it! Thank you for reading, and best of luck with the avatar!