Antarctic Penguin was one of the cutest 8-bit games I grew up with on Nintendo. Then came Spyro, Harvest Moon, and Final Fantasy 7 for PlayStation. And then I moved on to more "mature" games like the Command & Conquer Series (PlayStation and PC), Left4Dead (PC), and more recently, Dead Trigger for Android. But there's nothing quite like Antarctic Penguin. I even went as far as downloading an emulator just so I could see that round little penguin bounce to the side whenever it hit a seal or a crack in the middle of ice.
Super Penguins is a FREE game for Android and iOS that has the same ditsy appeal of Antarctic Penguin - minus the 8-bit graphics. This time, it's three-dimensional and the penguins are no longer helpless.
Your penguin colony needs fish to survive and octopi happen to feed on the same food. Since they're evil, they held your penguin friends captive and took all the fish away. Your goal is to collect as many fish as you can before perishing in their tentacles. Oh! And you get to save your penguin friends along the way too.
You get to choose from 8 characters: 5 cute penguins, a beaver, a penguin-bot, and a platypus.
Seriously. There's a platypus. And a beaver.
The blue penguin is a free character but the rest of them you have to either buy with in-game
cash fish, earn as a reward by making an
in-app purchase, or get by liking the Super Penguins Facebook Fan Page.
When you play the game for the first time, you will be taken through a tutorial on what and what not to do. The actions are so simple that even my 4-year old son picked them up after his first try. Just tilt your device left or right to collect fish and avoid obstacles, and tap the screen to jump. That's it!
Now I couldn't help but notice its similarities with Temple Run in terms of gameplay. You're going to take your penguin (or whichever character you choose) for an indefinite run across meters of frozen land to collect fish. That is, until you stumble upon a barricade which could be anything from a randomly falling icicle to the tentacle of a giant octopus. When that happens, your cute wittle penguin will drop dead on the ground and you have to start all over from zero meters. Or you can pay 4500 fish upfront to get an extra life and pick up from where you left.
|Aww. My wittle blue penguin is dead.|
The game has its own shop for purchasing permanent upgrades and temporary powerups. You can use the fish you collected or bought for purchasing stuff from the store. Upgrades and powerups will better your chances of going farther and collecting more fish. You can get as many upgrades as you want until they max out but you will be limited to one powerup for each run. During the run however, you can receive powerups by rescuing penguins-in-distress.
There are currently 6 powerups to choose from before making a run. That includes:
- No ink splats (500 fish) - Lasts throughout the run.
- Extra life (1000 fish) - Single use only. The powerup is used after your character dies so you can continue playing the game.
- Fewer icicles (600 fish) - Lasts throughout the run. Decreases the amount of icicles falling from the sky.
- Double jump (800 fish) - Lasts throughout the run. To activate, tap the screen to jump and then tap again while the character is in mid-air.
- Rocket 300m (300 fish) - Single use only. Takes you for a 300-meter rocket ride at the start of the run.
- Rocket 500m (500 fish) - Single use only. Takes you for a 500-meter rocket ride at the start of the run.
- Rocket 1000m (1000 fish) - Single use only. Takes you for a 1000-meter rocket ride at the start of the run. But you probably already knew that.
- Achievements keep track of your progress
- Locally saves your all-time high score
- Share scores to friends on Facebook and Twitter
- Take a screenshot of your score at the end of a run
Graphics and performance
For a free app, Super Penguins is quite the looker. The environment renders smoothly during gameplay and I don't see any artifacts. Its interface all throughout is user-friendly and visually appealing. It's definitely a top-notch find amidst the low-quality apps that dominate the Android market.
The game runs smoothly on my two devices including a Samsung Galaxy Tab 7 and Galaxy S2. There are no freezes, stuck-ups, force closes, and the like. My Galaxy Tab 7 couldn't even handle Temple Run without lags and it's a delight to see that it has no problems with Super Penguins.
Given its high-quality graphics, smooth performance, and simple but fun gameplay, I'm not surprised that the game has a 4.5-star rating on the Google Play Store. It's a gem in a sea of stones. The game is easy enough for youngsters and equally as motivating to keep older crowds hooked for some time.
Developer: Supersolid Ltd.