Reunite a family through the awesome power of tilt in Air Penguin
As of late it seems that birds have been in the forefront of the mobile market, with Angry Birds and Tiny Wings soaring high above the competition. The question now is whether their waterlogged cousins will meet with similar success. Air Penguin definitely makes me think so.
Air Penguin has everything necessary in a commercial hit: a too-cute-to-be-true hero, a family ravaged by disaster, adorable enemies, and painfully addictive gameplay. As the titular penguin, your goal is simple. You’ve been separated from your family thanks to the global warming, and even now, your imperious other half and feathered children are drifting further away on their respective ice floes. What’s a penguin to do? Rescue them, of course.
In order to do so you’ll have to traverse the ocean by jumping from one chunk of ice to another. Occasionally, there’ll be a convenient turtle that seems amenable to your machinations but, for the most part, it’s you against your reflexes. Of course, there are also enemies to factor in. From sharks that will quite predictably gobble you whole to swordfish that will knock you from your trajectory, Air Penguin features a fairly hefty collection of obstacles to worry about.
Fortunately, the controls are easy enough to pick up and highly intuitive. Of course, they’re somewhat harder to master. Air Penguin relies entirely on the tilt function of the iPhone; your character will bounce in the direction your phone is inclined towards. While it sounds straightforward, it can be a study of frustration when you find yourself attempting to land, with pinpoint accuracy, on a tiny ice island while avoiding a hungry triplet of sharks. Granted, it’s nothing a little bit of practice can’t cure.
Air Penguin is divided into two modes: story and survival, both of which are as simple as they sound. Survival mode is exactly what you might have thought it to be, an endless parade of ice floes and challenges. Once you fall into the water, that’s pretty much it. Story mode, on the other hand, works on similar principles, except you have objectives to complete and power-ups. As you progress through each stage you’ll encounter goldfish crackers during your journey. These serve as currency, allowing you to purchase certain power-ups that can either save you from one unfortunate tumble into the water or stun the sharks on the level.
In retrospect, that’s probably the one aspect of the game that gets to me. For reasons unknown, our little hero here can’t swim to save his life. How does that work? He’s a penguin, for heaven’s sake! That one minor and utterly irrelevant quibble aside, I’m completely in love with Air Penguin. The presentation is absolutely gorgeous, the visuals filled with a million sumptuous little details. The animation is also almost on-par with your generic Disney flick.
Deeply addictive, wonderfully presented and filled with non-violent goodness, it’s almost a crime to not get Air Penguin. I’d say more but the only thing that is crossing my mind in regards to my opinion of the game is the word ‘Perfect’.