1 Penguin 100 Cases is one of those frustrating hidden object games that just doesn’t live up to its full potential. A cute coming of age story about a young penguin named Pengoo who gets separated from his flock and must find his way home, it boasts lengthy gameplay, unique cartoonish graphics and plenty of creative puzzles and scenarios – as well as an unhealthy number of flaws.
The story of Pengoo’s journey literally starts from the very beginning as one of the first things you’ll help him do is break out of his comfy egg — by finding a list of hidden objects, naturally! But Pengoo barely has time to start learning about the world around him before he’s accidentally trapped in a fishing net and taken far away from his Arctic home, which he spends the rest of the game trying to find a way back to.
Gameplay involves searching a variety of cluttered scenes for the items on a list. There are several variations on this, including finding specific sets of items (like bones, egg shells and crumpled bits of paper), finding items based on their silhouette, placing items back into a scene, and using one item on another – such as using a cloth to wipe doodles off a chalkboard. Hints are unlimited, and recharge after a short time.
The game is chock full of mini-games too, from old standbys like jigsaw puzzles and cat’s cradles to arcade-style games that involve gulping down fish while avoiding sharks. Mini-games can be skipped after a couple of minutes.
1 Penguin 100 Cases‘ hand-drawn, cartoonish graphics are one of the things that helps set it apart from other hidden object games that simply rely on repetitive clip-art and predictable backgrounds. You’ll face a creative, fun and diverse set of challenges on a quest that is much longer than an average hidden object game.
Unfortunately, while the game does have its share of bright spots, there’s a lot about it that just seems careless and bizarre. For example, clicking on certain items moves them out of the way to reveal items hidden behind them, but there’s no rhyme or reason to which objects can and should be moved. You’ll find yourself clicking all over the place at random searching for these elusive moving objects.
The voice acting in the game is extremely irritating, from the grating narrator to the mangled "Asian" accent of Pengoo’s schoolteacher. The instructions are condescending, inexplicably peppered with smileys and encouragements like "It looks cool and worth trying!" Some items are simply too vaguely labelled, like when you’re asked to find a purple flower even though there are at least three different ones in the scene.
The game seems obviously geared towards children, but if I were a parent I’d think twice about letting my kids play something that hasn’t been localized properly into English, lest they think "sceleton" is a real word, "Hole in da bed" is an acceptable phrase, and "yellow flee" is the proper term for a small yellow insect. The poor English occasionally pops up elsewhere as well, such as in instructions like "Some minigames has skip button. It is activated after 2.5 min of play."
1 Penguin 100 Cases certainly stands out a bit from typical hidden object stories with its premise and unique look (and length), but localization issues and lack of polish are its Achilles heel.