What is it with this penguin obsession going on? Zombies I can understand, as they are creepy and could be your neighbour or relative being bitten. Ninjas I also get, as I once wanted to be one myself. That is a guy macho kind of thing. But now these penguins keep invading the App Store, and even the cinemas in movies both documentary in nature and comedy with Jim Carrey. I have always thought of them as kind of slimy flightless birds smelling of fish. Am I wrong? I don’t know, and I really don’t care either. Instead I allow myself to get my device invaded by yet another penguin game. There have been quite a few good penguin games over the years such as physics puzzler SOS Penguin!, the Puzzling Penguins series from Geared mastermind Bryan Mitchell and Powerslide Penguin from Chillingo. That is right, Greedy Penguins isn’t even the first penguin game from Chillingo.
So I have established that I am not that fond of penguins, and in this game they are even greedy little buggers. Or rather fat big bastards gang of penguins. And the task at hand is to feed them more fish. They are even picky, and fish are color-coded. Blue fish for blue penguin, you get the picture. If you feed the correct fish to the correct penguin it releases a piece of candy that is thrown to the current pet. The pet has but one task, and that is to provide funny animations when you poke it. You unlock new moves when you collect enough candy.
The gameplay is a combination of cut the rope timing with logical reasoning. Tapping a netted fish released it, and it moves as long as there is momentum. At times you have to give it momentum by unleashing a heavy ball hanging from a chain. At others you have to rely on getting a plank to smack it, and then place itself as a bridge. There isn’t anything really ground-breaking about the gameplay, but somehow it works in hooking me. I should hate this game, and not only those pesky penguins. For some reason I couldn’t put it down, and I got the same stupid sense of having to get three stars, quick completion times and collecting the candies. At times I managed to solve a level brilliantly just to miss a candy floating away in the air. That made me retry the level right away even though the candy only unlocks moves I don’t care for. Madness I tell you.
The controls aren’t always on top, with taps not registering properly on my iPhone 4S. Too many times I have tapped a fish, or ball just to watch the level play out except the item I just tapped never releases. Furthermore the retry button in the top left corner is often tapped by mistake, as it is kind of large and covers fish and objects.
There is a whole lot of levels in the game spread across three different settings with different pets to unlock moves for. The game is kind of hard on the player with having to get three stars on almost all levels to unlock the next level pack. This is sadly a way to get you to buy an unlock all IAP for $0.99, and that really bothered me. I really hope that players skip that option, and play the levels until they unlock new levels with blood, sweat and tears.
The presentation is cute, bright and colourful and I really enjoy the animations of the greedy penguins. At times I feed them the wrong fish to watch their angry reactions. The music on the other hand is quite atrocious giving most time management game themes a run for the money as the most obnoxious. There aren’t many sound effects, and you can’t play your own music. This is a big omission in a casual game that you pick up to play for a minute or two on the bus.
Greedy Penguins is a casual game featuring a bunch of needy fish smelling birds. The combination of clever level design forcing you to plan ahead with demand on skilled timing is brilliant. The touch controls could be more responsive, and the music leaves much to be desired. Other than that I was pleasantly surprised by Greedy Penguins.