Air Penguin, a casual high-score challenge from Gamevil, is currently topping the app store charts. Bird-based casual games have been app store gold for some time now, and Air Penguin appears to be following suit.
Air Penguin Pros:
- Terrific graphics that appeal to all gamers
- Fun soundtrack
- Simple tilt-based controls
- Story mode with 100 levels and endless Survival mode
- GameCenter integration for global leaderboards and achievements
Air Penguin Cons:
- Can be difficult to judge the landing spot
- Somewhat repetitive
Air Penguin contains both a Story mode and a Survival mode. While Survival unsurprisingly tasks you with staying alive for as long as possible, Story mode contains 100 levels of increasingly more treacherous pathways to traverse. You must leap from ice floe to ice floe as you track down your family to save them from the melting polar icecaps. When you’re not making your way across floes, you’ll spend some quality time belly-sliding across the frozen tundra, avoiding seals and bottomless pits along the way. You are even able to ride on the backs of turtles and use starfish as temporary stepping stones as you attempt to avoid marlins and hungry sharks bent on a grabbing a chubby snack. Whale blowholes are also safe zones that can propel you a great distance. Each level includes 5 fish scattered about that can be collected by the bouncing bird to purchase special items that help him through the level. Fish can also be obtained through IAP, though you can fully enjoy the game without shelling out additional funds. Each level takes less than a minute to complete, but if you fall into the water, land on a crumbling floe, drop into a pit, or get snared by a enemy, you’ll need to restart. Level scores aggregate to give you a final score, and bonuses are earned for speed, accuracy, and the ability to avoid losing lives.
Graphically, Air Penguin has a very colorful, detailed, and polished look, with floes that bob in the icy water, cracked platforms, and terrific animations. Its cartoonish Retina Display graphics give it a light and whimsical feel. The soundtrack is a cheerful track that fits well in the casual atmosphere. The penguin’s movements are controlled via the accelerometer, while he constantly bounces on the ice or automatically slides forward on the slopes. The positioning of the randomly-generated floes in Survival mode will often dictate your success, as finding a path with multiple options or platforms placed closer together will make for an easier run through the game. You’ll also get to experience flying in Survival mode, as the end point of a slide allows you to flick the device to initiate a short flight. The tilt controls can also be calibrated from the pause menu to ensure that they remain easy to use. We had little difficulty, though it can take some practice and luck to land consistently where you are aiming, as you have to estimate where exactly your arc will terminate. Since levels are so short, this is never really that frustrating an issue.
Replay value is good, as the Endless mode should keep you busy long after you complete the Story mode. GameCenter integration brings global leaderboards and over 3 dozen achievements to earn. It has the same great pick-up-and-play quality as other chart toppers that should give it some lasting appeal. For $0.99, Air Penguin is a solid 4.5-Dimple offering that is deserving of its early success.
Air Penguin Review,