When Chillingo releases a game I get a little tingle of excitement. After all they’ve been behind some of the most popular iPhone games released (i.e. Angry Birds, Cut the Rope, etc). The question is does Powerslide Penguin deliver the same quality and addictive gameplay we’ve come to expect from Chillingo?
Powerslide Penguin features some cute Arctic animals for your viewing pleasure. Polar Bears, Penguins, Snowmen, and Vacuum Dogs…okay that last one is lost on me too, but they’re in there. Unfortunately, the graphics are a bit lacking. I’m reviewing the iPad version of the game and have found the quality of the graphics to be well below what I would have expected. They are not as crisp as most modern game releases and lack any flare. For the most part all of the levels consist of a majority of snow and ice. This does not make very eye-catching scenery. Here and there you’ll find a few splashes of color to break up the dreary backdrop, but not enough to balance out the palette. As far as unfriendly imagery, parents need not be too concerned. There are some very mild instances of cartoon violence such as explosions which send our hero rocketing into the air. Also present are some mild insults displayed by the villains in the game.
The audio in Powerslide Penguin is fairly good. The sound effects are amusing and used well during gameplay. I did not detect any offensive sounds during the game. The music has a tense feel to it and helps to build suspense during the levels. Sadly there is very little variety in the music as you play. Eventually the music seems to drone on and on becoming repetitive and annoying.
As with most Chillingo titles Powerslide Penguin offers a lot of bang for your literal buck. The game will set you back 99 cents in the app store and offers 79 levels for you to play through. Players can replay each level whenever they wish in an attempt to better their score. Players can collect coins and complete levels in fewer moves to gain extra points their next time around. The game also offers several achievements to unlock as you play by meeting certain goals.
The gameplay of Powerslide Penguin is easy enough to understand and players will catch onto it quickly. Your goal is to direct Penn Gwynn to the “gem” located in each level. This is accomplished by using your finger to pull back your power meter and adjust the angle and strength of each slide. Once you’ve lined up your shot you let go and Penn slides across the board toward his destination. Along the way you’ll encounter various obstacles that make this simple goal much more difficult. Pinball bumpers, cracking ice, and exploding enemies are some of the hurdles you’ll need to overcome to collect your reward. You’ll also be battling the clock and trying to complete each level in a predetermined number of moves. The problem with all of this is that the controls are quite cumbersome and serve to make the gameplay quite frustrating at times. It is very easy to misfire your penguin due to the awkward position you sometimes need to put your hand in to get the correct angle. Many times my finger slipped off the edge of the screen just enough to send my penguin screaming across the screen in the wrong direction.
The gameplay becomes very monotonous after several levels of play. This is due mainly to the fact that there is little variation in the levels. You’ll have a different set of obstacles to avoid each time, but the levels have no major changes as you progress through the game. What’s worse is that the game difficulty is severely unbalanced making some levels extremely easy to complete and others frustratingly difficult. This became particularly evident in the later levels with some taking a single attempt to complete and others taking a dozen or more attempts to get through. These things coupled with a goofy storyline make the gameplay disappointing and unappealing.
As for family friendliness,
Powerslide Penguin is a safe bet. There are no offensive sounds or
images other than the extremely mild cartoon violence mentioned earlier.
The game is safe for all ages but will prove too difficult for younger
children, not to mention impatient adults. I applaud Chillingo for
releasing a game free from offensive materials, but I admit that I’m
disappointed in the overall quality of the gameplay. I can safely say
that after completing all 79 levels of this game that I have no desire
to play it again.
Family Friendly Factor: 74%
ESRB Rating: '4+' for 4+
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