With the success of Angry Birds, Tiny Wings, Cut the Rope, and now Air Penguin, it’s becoming clear that if you want to make a best-selling game, you should probably center it around a cute, cartoonish creature. Preferably a bird.
In Air Penguin you play as a flightless bird on an important quest to reach the flag at the end of each level. Your penguin must’ve stepped in some flubber, because he bounces automatically, and you use tilt controls to guide the him from one circular ice floe to another. Falling in the water or getting gobbled up by an enemy means you have to restart the level. Along the way you can pick up scattered collectibles that look like Goldfish crackers, which can be spent on extra lives or power-ups.
The short, brutal life of a penguin.
In addition to bouncing from one island of ice to the next, you have to avoid cracked ice floes, ride on friendly turtles, and bounce on bobbing starfish. You’ll encounter enemy sea creatures as well, like sharks, swordfish, and ink-shooting squids.
The campaign mode has 100 levels that will keep you busy for quite a while, but there’s also an endless survival mode that packs in a good deal of replay value. Game Center handles the leaderboards and achievements.
Hitting the slopes.
Our biggest complaint is that the tilt controls aren’t quite as tight as we’d like them to be in a game that requires this much precision. Often you’ll have to fling yourself over a long distance, and it can be hard to predict where exactly your penguin will land. On the other hand, developer Gamevil did a good job of making the game challenging, but never pushing it too far so it feels overly frustrating or unfair.
We’re always glad to see casual games with this level of polish on the App Store pop up and add some variety to the top-selling list. The fun factor in Air Penguin isn’t quite up to the level of Fruit Ninja or Cut the Rope, but it’s still a fine way to pass the time whenever you find yourself with a few minutes to spare.