March of the Penguins Review
You wouldn’t think that a documentary would make a good license for a game, but March of the Penguins takes the right approach by turning the film into a puzzle game with some educational factoids on penguins thrown in for good measure. Unfortunately this potentially good idea was not executed well and the game will ultimately leave gamers out in the cold.
March of the Penguins waddles between two main types of puzzles. One is a Lemmings-style challenge in which you must place objects on the screen to help guide ever-marching penguins from one end of the level to the other. The other is basically one form of maze or another. The inclusion of only two basic puzzle styles is not bad in and of itself, but the fact that there are only six of each is surprising. Of these twelve puzzles, the six maze puzzles are ridiculously easy while the six Lemmings puzzles are frustrating for a variety of reasons.
The Lemmings puzzles are played on the touch screen and there are a number of special objects such as spiral slides, staircases, and tents to bounce on lined up across the bottom of the screen. To use the objects you drag them with the stylus onto the screen and then when the ever-marching penguins encounter the object, they’ll slide, climb, or bounce on it as appropriate. The goal is to get all of the penguins from one side of the level to the other while picking up the large snowflakes scattered about the level. Unlike Lemmings, there’s no dying in March of the Penguins and penguins that fall off ledges or into holes simply reappear at the beginning of the level again. The biggest problem with these puzzles is that using the objects is pretty frustrating. The game seems to have predetermined exactly where each object should be placed and this makes the puzzles feel constrained and arbitrary. Why do penguins need to bounce off a tent to reach a ledge in one case but use the stairs in another? Pick the wrong object and you get the circle with a line through it. It seems that you can even get this with the right object if you don’t quite place it in the right place.
It’s hard to recommend this game to anyone, even fans of the movie. You get six easy puzzles and six frustrating puzzles for your money, with no incentive to play through the game a second time. You’re better off simply watching the movie again to get your penguin fix.
In The End, This Game Hath Been Rated: 40%. March away from this game.