Sega Master System / Mark III / Game Gear
So you're a penguin called Overbite, and you've got to get your egg from the top of the ice cave to the bottom where your space ship is. (You're a Space Penguin?) Sounds easy right? Just drop the sucker off the edge and watch it go... Well actually no. It’s an egg, stupid, and if you drop it all that way it'll break. So you gotta drop it a little bit at a time. The screen is made up of blocks of ice which you have to peck away at to drop the egg down. When the ice breaks the egg drops down to the next level, but you have to watch the height. There is a guide, a little flashing line, which shows you the maximum height the egg will go before breaking. So down you go, pecking and dropping. But just to make it harder the way down is never easy. You have to be able to stand beside your egg in order to peck the ice away from under it, so you must be very careful where.you drop it.
There are a lot of ways for you to handle the egg (on toast, with bacon etc... no seriously) but you can't pick it up. The trick is that you have to roll the egg along, which makes it a bit hard for a little leathery flippered chap like you. If you find yourself on the wrong side of the egg you can jump over it. If you fall on it from above you can steer yourself to push it out of the way. But if the egg has nowhere to go, like if it's in a hole, and you tread on it, you will break it.
A more subtle obstacle is the eagle, called Cameel, which after a given period of time flies past and drops a brick on your egg, wherever it is... EEK! You have to run to your egg and catch the brick before it smashes the egg, so you have to hurry through the level. If you know your way through a level you should be able to make it to the bottom before the eagle flies overhead. One other critter which inhabits the icy caves of Penguin Land is Gangow the polar bear. He paces up and down around the ice, and if he sees you or your egg on his level, he'll punch. If he hits you, you're knocked out. If he hits you egg, he breaks it. Mean old bear, he is. So on your way through the ice, you have to hurry, and beat a path around the bears. Phew.
You're okay as long as the polar bear can't get to you. (Minty old soul!)
Erk... I seem to have put my egg in a hole where I can't shift it. Botty!
Some things help you though. There are some flashing blocks, now you see them now you don't, and they can hold your egg for a second on its way down to the ground. But you have to time it right or it's smash city. Also there are moving blocks, which shuttle gently back and forth across tricky areas, and which can carry either you or your egg across a difficult gap. Some blocks are chutes, one marked with an egg and one with a penguin, and their use is obvious. Use your peck button on the egg one and your egg will drop through, and on the penguin one and you will drop through. There are also special hidden bonus blocks, which when pecked give you a secret bonus. The only way to find those is to peck around a bit.
To make the, game even more interesting, you can create your own levels using the level editor. You can edit your own levels, but not the 50 levels on the cart. They always stay the same, no matter how hard you peck the save button.
Penguin Land is one of the classic eggs-traordinary arcade puzzle games. It has a lot in common with a similar game called Solomon's Key, in which you manipulate blocks and head towards a goal. The pace of the game is kept up by the eagle, which will always scramble you if you hesitate or take too long over a particular puzzle. The puzzles are never that hard, and usually only need a few attempts to crack them. But usually only after you've cracked all your eggs. Penguin Land is a cute and lasting game with lots for the strategist or the arcade addict.
▲ Cute graphics throughout, and a truly wicked design.
▲ Level editor allows you to build your own levels using the different blocks and hazards in the game.
▲ Good egg breaking sound and nice bouncy tunes.
▼ Tunes become a little bit too cheerful after the first five hours play. You may have to turn it down.
▲ Tricky but not totally brain-blending. One of those things that nibbles away at you rather than sends you mental.
▼ Once you've solved the game the puzzles are easy. Can get a bit routine.
▲ Lots of addictive bite to this one Er... Or should that be peck?
▲ Level editor keeps the pressure on, as you can make more levels once you've solved the 50 in the game.
Brilliantly designed cute puzzle game, which keeps you going for months. An all round good egg!
See more reviews of Penguin Land / Doki Doki Penguin Land - Uchuu Daibouken (どきどき ペンギンランド 宇宙大冒険) / Uju Daemoheom (우주 대모험)
See the main page for Penguin Land / Doki Doki Penguin Land - Uchuu Daibouken (どきどき ペンギンランド 宇宙大冒険) / Uju Daemoheom (우주 대모험)