Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Flash Fun: Penguin Overlords (6.5 / 10)

penguin overlords

Finally! A game devoted to the long fought battle between ... wait, penguins and turtles? I'm just as confused as you probably are because penguins and turtles have never really had a werewolf and vampire-like rivalry. For me, playing became a little heartbreaking, watching my lovable penguins turn into man turtle eating beasts! But, I guess even they have to do whatever it takes to survive!

As you can see in the title, and as you'll see later in the post, I've changed up my review style for "flash fun". The old style didn't work well because it didn't take into account the important of certain aspects over others and became mostly about personal bias. And though a review is nothing without personal opinion, I think technical aspects are just as important.

penguin overlords

Like any good mindless flash game the story doesn't have much of a story, all we know is that our penguin friends have resorted to eating turtles for food, and if they don't get enough food they'll explode ... yup, explode. The simple set-up works perfectly in introducing the gameplay and the tutorial will get you right into the action.

The first 15 levels or so are great fun, especially once you get a few abilities at your disposal such as speed boosts and bombs, but as you begin to dive into the later levels the gameplay becomes repetitive, and frankly a little boring. You'll find yourself using the same strategies over and over without much change.

penguin overlords
The upgrades fulfill my dream of being able to play as a zombie penguin.

Upgrades have become a staple of almost every series these days and they seem to be split between being linear and non-linear. I personally prefer non-linear because it allows for more customization towards your personal strategy. Linear upgrades become predictable and boring, and that's a flaw of Penguin Overlords.

What ends up happening, like most linear upgrade systems, is that you buy what you can afford and because of the level design/difficulty in relation to profit gain there won't be much difference between upgrades no matter how many new games you start. Basically, as I said, limiting you to a single strategy of just mindlessly using whatever abilities you can afford and trudging on through the levels.

penguin overlords
The game quickly ramps up the difficulty, but does nothing about the repetitive gameplay.

My biggest gripe with the game is the penguin AI. Stage obstacles (ice, bushes, etc) become your biggest enemy of the game (even more so than the turtles) because the penguins constantly get stuck on them and end up dying because of the lack of food. What's worse is that you can't even destroy the obstacles! That seems like lazy design to me. Another small complaint would be the money gathering system. As turtles are eaten money is dropped and you can collect it with your mouse, however the radius for collecting is so small that it becomes a chore. Since money disappears after a short period of time and tons of it will pop up later in the game there should have been an upgrade to increase the radius.

Penguin Overlords manages to somewhat overcome it's flaws with initially addicting gameplay, an outstanding soundtrack (of one song), and it's overall player friendliness and easy-to-use style. However even if the minor flaws were fixed it couldn't help the repetitive gameplay and frustrating AI. But, that's why we have sequels! (*hoping for a sequel*)

The Good
    Lengthy gameplay, great artistic style, outstanding BGM, diverse enemy units, easy-to-use HUD system, and penguins.
The Meh
    Linear customization, BGM does become a little repetitive after a while because there is only one song.
The Bad
    Occasionally dumb AI makes the game frustrating, annoying money collecting system with no upgradeable magnet, gameplay becomes repetitive, no replay value at all.

Overall - 6.5 (Above-Average)

penguin overlords
So epic that I don't care about the failure.


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