We do not watch the cartoon in our house, but after playing this game maybe we should–these penguins are funny! THQ has teamed up with Nickelodeon to produce The Penguins of Madagascar (Dreamworks) for the Nintendo DS. Not having known a lot about these penguins, me and my older boy went into the game learning as we went. We both had a blast finding out that this team of Skipper, Kowalski, Rico, and Private are really humorous, and as a parent I was happy that these friends (and their game) teach a bit about teamwork. Private is my favorite penguin based on the game itself; I will have to check them out on the cartoon to see if that still holds true.
The game starts you off slow, teaching you how to play, which is always a bonus– we would rather dive right into the game and learn as we go rather than run a tutorial. Too many games these days just drop you in without any training, but these Commando Penguins give you some on-the-job training. Each level needs you to use the special abilities of each penguin, which makes it feel like a real group. They can super jump (double jump), create items (bridges) and hacking, climb and crawl through tight spaces, and make things go boom. The penguin stack is great, as well. Your children can learn about teamwork while at the same time developing puzzle-solving skills.
The game itself is broken up into different episodes which have enough levels in each one to keep you and your child busy for a while. Each episode has a background story to keep you focused and allows for you to see progression. Outside of the epsiodes, your penguins are in their lair. In the lair you have the ability to use your snow cones to purchase mini games as well as other things from Julien’s Store. I was impressed with the mini games (especially the bounce house one), as well, and playing them allowed you to win even more snow cones. A little diversion if you want to take a break from the 3 episodes (stories) or bonus levels.
I thought the graphics and audio were top notch, with the penguins really coming to life on the DS. It always ups the immersion factor when they make a point to get the best graphics and audio out of a device. I also felt the controls were nice and tight with the mix of touch screen and d-pad that worked well.
At the end of the day The Penguins of Madagascar video game is a puzzle game, but a darn fun puzzle game with a lot of humor and charisma thrown in there with the penguin characters. A puzzle game that helps facilitate teamwork with characters that your children may already know and can relate to even if they don’t, so this game becomes one that you should add to your children’s collection. It is nice to see licensed characters in a game that holds up so well in the gameplay department. Sadly, we were not able to sample the additional DSi features, but the basic game is two thumbs up regardless. My first introduction to the Penguins of Madagascar has been a blast. Not only that, but the game also is rated E and succeeds without violence (okay, Rico does have to blow up objects from time to time) and might even be fun for you the parent to play for a while.
Based on the wildly popular and Emmy Award Winning TV series from Nickelodeon and DreamWorks Animation, The Penguins of Madagascar™ brings the unsung heroes of the zoo, Skipper, Kowalski, Rico and Private to the Nintendo DS™ and Nintendo DSi™ this fall. The loveable and hilarious penguins are tasked with all-new madcap missions and must use teamwork and their zany acrobatic abilities to solve puzzles, build contraptions, unlock paths, avoid super silly obstacles to advance through the game and ultimately save the day.
Play as “Team Penguin” or use each Penguin one-by-one to save the day!
Complete tons of stealth missions venturing through 3 outlandish game episodes, each with their own story.
Help the Penguins to use useful tools and gadgets to advance in the game.
Team up and use each Penguin’s unique abilities and personalities to maintain order in the zoo.
KING JULIEN’S STORE
Collect Snow Cones and other items to purchase bonus levels and fun mini-games.
COMMANDO VOICE TALENT
Video game voiced by entire cast from TV series! Tom McGrath (Skipper), Jeff Bennett (Kowalski), John Di Maggio (Rico), James Stuart Patrick (Private), Danny Jacobs (King Julien), Kevin Michael Richardson (Maurice), Andy Richter (Mort), Conrad Vernon (Mason & Phil), and Nicole Sullivan (Marlene).
NINTENDO DSi™ FEATURES
Tons of Photo Fun! Hear hilarious King Julien critique your photo or snap a picture into a puzzle & use your stylus to put it back together!