Nintendo

The Penguins of Madagascar (Wii U)

penguinswiiu1

These penguins don’t deserve their Cheesy Dibbles. Give the orange-dusted snack treats to the Happy Feet crew instead.

Australian studio Torus Games, sometimes dependable with licensed properties (even great in their Game Boy Advance days) slip up here, striking the Dreamworks’ Madagascar spin-off property with an unstable, chunky stealth fiasco.

Stealth makes sense – the silver screen Penguins exist to riff on spy genre conventions – but this video game adaptation is no Metal Gear. The fowl foursome flap and strain, spitefully responding to any basic command. Irregular puzzles strand them in incomprehensibly laid out stages. How flippers allow penguins to shimmy across ledges is unclear, if probably overthinking things.

Rather than heroes, these Madagascar send-offs tumble around like a rejected cross-over of Interplay’s The Lost Vikings, if such a 16-bit reference is not too dated. But it probably is. Lost Vikings had personality anyway. Penguins of Madagascar isn’t even afforded a voice acting crew.

No wonder licensed games turned to the profit-siphoning avenues of mobile’s free-to-play market. Free and Penguins of Madagascar would be the only fair paring.

1/5

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