Air Penguin is just the latest App Store game to implement some sort of flying, bird creature; the latest game to hit the #1 paid App Store spot after the hits of both Angry Birds and Tiny Wings. While at the time of this writing it has been dethroned—thanks to EA’s $0.99 sale on NBA Jam—there’s really no doubt in my mind that this deserves the #1 spot.
Air Penguin is in one word, fun. There’s nothing too complicated about it, and like most casual games on the App Store, Air Penguin is extremely easy to learn but quite difficult to master. Upon opening the app, you’ll be greeted with a simple tutorial: tilt left to move left, tilt right to move right, etc.
The point of the game is to reach the endpoint without falling into the water, precisely controlling the bird to collect little fishies along the way.
Packed with some cute, fun-loving artwork, Air Penguin is quite a winner in my eyes.
Artwork: Like I mentioned before, the artwork is quite appealing. The universal, cartoon look of games in the App Store these days does get quite annoying, but hey, Gamevil usually does a great job in their presentation.
Gameplay: This has the “it” factor, especially for me, as I haven’t been hooked on a game since beating Puzzle Quest 2. This game just has that fun factor—maybe caused by the “easy to jump into” factor, I don’t know—and I’ve been playing this for over an hour at a time. The story mode and survival mode are equally enjoyable, and I don’t see this getting boring anytime soon.
GameCenter: 40 GameCenter achievements is nothing to scoff at, especially when earning most of these achievements is not too difficult. It adds a lot of replay value to an already replay-heavy game, and for those that love collecting achievements, Air Penguin is a great game to look into.
Collecting fish: I guess the whole point of the game is to figure out ways to try and collect the fish, and I totally understand why they made it the way they did. But still, collecting all the fish within any given level—yes, even the beginning levels—is a bit more difficult than I would like. It should be easy, especially for beginners such as myself. While this is by far not a huge deal at all, it’s always comfortable to collect all the fish instead of only two or three.
Controls: The controls feel a little off, with the tilt controls a bit too sensitive.
Some customizable interface would be nice, although the current setting shouldn’t bother too much. The high tilt sensitivity is noticeable, but nothing to get up in arms about.
Air Penguin is a fantastic casual game and one that will not disappoint. As seen by it’s success, it’s quite literally the next Angry Birds. It has gotten me hooked and playing for hours at a time—a feat that not many games can boast of—and quite honestly, I think this game is the best “bird” game out of the Big Three.
Update: Seems like Air Penguin does in fact have a customizable sensitivity option. While accessing the sensitivity controls isn’t exactly convenient, it gets the job done. I’ve updated the review accordingly, and of course, the review score has remained the same.