When a good puzzle game hits the shelves, it can sell by the bucket-load – look at the success of Lemmings for example. However, there are many others that just fall by the way-side, due mainly to lack of originality.
The next in the line of Amiga puzzlers is Penguins – a brave effort from a chap called Scott Hayne who is dealing with the whole release by himself, from the development to the publishing. Although a commercial release, he is selling the game at a snip of a price at £6.99, so to judge Penguins fairly, this should be kept in mind.
The concept behind it is that you play a fox or something which looks rather similar, and your mission is to guide some bewildered penguins safely through the levels. (Why is a fox’s job is anyone’s guess. What do you want for £7 – realism?). You have various obstacles to overcome, from conveyor belts to flame jets, and you will need to negotiate platforms to get each penguin from one door to the exit.
This is a good effort which is a bargain for the price. It's rather hard though, so will keep you occupied for ages - providing you don't tear your hair out first
But the penguins are not completely helpless. The one in blue can collect keys whilst the other one can club any baddies that stand in the way. However, this means you’ll also have to think about which penguin you want to move out first.
A map function makes life easier and allows you to stay stationary, and scroll around the level whilst you plan your next move – and if you find yourself in a no-win situation your only option will be to press escape. Fortunately, a code is presented after each level because if you didn’t save I’m convinced you’d be there for decades.
Both the graphics and sound work adequately for the type of game it is – you don’t need fancy effects for a puzzler to work. The backgrounds are quite detailed, though, and it’s nice to see these change every so often. The sprites also look quite nice, although I think they may have benefited from being a little larger.