October 22, 2020
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Publisher: FroGames    Genre: Action
Min OS X: 10.3    CPU: G4 @ 1000 MHz    RAM: 256 MB    Graphics: 32 MB VRAM

Penguins Arena
March 11, 2008 | Samuel Slesinger

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Have you ever wanted to like something? I’ll elaborate. Have you ever wanted to like something, for the sake of someone else? When your girlfriend slaved away for three hours in the kitchen to bake you a fresh batch of burnt cookies? When your parents thought that they had bought you the perfect Charizard sweater for college? Yes, I know you have. If you have even the thinnest shred of empathy in your body, then you have experienced this. And though the concept may seem foreign to the realm of computer gaming, I am The Contrarian, and Penguin’s Arena is a crispy batch of cookies.

Developed by Frogames, Penguins Arena boasts cutesy graphics, entertaining gameplay, and a heartwarming environmental message that could only be sincere in the context of its independent development. Unfortunately though, Penguins falls into a classic indie pitfall; it feels unfinished. And it truly hurts to watch such a beautifully conceived penguin float away on thin ice.

Unreal Tournament, For The Kiddies
If you’ve played a first-person shooter in the past decade, then you know the deal. Using the standard WASD set-up for movement, the spacebar to jump and the mouse to attack your opponents in 360 degrees of freedom, the mantra is simple: kill or be killed. Penguins is a textbook FPS—First-Penguin Shooter, to be precise—but you won’t feel guilty passing this title on to a younger gamer. Still, the opening cut scene— a slideshow of stylized images and accompanying text— is gravely sobering:

“The old animals talk of the time when the world went crazy…the penguins were hardest hit by global warming and pollution…the ice had melted, the fish were gone. Then, at the darkest hour, the ancient Penguin Goddess Sedna appeared before the starving masses. Gathering the survivors around her, she uttered these fateful words: ‘My penguin children, hear me well. Starvation and chaos are upon you. There is room for but one tribe. The others may perish, [lest] ye all perish.’ The penguins stood there in stunned silence. Only one tribe could remain, but which one? How would they decide? As darkness descended, the answer became apparent…”

Fortunately, the bi-products of human imperialism—i.e. knives, firearms and explosives, with one exception—have not breached the penguin world. The resulting Mario Party-like innocence allows the game to float between traditional FPS age demographics.

Following the intro scene, you can either create a new game, or join one online. To create a game, you simply select your display name, the number of teams in play (organized by color: green, blue, orange, and pink), and the difficulty for an offline match. If you create an online match, other players can join in freely.


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