Game Info:

Penguins of Madagascar
Developed by: Torus
Published by: Little Orbit
Release Date: November 25, 2014
Available on: 3DS, Wii, Wii U
Genre: Platformer
Number of Players: Single-player
ESRB Rating: Everyone
Price: $30, $40 for Wii U version
(Amazon Affiliate Link)

Thank you Little Orbit for sending us this game to review!

Dreamworks recently released The Penguins of Madagascar movie and what better way to follow it up than with a videogame featuring the lovable yet flightless stars. The four penguins Kowalski, Private, Rico, and Skipper have unique abilities that will come in handy on numerous occasions.  While they can all jump and climb in this 2D platformer game, it's going to take more than that to stop the evil octopus Dave's plan.  

Penguins of Madagascar begins on Tiki island where it's Private's 10th birthday.  If he completes the obstacle course he'll get rewarded with a bag of Cheezy Dibbles, the penguins' favorite treat.  The penguins get wind of a factory that has vending machines stuffed with Cheezy Dibbles, and they must investigate these rumors.  Not only are the rumors true, these vending machines have penguins trapped inside.  The penguins must work together and get to the bottom of this!

Penguins of Madagascar

Strong Points: Espionage platformer game 
Weak Points: Broken checkpoint system, no voice acting, bland visuals
Moral Warnings: Cartoon violence

Gathering evidence will not be easy as there are many obstacles, cameras, and octopi in the way. The octopi guards are not very smart and their patterns are typically easy to figure out in order to stay out of their line of sight.   If an octopus gets in your way, Private's ability to slap and  stun them can buy you enough time to escape.  Cameras are trickier, but Skipper's ability to disguise himself as a plant will fool them every time.   

Some skills require completing  a mini game to use them.  For Rico to lay down some TNT you have to successfully complete a five move Simon challenge.  Rico's other ability is a short burst of speed.  Kowalski can hover for a little bit which comes in handy when some of the floor tiles are electrified.  He can also hack into computers to disarm defenses.  In order to successfully  hack into a computer, shapes must be rotated and aligned with each other before the time runs out. Running out of time was never an issue for me. However, saving my progress is another story.

There are several check points in the level that will be activated after you go past them the first time.  If you make progress and go back to them, they won't do anything.  This game is forgiving when it comes to dying; it will reset your character to where you were before the dreadful event took place.   Quitting the game and returning to your checkpoint afterwards doesn't work.    After making significant progress  and getting a game over screen, I decided to quit and come back to the game later.  To my dismay I had to restart the game from the beginning.  

Penguins of Madagascar
Score Breakdown:
Higher is better
(10/10 is perfect)

Game Score - 50%
Gameplay - 8/20
Graphics - 6/10
Sound - 4/10
Stability - 2/5
Controls - 3/5

Morality Score - 96%
Violence - 8/10
Language - 10/10
Sexual Content - 10/10
Occult/Supernatural - 10/10
Cultural/Moral/Ethical - 10/10

Quite honestly I'm not sure what the purpose of the check points are if the game resets your character's position after dying and you cannot resume from where you left off.     I'm truly baffled by this.  I blame myself for accidentally deleting the game save data the first time around for mistaking the game's menu selection color for being white instead of yellow.  The other two times my progress was lost, I wasn't at fault though.  After reading an Amazon customer review, I realized that I'm not the only one.

Without the pick up and play ability, Penguins of Madagascar is a poor choice for a mobile gaming platform.  I'm not sure if the Wii and Wii U version share the same saving issues or not.  What all versions suffer from is a complete lack of voice acting.  All of the dialogue is text driven, which is fine for older players but kids who cannot read yet will not understand what's going on.   The sound effects and mysterious background music is good though.

Despite the saving and audio disappointments, the gameplay is mediocre and doesn't redeem it in any way.  If you see this Penguins of Madagascar in a bargain bin and don't care about restarting from the beginning often, go ahead and pick up this game.