Future game developers, it might be a good idea to make sure the main character in your upcoming game has feathers. Currently in the US App Store, 4 of the 5 overall top paid apps are games featuring some type of bird. The newest of these titles, and the game that has recently toppled Angry Birds Rio [99¢/Lite] at the #1 spot, is Gamevil’s Air Penguin [99¢].
It’s not hard to see why either, as Air Penguin contains all the elements that can make for a successful game. It has adorable graphics, dead simple gameplay, and an engaging scoring system that ensures you’ll keep coming back for more.
Global warming has caused the glaciers to break apart into pieces in Antarctica where Air Penguin lives. Your job is to direct him across the scattered pieces of ice in an effort to reunite him with his separated family members.
This portly penguin will bounce high into the air and you control his direction by tilting your device, trying to bounce safely along each chunk of ice. Breaking up all the bouncing gameplay is a turtle which you can land on and control for a quick ride through the ocean, and some segments have you landing on a long sheet of ice and literally skating along while avoiding seals and holes in the ice.
Each of the 100 levels in Story mode have 5 golden fish which can be collected along the way, and these can also be used to purchase special items to help you in your journey. These items include things like making seals smaller and easier to avoid, covering the gaps in the ice while you're skating, or giving you a second chance after you’ve fallen into the water. Besides collecting the gold fish to use as currency while you play, you can also get more via IAP if you’re running low and need to buy some assistance.
Scoring is cumulative across all the Story mode levels, with an added bonus that grows based on how many levels you complete in succession without dying. There is also a Survival mode which gives you a randomly generated endless level to see how long you can last, and Game Center is integrated to track high scores across both modes and unlock achievements.
I’m not usually a big fan of tilt-only games, but Air Penguin definitely does it right. The tilting is extremely accurate, so it makes completing acrobatic leaps of faith a joy rather than frustrating. The tilt sensitivity can also be adjusted to your liking, and Air Penguin is the perfect game to pop into when you have a few minutes to kill here and there. Of course it’s also extremely easy to get sucked in and play for great lengths of time trying to perfect scores and collect every fish, which is another hallmark of a good game.
I can definitely recommend checking out the newest bird-themed sensation to hit the App Store, as I’ve been having a pretty great time with Air Penguin so far and players in our forums are enjoying it as well.
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