Developer: Christian West
Price: Free
Version Reviewed: 1.0
Device Reviewed On: iPhone 5

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★★☆
Game Controls Rating: ★★★★☆
Gameplay Rating: ★★★★☆
Replay Value Rating: ★★★★☆

Overall Rating: ★★★★☆

Balancing penguins on top of each other is tough. Not that I’ve ever needed to do it before, but Penguin Pile-Up has taught me that it’s much harder than it looks.

The sole idea behind Penguin Pile-Up is to pile up a bunch of penguins in order to collect fish and escape shark-infested waters. I’ve got no idea why they can’t be a bit more careful when it comes to avoiding the sharks, but there’s clearly a logic to it that only penguins can understand. Either way, it makes for a quite fun and challenging game.

penguinpileup7penguinpileup5Offering some exceptionally simple controls, all that’s needed physically from the player is the ability to drag penguins on top of each other. Early stages are rarely challenging, simply involving placing them on top of each other vaguely carefully. That lulls one into a false sense of security, though. Soon enough, levels require some careful placements and a hint of logic-based thinking, too. Penguins frequently come in different sizes, plus some are encased in blocks of ice making them slippery and difficult to place anywhere.

Other obstacles emerge too, such as boxing gloves punching their way around the stage and requiring players to follow a set path in order to reach distant fish. Penguin Pile-Up breaks things up further, by throwing in some levels that require destroying crates in order to drop the penguin to the bottom of the screen. Such stages provide a welcome distraction from a game that occasionally veers near stressful but never quite falls over such boundaries.

Ultimately, Penguin Pile-Up is a simple yet fun change to the usual physics-puzzler motif. The 50 levels available should keep many players happy for a while to come, with piling up penguins surprisingly satisfying.

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