Any person who has seen ‘March of the Penguins’ will probably have learnt a fair few things. Firstly, they will know that those creatures are somewhat mildly entertaining to look at and are also a fascinating example of a highly adapted species which, while native to the southern hemisphere of our planet, are not exclusively found there.
Secondly, they will know (and I know this through powers of deduction because if you can watch a documentary, you can use Wikipedia) that that the above and further such fascinating factual information can be found on Wikipedia and that I am quite obviously not naturally equipped with a rich tapestry of Zoological knowledge that I can throw around as if I were a contestant on Mastermind.
Finally, they will know that anything narrated by Morgan Freeman instantly gains a majestic quality that no other voice on Earth could provide. Seriously, if Trainspotting got a bit of the Morgan Freeman treatment, the backdrop of an economically-depressed Edinburgh in the 1980s may not have seemed like such doom and gloom after all and those troubled gentlemen wouldn’t have been so tempted to dabble with addiction.
Moving swiftly back to the game in question: On the face of it, ‘Smack or Whack the penguin’ promises to be a straightforward game of the ilk of many smacking and whacking games before it. There is no need for instruction on how to play since the title acts as both a descriptive heading for the game and as its very own inadvertent instruction manual.
The game is as basic as they come; no upgrades, no progression to the next level, and most importantly, no ridiculous assumption that I’m going to invest more than 10 minutes of my time in order to unlock items which allow me to invest my time and unlock yet more useless items – there are better penguin games out there with upgrades – www.penguingame.org. ‘Smack the Penguin’ is more like your typical addictive iPhone game where as a player X applies a set amount of force to Y and a distance is recorded. In this case, X is you, and Y is penguin that dives with full awareness into the apex of your swing. Lather, rinse, repeat, and avoid contact with eyes.
Visually, the game is the equivalent of no more than 15 minutes on Photoshop or perhaps a solid hour on Microsoft Paint, with background scenery than can only be described as ‘rustic’ and oddly-coloured score boxes punctuating what is altogether a very basic piece of gameplay presented in a very unassuming way. It requires nothing more than good timing of your swing and a little imagination.
After you connect with your penguin (with physical force; if you think I meant emotionally then you’ve come to the wrong sort of website), the predetermined physics of the game take over and all you can do is wait for it to land, after which you are presented with the total distance of the flight and you can begin all over again if you wish to better yourself with a better score.
I think the most important thing to remember with this game is that while it is very basic and a little rough around the edges, it never actually claims to be more than this and doesn’t try to rub shoulders with similar whacking games like Pinata Hunter. If you want a little bit of fun and to take part in some harmless pastime shenanigans, then ‘Smack the Penguin’ is the game to facilitate this. Play it, enjoy it, and above all, ensure that everything you do is narrated in your head by the soothing voice of Morgan Freeman. Now I’m off to re-watch the Shawshank Redemption, and I recommend that you do too.