Do you ever wonder if penguins think about why they can't fly and whether they'd want to?
The aptly-named Pengy Has a Dream touches on just that. Pengy can't fly, but he really, really wants to.
It's that innocence and simplicity that carries well in this case. Alongside clean animations, fairly fluid performance, and a simple but effective mechanic, it's a fun little game in small bursts.
Think of a wonderful thought
After having a chat with his bird friend, Wingy, all Pengy wants to do is travel the world. One night the Polar Spirit finds him, saying how moved it was by Pengy's dream and agrees to help him to fly.
Obviously Penguins can't fly, but they can slide like slippery ol' bobsleighs. And that's where you come in.
The aim of the game is to help get Pengy as far as possible by drawing out paths of ice for him to slide on. It doesn't matter what shape or form, so long as Pengy doesn't touch the ground.
Once he touches the ground it's game over, and back to the start you go.
Apart from the pretty visuals, the soundtrack is quite lovely. It's not anything remarkable, and it does noticeably repeat itself, but its pleasant jingle helps to set the mood of the game.
When it comes down to the gameplay, however, you've got to be on the ball. Drawing a line doesn't seem too difficult, but the screen moves pretty fast when you're on a roll and it's easy to make a mistake.
Plus, you've got to keep an eye on your ice-ometer at the top of the screen. Once that runs out you'll likely plummet to your doom, unless you're super lucky.
As it is a bit of an arcade, high score chasing platformer, your main incentive is to battle yourself and to beat your record. Then to spice things up you've got special, time-limited tokens like infinite ice, magnets, and super ice.
But, there are also smaller goals to reach, like getting a certain amount of ice tokens or high-fiving so many squirrels in one go. Once your mini goals are reached you'll unlock a piece of clothing/accessory for Pengy to don, and you'll get a fresh bunch of goals to reach.
It is a repetitive system but it doesn't feel immediately repetitive like some games. It actually has a bit of a Rodeo Stampede or Alto's Adventure feel to it, though it still falls short of those bars.
The only thing that really grated after a while was Pengy's personal sound effects. The 'whoops' and 'woo-hoos', though initially endearing, became a little overdone after the fortieth time they rang out.
It's also apparent that there's not really much variety here. Even when the backdrops change it's the same thing over and over again.
Oddly enough, that's not too much of a deterrent. By choosing to make the game premium, the experience of re-playing levels and reaching goals isn't interrupted by adverts or by limited, rechargeable lives/tokens, and it's nice to see.
Any happy little thought
Pengy Has a Dream is one of those games that bares all immediately. There aren't any hidden secrets or options, but that's okay sometimes if it's done well.
The general game play may be repetitive in the long run, but in short bursts it's rather fun, addictive, and well suited to mobile devices.