Alright, so I know I haven't been on Santa's "Nice" list for this year. That man sees into my dark soul and knows that I'm muttering my unbiased(*Cough cough cough*) opinions about flash games to myself, rather than posting them here. I hope my return to KCG can annul my extremely long hiatus from writing guides and adding to this site. Anyways, that's enough about me. Let's talk about you. Yes, you, Penguin Massacre. From what I hear, you made front page a few weeks ago. Tell us a little bit about that... because, quite frankly, I'd like to know how a game like this got to be of such high rating. I haven't beaten it in its entirety yet, but I plan on finishing the last few levels after this review. At face value, this game is a reasonable way to kill thirty minutes or so, but I have a high standard for shooter/defense games, and this is one fly I plan to swat to the table.
Penguin Massacre isn't exactly what I'd call innovative in any way. Shooter games tend to follow a simple linear format: Wave - Upgrade/Repair - Next Wave - Rinse - Repeat. Penguin Massacre does this.... All too well. After about ten waves of predictable enemies and repetitive gameplay, you'll either be in your gamer trance, or (if you're more like me) you'll be gripping the sides of your monitor, asking for a mongoose to try to attack your igloo, just out of the sheer shock value. When you get to the ever-so-visited upgrades screen, you'll see that all the upgrades for your guns are identical. You'll only ever be increasing each guns strength, reload and clip size. On top of that, you'll probably never need a Rifleman or Engineer, which leaves them to go off and do whatever it is penguins do when they aren't playing with guns or fixing igloos. If you're finding this game is too easy, that's because it is. Adding an optional thrown weapon (I'd assume molotov cocktails would work great against penguin invaders), a trap system, or just enemies that follow a random pattern. Anyone can hold a target reticle over penguin and watch it die. However, they can only be pushed to do that so many times.
In terms of graphics, I'm finding that Penguin Massacre sets a pretty good standard. When you take out an armored penguin, the explosion is really pretty. Nine out of ten guys will be interested when you tell them explosions are involved, even if they are just simple flash animations. The blood spatters were crafted meticulously and look great for a flash game. The backdrop that these ice-capades are set upon isn't exactly anything special, but I can tell it was drawn with care. There's something to respect in stage that's been set. Another good thing I can say with confidence about this game is that the visuals are neither intrusive nor distracting. And in shooters, this is always a good thing.
Sadly, there's not a whole lot I can say here. The music was probably made with a dusty old 8-track found in Uncle Stinky's basement. The song is about a 30 second loop, with some extra drum track at the end. Drum solos were meant to be cool, not accidental. You are offered a mute button, albeit a hard to find one. Usually, you'd think you could find it on the upgrade screen. That way one could save their hearing while there's an obvious break in the action. It's not there. You can press M at any time to mute, but most of us hunt around for that in-game mute button. It's always more satisfying to take out the sound with a swift click. As for the SFX, we have nothing extremely amazing here. I swear on the Necronomicon I've heard them all before.
After all the bad things I've droned on and on about, 3/5 almost seems too generous. It is, more than half I suppose, and 50% has always been a failing grade. Sheer mediocrity, however, has to be content with a three, because that's all this game is. Pass this game over if you want a good shooter. Bunny Invasion and The Last Stand are both much better, plus they have badges, and I know that's the only reason why we play on Kongregate. I hope this game goes back to the drawing boards before a sequel comes out. I should not have said such a thing. I've jinxed myself into having to play a sequel that will now inevitably come out. Curse you, Fate.
Well, I think that's a pretty decent review to bank a comeback on, don't you? Let me know what you think, KCG fans, I'm always looking for creative criticism. I won't ever change my opinions on a game though. Those are set in stone. There's probably a few words in the unedited version that Santa didn't like me muttering to myself though.
Let's hope this Doctor doesn't get a stocking full of coal this Christmas...
I have enough from years past.
Kongregate Score: 3.73 (That's almost 4!)
Play Penguin Massacre