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A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this app.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Air Penguin is a tilt-based game for iOS devices. Players assume the role of a penguin trying to reunite with family members after global warming causes the glaciers to break apart. The story is secondary, though, as the focus is on bouncing from iceberg to iceberg, avoiding sharks, swordfish, and other obstacles and staying out of the water. The shark chomps are a bit scary for very young players (who may be watching an older sibling play the game), but the real concern for parents is the ability to earn more 'fish' -- the game's currency -- by downloading other apps. Several of these other apps are free, but some carry a cost. The fish can be used to buy items that make the game easier (like a one-time use life vest should you fall in the water or a credit to shrink the size of obstacles.). It's worth noting that fish can also be earned during the course of the game by navigating your bird around the ice so that kids do not have to download other apps to gain currency in this game.
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Is it any good?
The key to success in the app store, it seems, is to include birds in your game. Air Penguin features another flightless fowl bouncing from point to point. That's much like Tiny Wings, but this game uses the iDevice's tilt function rather than gravity to move the bird around. And that requires the controls to be perfect. Unfortunately, they're not in this app. As you advance through the 100 levels, the obstacles increase, which makes the control problems more noticeable. And while it's a decision that was obviously made for gameplay, it's odd that the game ends when your penguin hero falls in the water. Last we checked, penguins could swim....
The push to earn fish, the in-game currency, by downloading and playing other apps (some of which cost money) is a bit annoying. Parents might want to talk to their kids about this kind of marketing. Since you can earn fish by simply playing the game, it isn't necessary to downloading other apps. On the whole, this app is entertaining, and is the very definition of bite-sized gaming.
For kids who love arcade-style gameplay
Our editors recommend
Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.