A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that The Penguins of Madagascar is an amuzing puzzler starring the scene-stealing schemers of the original Madagascar movie. While the penguins use explosives for destroying obstacles, they are otherwise relatively nonviolent. It is, in essence, a strategy puzzle game that will make kids use their brains quite a bit. If you have a DSi, you can have the wisecracking lemur character, King Julien, from the cartoon, critique the photos you take with your DSi camera. He will sometimes insult them in silly ways.
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What's it about?
THE PENGUINS OF MADAGASCAR is a strategy puzzle game that features the popular penguin characters from the Madagascar movies and their own animated series. The four penguins, who live at a zoo, embark on missions to help their fellow animals, such as setting up a birthday party for the lemur, King Julien, or locating a friend who has gone missing. These missions are played out in a series of maze-like puzzles that require players to control all four penguins (each of whom has a special, obstacle-clearing skill) and guide them to a designated exit point. One of the penguins uses items he picks up along the way to create inventions, which the player will have to piece together in a puzzle mini-game.
Is it any good?
The strategic puzzle-solving format is a fantastic way to bring The Penguins of Madagascar into the video game world. It was a pleasantly unexpected choice on the part of the developers, and such a better one than if they'd simply given us a game about penguins waddling along and smacking enemies. Kids will really have to put on their thinking caps for these fun, brain-teasing levels -- but remembering that the audience here will be younger kids, the developers didn't go crazy with any way-too-difficult challenges. They're all fun, but do-able -- which is great. And the invention-creating mini-games break things up nicely (although you will have to put together the same darn bridge way too many times). Along the way, you can collect snow cones that can be used to purchase mini-games, which also provides a nice break from the strategic planning.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about synergistic marketing. The penguins appear in this game, in other Madagascar games, in their own TV show, in the Madagascar movies, and in a comic book. Can you be a fan without purchasing all of the various media in which these characters appear? How do companies use synergistic marketing to make money?
The penguin Kowalski is a scientist. Does his enthusiasm for science make you interested in science yourself? How have you used science in your real life?
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