IGN Review of Club Penguin: Elite Penguin Force
Club Penguin, Disney's MMO aimed at the youngest of gamers, recently celebrated its third anniversary. The penguin community game has become pretty popular among young children, and even some adults. Disney has taken their snowy penguin world and ported it to the DS in a new adventure game: Club Penguin: Elite Penguin Force. It's a fun little title for tykes, though may be limited to Club Penguin veterans.
Rather than the community centered socialization game, Club Penguin on the DS is more of a solo adventure. There are multiplayer elements, but much of the game is a solo mode that puts the player in the role of one of the members of the Elite Penguin Force. As an EPF member players go around the island and help other penguins in need, and even solve a mystery. It's a pretty simple story and the island isn't too large, but there are plenty of places to go to, plenty of penguins to interact with, and even a few head scratching mysteries.
The game is pretty simple, and there isn't a lot going on graphically, but it has a nice style and the simplicity works well for the target demographic. There is a certain amount of vagueness that potentially makes the game more difficult. If a player gets stuck there isn't a lot in the game that says what to do next. And there is a considerable amount of reading, though the reading level is very basic. But nearly the entire game is spelled out in the speech bubbles.
Adventure games rely heavily on the story and writing, and in Club Penguin the writing is actually pretty good. There's a lot of humor and charm with the characters of the Elite Penguin Force, and the story is kid-friendly, but manages to be fairly action packed. The game very linear, but the over a dozen missions offer a fairly lengthy gaming experience.
During the adventure the player will participate in a number of minigames. There's a fishing game, a memorization dancing game, and a snowboarding game, among others. The touch screen games are fun enough in the context of the game, though by themselves they are particularly interesting. Players can return to any of the minigames at any point through the main screen, and since that's the way to earn coins for costumes there's at least some motivation.
For players that are already Club Penguin members, the coins earned in the game can be uploaded over the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection to the online game. It's a simple coin upload, but this is a really cool feature that definitely raises the appeal for fans of the MMO. There's also multiplayer minigames, and even a multiplayer mission mode if players each have their own game card.
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