Everyone has seen March of the Penguins and loved it. While the Madagascar movies have been hit and miss, the best scenes are always the ones with the wiseguy penguins. What is it about these fascinating walking tuxedos that keeps us coming back for more? And in this penguin-starring game, does Aloha From Hawaii do these cute critters justice?

Sick of living in the South Pole, four penguins, Annie, Bob, Max and Ziggy, decide to head for greener pastures and take off to go to Hawaii. Unfortunately for them, they get lost and end up going everywhere but Hawaii. Unfortunately for the gamer, they get lost and end up going everywhere but Hawaii. See the pattern here? They're not in Hawaii.

Aloha From Hawaii is a free to download platformer with one stage available. You want the other two stages? You have to buy those for $1.99. The three stages are Jungle, Desert and Antarctica. The goal in each stage is to collect all 15 hidden golden stars so you can unlock Endless Mode. Endless Mode is just like the stage you're on, only you run endlessly to see how far you can go. For some reason, that's supposed to be enticing. If you don't feel like grabbing all 15 stars in each stage, then you can in-app purchase to unlock them.

Controls in Aloha From Hawaii are simple. All you do is jump. Hold down the button to jump longer, double tap to double jump. When you reach a glowing symbol on the ground, press the switch button to switch to another penguin, and that particular penguin will clear the area in front of you. Need to fly? Press the switch button and the penguin who flies will appear. It's pretty dumb actually.

The levels themselves aren't too difficult, though I had some problems with a couple of the Jungle levels. If you miss a star, you can't go back and get it, so either keep going to get the others, or just die and do the level over again. If you collect a star and complete the level, you keep that star. You don't have to collect all three in one run to keep them, which is actually nice.

The graphics are the kind you would see in one of those cheap Flash games on a free games website that's littered with computer viruses. While I didn't like the look of the characters or levels, I did love the hand drawn cut scenes, which were wonderfully done. I would have loved to have played a game that looked like that the entire time.

Heck with it, let me show you one more. They're too pretty to not post.

The gameplay is ok, the problem I have with it is it just isn't fun to play. I didn't care about any of the goals, like collecting all of the stars, though you want to if you wanna see the last animation. At least that's what I'm assuming, I'm not going to bother trying because the Jungle levels make me want to throw my iPad across the room.

The music is a little Hawaiian guitar diddy that will drive you crazy after ten minutes. Thankfully, you can turn it off. The sound effects aren't bad, but they're not memorable either. The game has promise, but it's one of those games that probably sounded great in a board meeting, but fell through in development.

I wouldn't bother with Aloha From Hawaii unless you absolutely love penguins. The gameplay gets old really fast and there's not a lot of fun to be had. It had some promise, but like the penguins in the game, took a wrong turn while trying to reach its destination.


App Store Link: Aloha From Hawaii for iPhone & iPad | By Forge Reply | Price: Free | Version: 1.0 | 91.9 MB | Rating 4+

5.0 out of 10 arcade sushi rating