Have you ever picked up a random game and wondered what the hell it’s about? Well, that’s what I did when I picked up Penguin Wars. I didn’t know what to expect, and when I started playing, I was pleasantly surprised. I was also very confused by what I found!
Penguin Wars is a little like the board game CrossFire. You know, that game with a commercial was more entertaining than the game itself. Each player has a gun and shots silver balls at one of two targets. When one of those targets is pushed to the other side of the game board, that player wins. Well, Penguin Wars is a little like that.
The game is fun and not because of the weirdness. The title is a little confusing as you have more than just a penguin as a playable character. There are a bunch of animals you can choose from, but that will be for later.
TLDR: Penguin Wars is a fun single-player or multiplayer game.
The goal in Penguin Wars is to get all ten of the I want to say nuts(?) to the other side of the board. It’s a straightforward game, and once you fire out what is going on, it can be a lot of fun. The playable characters are:
The different characters don’t seem to play differently. As far as I could tell, it was just a cosmetic difference. I feel like they could have done more with them, even if this is just a Game Boy game. In other versions of the game, the characters do have different stats. Some can recover faster from being dizzy, but I didn’t notice this in the Game Boy version. I’m guessing the Arcade, NES, MSX, Switch, or PS4 versions have different stats for the playable characters.
You move your character, I think the rat was my favorite, across the bottom of the screen and toss your nuts(?) at the other character. Each side starts with five. You can knock them back at your opponent, which is nice. If you get hit by one of the nuts, I could figure out what they are supposed to be but why, your character will get dizzy for a few seconds.
These matches are quick! I feel like this is supposed to be played with another person. This is a bit of a problem now, but back in the 90s, it would have been easier. You need two cartridges, two Game Boys, and the link cable. You also have to be in the same room. I wonder if anyone has created an emulator that lets you play Game Boy games online?
The graphics are very cartoony. This feels like it could have been a tie-in to a Saturday morning cartoon or been an extension of a toy line. I like the way it looks. The graphics make you feel like there is more to this. While there is no story, I found myself making one up in my head.
There is no story to this, and it doesn’t need one. Maybe the manual told you why this was going on, but I don’t have it. This is one of the many games that doesn’t need a story. A story would be necessary if they created more than two modes.
I found this game to be very enjoyable. I wish I had someone to play the multiplayer with, but that’s not possible given the circumstances. I think this would have been fun for car trips back in the day, and it would have been better if I had the right equipment to play it.
Penguin Wars would get passed up by other games later on. It’s not bad by any stretch of the means, but as we look at the library more, I think it would just get lost in the shuffle. I like it and think it’s a good game.
History of the Game
Penguin Wars was released in the Arcades in 1985 and ported to the Game Boy, MSX, and NES. You can also get it on the Nintendo Switch and the PS4. The playable characters differ a bit in other versions of the game. The other playable characters are Panda, Koala, Bever, and a Bear. Thankfully, the Penguin is in each version of the game. It would be very strange if it wasn’t!