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The Penguins of Madagascar: Dr. Blowhole Returns Again!

The Penguins of Madagascar: Dr. Blowhole Returns Again!


29.99 - 49.99

A hilarious adventures with the crazy penguins from the movie and TV show.
The Bottom Line
Fun action/adventure game which is active and full of positive messages.


If you are looking for good kid games, The Penguins of Madagascar: Dr. Blowhole Returns Again! fits the bill. Plus, when playing it on Kinect (the version reviewed here), it has the added benefit of requiring kids to be very active -- no sitting on the couch to play this one.

Fans of "The Penguins of Madagascar" TV show will enjoy hearing the original voice talent of the show's characters, including Neil Patrick Harris as the voice of the evil Dr. Blowhole. Joining penguins Skipper, Kowalski, Rico, and Private is the hilarious and sassy dancing lemur, King Julian. Players will also interact with Maurice, Mort, and Marlene, as well as some new characters.

How to Play

Kids join the ranks of the penguins' fearsome but wacky, elite team of zoo protectors. This funny adventure spreads over three episodes, with each offering four levels of fast action craziness.

In one episode, King Julian solicits the help of the penguins to find some treasure, which is then stolen by Dr. Blowhole. In another, the penguins decide to build "replacement robots" to fill their enclosure so the zookeeper won't miss them while they take off on another mission. However, the robots malfunction and cause chaos throughout the zoo. These escaped robotic penguins eventually end up working for the Dr. Blowhole, who is trying to take over the world.

Why This Game is Fun

If these plotlines sound over-the-top, they are. And that is, in part, what makes this game so much fun. When on Kinect, kids will find this game fun to play because it makes good use of the Kinect's ability to detect motion. Kids as young as age 7 need only to stand in front of the TV to play. There is no need for a button-pushing controller. Players will lean, jump, move their arms, and squat to control the penguins' actions on the screen.

Most of the game has the penguins moving forward automatically, as if they were a riding on a rail. Kids control which side of a path the character will traverse, focusing on picking up collectibles such as snow cones, candy, and beverages. Players will also need to punch with their arms and kick with their feet to knock things out of the way, strike a pose to sneak through tight areas, and balance to cross over narrow bridges.

The game automatically switches to the penguin whose skill is needed to solve an environmental puzzle. If the game calls for a small penguin to slide on his belly through an opening, the penguin onscreen becomes the character of Private. Penguin Rico has a special regurgitation skill that can produce a projectile. So when kids need to knock out piles of garbage, they control Rico. By raising a hand, they can target the garbage and then slam down that hand to fling the projectile. It sounds gross, but it isn't.

Since this gameplay presents the penguins as characters who are constantly in motion, kids need to react quickly to what they see coming ahead. However, the game is very forgiving; so that if a child doesn't jump at the right time to make it across an expanse, the game simply continues. Also, the constant moving is broken up with hilarious video clips that explain this nutty story.

Adding to the fun are minigames that pop up occasionally. In them, kids will move objects through mazes, answer trivia from the TV show and match characters to objects they like. There is also a separate dancing game.

Game Analysis

What makes The Penguins of Madagascar: Dr. Blowhole Returns Again! stand out from other Kinect games is that the body-movement-controls work well. They aren't perfect, but they are better than most. And if the Kinect camera fails to read your motions correctly, you aren't penalized.
Parents will appreciate the positive messages that the penguins impart about the importance of teamwork and helping others. They will also get a kick out of the automatic photos the game records of their kids doing crazy things like posing as a disco dancer or jumping in the air with their arms out. While they might not like how short this game is, parents will find that it's so much fun, their kids will want to play it more than once.

All tech products are judged on a five star scale by looking at the following factors: fun, education, ease of use, value, and technical.

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The Penguins of Madagascar: Dr. Blowhole Returns Again!
Released: 9/11/2011
Company: THQ
Price: 29.99 - 49.99
ESRB: E (Everyone)
Platforms: Nintendo DS
PlayStation 3
Available: Amazon

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