Despite the name, I really didn't know what I was getting myself into when I loaded up Penguins Arena: Sedna's World. Allow me to set the stage …
Global warming is melting the ice. Garbage and pollution are everywhere. The penguins' habitat is shrinking and there isn't enough food to go around. I know, I know - it sounds kind of like the plot from Happy Feet, but here is where we digress. Sedna, the Goddess of the penguins, informs them that only enough resources to support one penguin tribe remain. The penguins must fight each other in arenas across the shrinking ice until only one tribe remains.
Yes, take a moment and let that sink in. Who knew the solution to melting ice caps and growing pollution was penguin death matches? The story may be grim but the penguins are so darn ridiculous that I dare you to not giggle at the sight of them.
There are apparently only four tribes: red, blue, yellow and green. At the start of each match, you can customize the head and waist of your penguin. That's right; you can set your load-out. Outfit them in a gunslinger belt and silly headgear (or some other weird option that takes your fancy). You can even name your penguin. I called my penguin Pengalla.
The game is entirely online multi-player. I didn't have luck finding a game to join, but it's easy to create your own. The developers will provide penguin bots when needed. You'll know you have an actual human opponent behind that penguin when there's a little star by its name.
Each arena match takes place on a small (very small) iceberg. These icebergs are really slippery too - probably something to do with all the ice. The controls are pretty straight forward. You can use arrows or WSAD to move. Left-click fires a weapon and right-click throws a punch. The default weapon is a snowball though there are bigger and better weapons strewn throughout the ice.
All of the power-ups on the iceberg are marked with giant white arrows, making them rather obvious. They are also plentiful so no scarcity issues either. Sedna's Egg gives you kind of a protective shield for a short while. The Gust of Clownfish shoots a barrage of 10 fish at your unlucky opponent. The Dynamite Fish is a little grenade with a big bang. The Big Bomb is basically a big purple missile that hits hard. Bear's Claws, though not a weapon, are great for giving you get a better grip on the ice.
You can't actually cause direct harm to the enemy penguins. There's no bloodshed that you see. The effect of all of the weapons is knock-back. You see, to finish-off another penguin, you knock him off the tiny iceberg. It's the circling sharks that actually do the dirty deed.
Each team begins with three penguins. As soon as your first penguin dies to a shark, the next one reincarnates. When all three of your penguins are dead, you become a little penguin angel, complete with little wings and hover about the battle watching the others finish each other off. The battles tend to be pretty short and the last penguin standing gets a little gold crown to wear to the next battle.
The graphics are pretty simple. You have your weapons, your colored penguins, and ice; the sea and usually a bunch of bags of garbage lay around for landscaping. I didn't see a ton of different arenas while I was playing. I'm not sure if they are randomly selected or it cycles through a specific set.
There's not a lot of depth to the game, but the action is fast and furious. Once you get the hang of the controls you'll be sending the other penguins flying to their doom with the best of them. You'll also learn that weapons have a kick and there are some weapons you don't want to fire when your own back is too close to the edge. The penguins may be short on food and resources, but the sharks sure are eating well.
Penguins Arena: Sedna's World is a silly game wrapped around a serious message about global warming and pollution. Me, I just want to be the last penguin standing. Play is fast and furious. Penguins. Arenas. Sharks. Death Matches. How often do you hear those words describing the same game? If you want to try something quirky - a little outside the box, have a look at Penguins Arena.