Pengle by CookApps is a Match-3 Puzzle Game where you help Pete The Penguin to clean up an oil spill in the ocean. Line up colored blocks to clean spaces in the grid and also get rid of oil stained blocks. Watch out for the black medusas and use fisherman nets and other special items to your advantage.
Gameplay 85%Pengle is a Match-3 Puzzle where you switch colored blocks to the block next to it left, right, up or down. You line up at least 3 blocks of the same color vertically or horizontally, and you make them disappear. You get points by making matches and combos, but the objective of each level is to clean the spaces from petroleum by creating matches on them, or making oil stained blocks disappear. You have a limited number of moves to get rid of the oil, and if you finish your cleaning duties before running out of moves, you’ll get bonus matches to boost your score. Depending on your points at the end, you get a 1 to 3 Stars Rank, and you need to earn a certain amount of Stars to unlock areas in the World Map, so improve your puzzle skills. When you make a 4-Match, you get an Arrow Block that explodes taking a whole row or column with it. And if you manage to line up 5 blocks of the same color, you get a Bubble Block, which explodes in one direction, and once blocks fall down to fill the spaces, explodes in the other direction. By touching the bubble block, you can see a transparency effect on the row and column that will be affected once used. You also have Boosters, special items you can buy and use in-play. There’s a Hammer that you can use to eliminate any block on the grid. Just pick it up and you’ll see the hammer when you touch a block. There’s the Color Pick Eyedropper, which you use to take the color of one block, and then touch the one you want to turn into that color. It’s useful to make hard matches. Finally you have the NetGun, hich launches a fisherman net to a space of 3×3 spaces, taking all 9 blocks with it. Over the course of the game, the grid gets more complicated designs, and can have challenges such as having a single block space separated from the grid, which you can only disappear by using a explosion or booster. Also, the are Black Medusas that stick to a block, and change its color after every move, making planning a strategy pretty challenging, but sometimes you can put them somewhere between blocks of the same color and wait for them to turn into the color needed for the match.
Graphics 80%Pengle features 2D hand-drawn graphics. The blocks are colorful and have a shiny design, and besides the color they have a geometric figure on them, and it may remind seasoned gamers of the classic ‘Tetris Attack’ on Super Nintendo. The grid also have a little glowing effect, and the oil has a nice design, even if it is black, you see some light-reflection added on its design, so it doesn’t looks all dark and bland. When you make a match, you’ll see stars appearing out of the line up, and some bubbles and underwater explosion effects. The blocks falling down don’t seem to be all that solid, and you’ll see them a being a little bouncy, stretching when falling and squashing when landing. Even if you only see colored squares, it maes for a pleasing to watch animation. The background is just a picture of the sea, with no animation, and at the sides you see Pete the Penguin home, an icy place with igloos, with the detail that the sky is showing an aurora. While not animated, the polar lights look pretty good, and while it would’ve been nice to see fishes moving in the background of the grid or something, it’s not something to complain about.
Production Quality 75%As a Match-3 Puzzle, Pengle doesn’t really innovate or tries to offer a true unique experience. Sure, the goal here is not just to earn points, but the cleaning spaces and eliminating certain blocks is something you see in all games of the genre, and while the underwater and tundra setting is not something you see too often, it won’t make you play for more than 20 levels. While Pengle’s gameplay is not really original, is perfectly executed, with many levels offering a different challenge, a world map and a charismatic penguin telling you how to play the game. Players fond of puzzles will find a very enjoyable app, for a while, because if becomes pretty repetitive by the end of World 2. You’ll feel like you’ve already seen all the game has to offer in a couple dozen of levels.
Value for your Money 70%Pengle is free on Google Play and the App Store. You earn golden coins by playing that you can use to buy boosters before starting a level, but to buy extra turns once you lose, you need to get red gems via in-app transactions, and they do seem to be a little expensive. There’s also a slot machine you can use from time to time to get bonus items, and to spin it you have to pay up 2 gems, which seems like a lot considering their price. Still, it is not necessary to spend real money in order to enjoy everything the Pengle has to offer.
SummaryPengle is perfectly executed puzzle game with nice 2D graphics that offers everything you expect from the genre, but that’s about it. Fans of match-3 puzzles will have fun for a while, but its lack of a truly unique experience won’t keep you playing for longer than half an hour. If you enjoy this kind of apps, give it a try, it is pretty addictive the first 10 or 20 levels, but after that, you may consider looking for a Puzzle/RPG hybrid or something with more content. Pros
- Nice 2D hand-drawn graphics
- Simple touch gameplay with lots of levels offering unique challenges
- Doesn’t really innovate the genre, it becomes repetitive kind of fast
- Could’ve used animation on the backgrounds and more music