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Buff Penguin Reviews

On 08/01/2019 at 09:49 PM by Cary Woodham

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It’s time again for some game reviews I’ve recently written over at  There’s some pretty good ones in here this time, so do be sure to check them out.  Please click on the links and read as many as you can, and maybe even post a ‘like’ or comment or two.  I’d appreciate it.  OK, time to find out why I named this blog “Buff Penguin Reviews!”

Penguin Wars (Switch)

Back in the mid 80’s, there was an arcade game called Penguin Wars.  But it was only released in Japan.  However, it proved to be fairly popular there because it was ported to several home consoles, including the Famicom (Japanese NES) and MSX.  I think the only version that made it overseas was the Game Boy one.  In the old game, you play as a bunch of different animals (including a penguin) as you rolled balls across a table to your opponent and tried to avoid and toss back balls your opponent sent to you.  It was like a cross between dodgeball, air hockey, and table tennis.  Actually it most reminds me of a dodgeball variant game I played in elementary school P.E. called “Sock it to Me.”  Anyway, now Penguin Wars is back and better than ever with a modern downloadable take on the Switch.

I REALLY liked this game.  I dunno, it just clicked with me.  But I’ve been looking forward to this remake for quite a while, as I learned it was on the Japanese Switch around two years ago.  I even wrote ‘games I’m looking forward to’ blogs mentioning it.  For fans of obscure cute Japanese games like this one, Penguin Wars also has some interesting DLC.  You can download extra characters to play as in all the modes except Story, and they are four characters from Hebereke.  Who the heck is that, you might ask.  Well, Hebereke and friends kind of look like demented Sanrio Hello Kitty characters, and they starred in a Metroid styled 2-D platformer on the Famicom, as well as a few puzzle games in the 16-bit era.  Their first game was going to come over here under the name Ufouria, but it was only released in Europe, although you could download it on the Wii Virtual Console.  Pretty interesting if you ask me.

Dr. Mario World (iPad)

Dr. Mario is one of Nintendo’s most popular puzzle games and it started back on the NES.  It was one of the few NES games I could get my mom to play back then and it’s one of her favorites!  So we were both excited when Nintendo recently released Dr. Mario World.  It’s a free-to-play downloadable mobile title that takes gameplay elements from the original title to create a whole new kind of game, pretty much.  Unfortunately, like many free-to-play mobile titles, it didn’t hold my interest as long.  But it still has that Nintendo polish and since it’s free, I say it’s still worth a look.

Tetris 99 (Switch)

When Nintendo announced their paid online service for the Switch, I didn’t get it right away.  I imagine playing Smash Bros. online was a big selling point, but as much as I like Smash Bros., I’m not that good enough to play against others online, so I didn’t get it then.  But recently when Super Mario Maker 2 came out, they had a version where you only had to pay ten bucks for the online service instead of 20, so I got that one.  You kind of NEED the online service to play and upload Mario Maker 2 levels, so now I have a subscription.  So after I got my online subscription, I immediately downloaded another game: Tetris 99.  Tetris is still one of my all time favorite puzzle games, and this one is free but you can only play it with an online subscription.  So I figured now that I have it, I might as well review it.  Better late than never, right?  It’s a neat little time waster and is surprisingly fun for what it is.  And it’s probably the first and only battle royale style game I’ll ever play.  I’ve gotten as high as number 11 in rankings, which I guess isn’t TOO bad.

Classic Game Design: From Pong to Pac-Man With Unity: Second Edition

Earlier this year when I went to PAX South, one of the booths I set up a meeting with was Mercury Learning Books.  They publish all sorts of educational reading material about how to make games and other electronics.  I reviewed a few of those books a while back, too. I think my favorite of the books I reviewed was Classic Game Design: From Pong to Pac-Man With Unity.  It was written by the same guy who made the Atari arcade classic Crystal Castles, and it was written so well that I bet I’d be able to make classic arcade styled games if I followed the steps in the book.  One of the things I was worried about is if the information would become outdated in the books, but I guess I don’t have to worry about it anymore because they made a second edition of it!  The Mercury Learning folks sent me that book, too, so I did a quick review of it as well.

Blazing Chrome (PS4)

Back when I was a kid and teen in the 8- and 16-bit days, Contra was huge, and I remember playing it with my friends many times, whether we rented the ones on the NES or later Contra 3 on the SNES.  Now an indie developer has recreated the feel of a 16-bit Contra style game with Blazing Chrome.  It even feels like a 16-bit game, right down to the Genesis styled muffled voices and SNES Mode 7 effects on the title screen!  Only problem is that, like Contra, it’s way too hard.  I do like that one of the playable characters is a tough and strong female warrior.  I have a soft spot for strong women I guess.

Moad Racing (iPad)

So have you ever wanted to play a racing game where you can drive the A-Team Van, Back to the Future DeLorean, Flintstones and Jetsons cars, and more?  Well now you can, sort of.  Moad Racing is a mobile 3-D racer where you can race as likenesses of those cars, but they’re not close enough to infringe on any copyrights.  Although they look pretty close to me.  Not sure how they’re getting away with it.  Also I didn’t see any ads or in-game purchases in this game, so I don’t know how they’re making money either.  The low poly graphics have a PSOne era charm, but unfortunately the play control and track designs are awful.

Astro Bears (Switch)

I just had to review this on the name alone.  You know those games like Snake or Snafu or the TRON Light Cycles?  Well this is basically that, except you’re running around spheres like in Mario Galaxy.  It feels like it should’ve been a mini-game in a much bigger collection, but otherwise it’s all right.

Professor Lupo and his Horrible Pets (Switch)

In the future, a mad scientist named Professor Lupo collects a menagerie of killer alien creatures (his horrible pets) and houses them aboard a space station orbiting Earth.  He plans on auctioning them off as weapons to the highest bidder, but before the first bid can start, the space station is attacked by unknown forces.  You play as an intern who is normally just bait for these creatures, but now you must try to escape the crumbling space station all the while avoiding alien monsters in this action puzzle game.  It’s all about learning the patterns and movements of the aliens while flipping door switches to get by.  Kind of reminds me of Adventures of Lolo in a way.  Only problem is that your character moves like he just woke up and is staggering about.  Not one bit of sense of urgency, which you’d think he’d have, given the situation.  It just makes the game annoyingly frustrating on how slow he moves.

And that’s all for now!  Thanks for reading my reviews and blogs and commenting on them!  I really appreciate it!  I thought about ending this blog with a couple of conversations I had at work.  One was about video games and was a bit discouraging, and one was about my fitness progress and really made my day.  But I’ll let you decide if you want to read about stuff like that.  Let me know in the comments which you’d like to hear about, and I’ll post a reply with it.  Later!  --Cary



Matt Snee Staff Writer

08/02/2019 at 10:38 AM

yeah, I havent been impressed with any of Nintendo's mobile games. I would much prefer if they charged a fee instead of freemium systems. 

Cary Woodham

08/03/2019 at 12:47 PM

Thanks for reading!  I sitll play the Animal Crossing mobile game, and I dabbled in Miitomo for a while, but I quickly lost interest in Super Mario Run and Dr. Mario World.  Never downloaded the Fire Emblem or other RPG Nintendo put on mobile.

Matt Snee Staff Writer

08/03/2019 at 06:06 PM

Yeah the animal crossing game is good. Miitomo was fun at first. 

Cary Woodham

08/04/2019 at 11:03 AM

Yeah I can't believe I stil play the Animal Crossing game.  Pretty good game for a freebie, and I haven't spent one red cent on it.  I think it's interesting that Miitomo was just a scaled down version of Tomodatchi Life, and that's the first thing Nintendo went with in their first dive into the mobile world.


08/02/2019 at 01:54 PM

I'm not into mobile games. I tried Super Mario Run and ended up going back to Mario on consoles pretty quickly. But if it makes Nintendo money that can be used to make Switch games, I guess it's okay.

I played Tetris 99 a few times. I did pretty good but didn't get the hang of some of the mechanics of it. I still play it now and then. 11th place out of 99 is excellent.

Speaking of penguins, I guess a Switch version of Ge-Sen Love: Plus Pengo is being released this month in Japan. That's that Pengo game made in 2010 that supports 8 players. Sadly it's Japan-exclusive, but given that Switch is region-free I'm thinking of buying an import copy so I can have it with all the other classic arcade games I have on Switch. Too bad Sega doesn't release the original game a lot more as an Arcade Archives or Sega Ages game.

Cary Woodham

08/03/2019 at 12:55 PM

I do like some mobile games.  They're easy to review anyway.  I sitll play the mobile Animal Crossing game because I'm a freak I guess.  But i don't play mobile games on my phone, I play 'em on my iPad!

Oh man, I love Pengo!  Is that new Pengo game going to get a physical version or is it just on the eShop?  If it was eShop only, I'd be tempted to get a Japan account just for that.  The original Pengo was one of the main reasons why I didn't get a NES right away.  I was perfectly happy playing Pengo on my 5200! 

I do wish SEGA would pay more attention to Pengo, though.  Back on the Dreamcast, there was a Japan only game called Sega Gaga where you made your own video game company.  When working in the warehouse pushing boxes, they play the "Popcorn" theme in the background, which was also played in some of the original arcade machines of Pengo!

So yeah, I really like Pengo.  It was one of the few games to tear me away from Pac-Man in the arcade, alongside gems like Dig Dug, Frogger, and BurgerTime.


08/04/2019 at 09:49 PM

I hear Penguin Wars and I think RTS or tower defense. Why? Not sure but I want that. 

Cary Woodham

08/05/2019 at 12:13 AM

Well I'm glad it's not a RTS or tower defense because I don't like those kinds of games.  :)  I'm glad it's a silly dodgeball title. :)


08/05/2019 at 10:06 AM

I checked out DMW before, but it was just so different with the blocks going upward instead of down. I just couldn't get into it either. Tetris 99 is pretty fun, though. 

Cary Woodham

08/05/2019 at 08:51 PM

I kind of liked how Dr. Mario World tried to do something a little different, though.  I'd already played the same game multiple times, so it was nice to have a little change.

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