Chu Chu Lemmings –
Mixing the guide-the-mindless-drones puzzle aspect of Lemmings with the twitch tile-based arrow guidance markers of Chu Chu Rocket is basically Arctic Escape in a nutshell. Although more based around puzzles than fast reflexes, quick thinking is often required to ultimately guide penguins to the end goal.
Even though there are several dozens of stages, Arctic Escape is generally never really all that much fun. Guiding penguins safely from Point A to Point B is a simple game concept but the lack of polish causes more frustration than enjoyment. For example, there is no tutorial outside of some very general pop-up text blocks that appear when first booting up the game. Granted, gameplay is easy enough to figure out with some basic trial-and-error but the difficulty ramps up immediately; stage 2 was giving me more difficulty than it should. Part of the problem is the game just starts without giving the player a second to first survey the land or form a plan of attack. Having a dozen penguins just start moving all at once as soon as the level loads is troublesome, frustrating, and tedious. There is a “stop” command but it can only be applied to individual penguins instead of the whole lot. The constant load screens, lack of face button input, and noticeable drop in frame rate are also hinder gameplay.
Arctic Escape is a different type of DSiWare experience but some bad design choices really drag everything down. The light hearted penguin theme is unquestionably child friendly and adorable but the screen is always over saturated with the same color themes and simply animated sprites; the puzzles may change but the each stage looks the same. But like many other lower priced downloadable eShop/DSiWare games, a puzzle game like this could provide a few hours of entertaining if you are into the whole Lemmings style of gameplay.
Not As Good As: Chu Chu Rocket
Better Than: manually training penguins
Also Try: watching March of the Penguins
By: Zachary Gasiorowski, Editor in Chief myGamer.com