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The Great Parts
Penguins and Friends: Hey! That's My Fish! employs simple game play concepts that make for a surprisingly fun, engaging, and challenging experience that's suitable for kids and casual gamers who like a strategy game. The design actually allows for a reasonably challenging game of tactics, especially against a human opponent who can react to your moves and strategies to improve the experience.
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The Bad Parts
Penguins and Friends: Hey! That's My Fish! is a Wii video game based on a board game called Hey! That's My Fish! by Phalanx Games. This board game that enjoyed a mild level of popularity with kids, but it never reached the level of Scrabble, Battleship, and Sorry! Unfortunately, the Wii video game based on this board game is almost exactly the same as the board game. They made no changes of any kind to try to improve the experience for a different medium; they just translated the board game straight to the Wii. They added no Wii-specific features and made no real effort to distinguish the video game version from the original board game.
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The Graphical Look
Penguins and Friends: Hey! That's My Fish! has a graphical presentation that's very colorless and bland, with mostly different shades of blue and white to keep your eyes entertained. The included menus are also very boring to look at; they're very unappealing to the eye, and have the look of something that was just thrown together at the last moment. The six different types of penguins you can choose from can hardly be distinguished from one another. They all have no textures, no details, and the developers didn't even take the time to give them individual names to help tell them apart. The animations of the penguins are stiff and rigid looking and they move like stick-figures. There's no widescreen or 480p support ability included with this game either, they didn't put too much effort into the graphical presentation of the game.
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Sounds in the Game
The sound track included with Penguins and Friends: Hey! That's My Fish! is usually not present, but when it does appear you'll wish it had just stayed away. The included song track can hardly be heard and when you do hear the music, you realize the songs just repeat constantly. The sound effects were also usually not present and when they did show up they were very basic and sounded terrible.
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The Story Line
Penguins and Friends: Hey! That's My Fish! has no story line to speak of, it's just a simple strategy game for kids. Basically, you try to collect as many fish as you can, while trying to limit the amount of fish your opponents are able to collect in the same amount of turns. The twist in this little game is in the form of disappearing ice-floes that sink beneath the water after you move from one ice-floe to another. This little twist allows for an element of strategy and tactics because you can use a strategy that limits the movement of your opponents on the map. If you choose a path that surrounds an opponents possible pathway to new floes, then you can limit they're ability to move around and collect fish.
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Penguins and Friends: Hey! That's My Fish! has a blend of simple game play and strategy that will keep the kids happy and playing for a few hours, and maybe longer depending on the kids. The various difficulty settings will give the kids additional challenges that do increase in difficulty enough to provide differing levels of challenge and entertainment. The single player mode isn't much fun, but the multiplayer mode for up to 4 players was fun, engaging, and challenging, depending on your competition. You can select from a number of different types and shapes of maps to play on and they're all unique enough to provide a different experience. All the movements and actions were easily handled by one Wii remote and the controls were quick and responsive, although it often took my penguins quite a few seconds to reach their destinations.
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The Last Word
Penguins and Friends: Hey! That's My Fish! will do the job it was developed to do and entertain kids and casual gamers, but veteran gamers will look at this game and laugh. The developers, Gimmick Entertainment, didn't try to make a different experience when they adapted the original board game to the Wii console. They should have tried to do more to distinguish their video game from the original board game in interesting, engaging, and hopefully entertaining ways, instead of just taking the easy road.