Snowpack Park - First Impressions

posted 23 Nov 2010, 13:04 by Knuckles Sonic8   [ updated 23 Nov 2010, 13:10 ]
I just love it when Nintendo surprises us with a new WiiWare title. Snowpack Park totally came out of nowhere without any sort of pre-amble to back it up (Bonsai Barber anyone?). Nevertheless, I already sense that Snowpack Park is a great WiiWare title that simulation fans will want to pick up.

In the game, you're responsible for taking care of penguins scattered about in a large arctic environment. Each penguin will maintain one of five given mood types and will exhibit this openly. For example when a penguin is in a cranky mood, it'll use its fins to slap you if you get close to it. You can alter these sorts of behaviours simply by showing them a measure of concern through different commands, which is where the simulation aspect of the game comes in. 

For instance, you can toss crowfish in their direction to satisfy their hunger cravings or lead them towards you. You can also go up close to grab them and hoist them above your head, or pet them repeatedly using the on-screen hand cursor. Using special radar-esque fish sticks, you can drill a hole to do some quick ice fishing, replenishing your supply of food. When the penguins are feeling neglected, they will revert back to their passive or grumpy attitudes.

Everything you do in the game that relates to the penguins will earn you Friendship Points (FP's). Even just walking around with a penguin in tow will earn you some. In addition, at the conclusion of each day when midnight strikes, you'll be rewarded with a set of points for your dedication. These act as the in-game currency, allowing you to venture off to new areas via a balloon ride, or participate in a special bonus game later on. It will be interesting for me to see what else these Friendship Points can be used for as I make progress in the game.

During my initial session, I also had the opportunity to play a simple puzzle mini-game. Basically how it works is you have a group of penguins standing in the center of a platform floating on freezing water. You need to place them outside the center ring, with your overall goal being to get them all away from that zone. There are also isolated areas along the edges of the platform where you can try placing them for bonus points, but if you don't plan for this, the risk factor could very well break whatever progress you've made so far. After I managed to clear a level on the Easy difficulty, I soon realized how much it reminded me a lot of You, Me and the Cubes. This has me wondering what team was responsible for the development of this game.

But that aside, I'm really enjoying this game so far, and I look forward to seeing how it holds up after multiple plays. Stay tuned to for a full review of this new WiiWare game.