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We purchased this game from Amazon shortly before Christmas to ensure our grandson had a family game that he could be included in. This cost us just under £10 when we purchased it but Amazon have now raised the price to £12.72 with the RRP remaining at £12.99. We thought this would be good value for money and although we have been a little disappointed with this game overall, the price is reasonable for a battery operated game such as this is.
The idea is that there are three flippers around the rotating iceberg wheel which can be used to launch the penguins up onto the central iceberg with. In theory this is great but in practice we found the flippers, being placed over bumps on the base rather than fixed, kept on moving every time we tried to flip too hard. It was a real annoyance that bought gameplay to a halt every five minutes or so.
The penguins are easy to knock off the iceberg too which is frustrating for young players. As soon as they get their penguins on, another player knocks them off again. The skill required for this game outweighs the luck required so adults have to really hold back when they play this game to give children a fighting chance of winning. Unfortunately this is something our grandson picked up on and asked why we weren't trying properly!
In theory this game is brilliant. It's fun for all ages and it is especially good fun for Christmas. In practice I think the manufacturers need to rethink the design a little and perhaps even add some kind of adaptor to the flippers to make the game easier for children and harder for adults.
Tomy has been around since 1924 when it was founded in Japan. They are well known for their toys and games for young children and in most recent years have widened out to other products designed for both infants and their parents. In the last couple of months Tomy have merged with another Japanese company, formerly their rival, Takara. But not being as well known in this country the Tomy name has stayed in the UK.
A couple of years back Tomy brought out the game Flippin Penguins. I personally did not notice this new addition to their range but my son, also a big fan of Pingu, certainly did. He mentioned the game a couple of times to us, , but as all parents know children are always asking for things after seeing the adverts on television and most of the time we hope they just forget. And that is what he did for a little while.
But then he started mentioning it again. It turned out that he had been playing the game at school. My son is autistic and also suffers with low muscle tone which affects his fine motor skills. In order to help him a couple of times each week, he and some others would have an hour session of playing. It could be anything from play dough, to using pegs, but something to help them control the actions of their hand and fingers better. Something most of us take for granted. They had a couple of games that they played and one of those was Flippin Penguins.
We then decided to go to Toys R us as a treat for the children so they could spend some of their pocket money they had saved. As usual they picked out an item, then changed their mind, and then again, so we said we would look round the whole place first and then go back to what they wanted. But one of the first things my middle son spotted was the Flippin penguins game. Somehow I knew he wasnt going to change his mind so we picked it straight up.
An hour or so later, we finally made it to the checkout, and he handed over his £12.49 for his game. Slightly expensive in my view, but I guess like anything you pay for the name.
Back at home, it didnt take long to have the game unpacked and my son was eager to play. The game is aged at 4 and above. I think this is more to do with understanding the instructions than the ease of use, but some of the parts are quite small so the game would not be suitable for under 3s.
The game is for 2 - 3 players, though we have not yet worked out how you can play it with only two. Set up is really easy. There is the base, the iceberg and three launchers. All you need to do is attach the launchers to the base and then place the iceberg on top. Around the iceberg are 3 sets of steps, numbered 1 to 3. A flag is placed in the starting position and the all the Penguins are placed on the base, which has now become the Ocean around the Iceberg. There are seven penguins, each with different coloured top hats; two green, two red, two purple and one grey. This is the joker. Each player picks a colour, and the game begins.
There is a small switch on the side, which went turned on starts the ocean revolving around the iceberg. As it does it wobbles the Iceberg from one side to the other. Using the corresponding coloured launcher each player launches, or flips, any penguins that land on their launcher as they go around. Players must launch within 5 seconds, otherwise it is put back in the ocean. Any penguins that stray from the ocean are also placed back in. The object of the game is to get your two coloured penguins on the Iceberg in the middle along with the joker. Due to the randomness of it, you could end up with your opponents penguin on your launcher. This is where the skill is involved as you can either aim to put it back in the ocean or maybe use it to knock one of the Penguins off the Iceberg. But getting the amount of pressure right on the launcher is the key and this is clearly why this game was chosen to be used in the sessions my son attended. The penguins are also weighted at the bottom. This keeps them upright but is also useful when knocking others off the iceberg as they right themselves.
The winner is the person who manages to get their two penguins plus the joker onto the iceberg first. When they do, they can place their flag up a step. All penguins are returned to the ocean and play continues. The game is finally over when one of the players gets their flag onto the top step after 3 wins.
The game requires 2 AA batteries (not included), which make the base turn. We have found that despite being used fairly regularly, we are still on the first set, which makes a real change.
The pieces themselves, although plastic, appear to be very robust. The game has been dropped on a number of occasions, and the penguins have certainly gone flying either across the table or onto the floor several times during each game. I guess here is a case of you get what you pay for.
The other good thing is that most of the pieces are too big to be accidentally mislaid. The only exception, being the flags. I have lost count of the amount of games that we can no longer play because just one small part has gone missing. Even though the flags are part of the game, scoring could still be done on paper or a flag could easily be made from a bit of rolled up paper or a straw.
In all this game was a great buy. Even my eldest, who are nearing ten enjoy playing the game, and I must admit it can even bring out a competitive spirit in us adults too.
Be the first to flip your penguins onto the moving iceberg, but watch those other flippin' penguins don't knock you out as they slip and slide about! Beat the other penguins 3 times to win the game. For 2 to 3 players.