Puffins Island Adventure  - Review

Puffins Island Adventure
Ages: Everyone

Why puffins - why not Peregrine falcons nesting on New York's window ledges or parrots in San Francisco? Neither of these birds have a cereal named after them. At a point in the game, Barbara's Puffin Cereal box appears in the top screen - It's not even in-game adverting, it's out of the game, in your face advertising. If your kids start asking for Puffin Cereal - you'll know where it came from. Enough - on to the game.

You begin by customizing your puffin's beak, hair style and eyes and then you are immediately thrown into the Puffin 500 race. Fail and you get a big fat angry red F. Repeated tries will get you a better score and more respect from the colony. The game is comprised mostly of mini-games. The Puffin race is controlled by the D-pad and face buttons, the Puffin Plummet uses the stylus and is more satisfactory. Actually, it's my favorite - I liked the cute puffins holding up score signs. The trick in the Tide Pool Fishing is to draw a circle around the edible fish. Dive Fishing also uses the cursor as you collect green capelin and avoid the red ones - time runs out when you are out of air. The Egg Roll feels a little like playing pinball with an egg which is counter-intuitive to the careful handling needed to avoid damaging the egg. While the over 100 events may feel like standard fare, it is to the designer's credit that they all reflect what puffins do.

Score well enough in these games and you will be allowed to mate and bring up little puffins. There's not much romance. Little effort is spent in developing a bond between the player and the birds. The bird images are too small to get any personality from them. Sage - the chief puffin - gives sage advice - "There is another Puffin 500 race available". The puffins you need to talk to for new games and tasks wear dark blue, light blue, purple or gold rings - a missed opportunity to develop characters.

Flying is easily done and you can soar over the island in the very beginning - but there is only one landing spot - more will come later. It's a clever way of forcing the player to play through certain games before opening others. There's some attempt at education.

Winning in the games and collecting golden capelin will open footage of puffins in the wild. If you go to the store - you can trade your golden capelins you have won for videos of real puffins. A URL given in the game http://www.env.gov.nl.ca/parks/wer/r_wbe takes you to the Parks and Natural Areas Division - Government of Newfoundland and to Conservation, The Witless Bay Ecological Reserve. The reserve contains North America's largest Atlantic puffin colony. More than 260,000 pairs of the province's official bird nest here during the late spring and summer. Information is mostly about tour-boat companies and guides, there is a map of the sanctuary and it does somewhat resemble the island in the game.

If you're playing the game for information on puffins, try National Geographic. I found that the birds are an interesting bunch, are referred to as the Clowns of the Sea, the upper bill is used for short term food storage, but they also flap their wings 400 times a minute, fly as fast as 55 mph, mate for life, both male and female take care of the hatchlings, the birds stay at sea until they mature, they grow to about ten inches long and weigh about a pound and the oldest known puffin was 29 years old. The capelin is the puffins main source of food because the cod has disappeared.

There are two types of multiplayer games modes available from the Main Menu: Local wireless and Nintendo Wi-Fi connection. Both types are multi-card.

Fun Factor: Not enough bird interactions between games
Player Friendly: Game saves at pause menu. Thirty page manual is good.

Reviewed by: Gen Katz, Editor - 07/09

  • Puffins Island Adventure
  • © Majesco
  • Platform(s): GBDSDS
  • To Order: DS http://www.amazon.com/ $19.99