Theme Park: Pre-Beta – It’s time to penguin up!

Hi again!

At the time of the last post we were in the middle of a hectic pre-alpha scramble with an overhauled concept and a lot to to do with little time to do it. By now I can tell you that we passed our alpha-presentation and have been working diligently  toward our Beta-deadline next week.

With all  basic mechanics in place, we have been working on implementing (amongst other things) new levels, hazards, powerups, a dash-mechanic and a new GUI.

As you might or might not have guessed from the title, I’m going to talk a little about the power-ups in the game. Project “Save the Penguins” has now gone from a puzzle-type of game to a fast-paced  4-mother scramble for 1 penguin baby! You player, the One True Mother of Penguins (Queen of the Antarctic, First of Her Name), have to get hold of the penguin baby and hold on to it. Sounds simple right? And it would be, except there are three other penguin mothers who want the exact same thing and only one of you gets to walk away with the prize. With chaotic and hectic gameplay, we wanted to enhance that mentality with power-ups ranging from the purely benificial to the more risky If-I-Can’t-Win-You’re-Going-Down-With-Me-So-Help-Me!-type of last-minute game-changers.

In the spirit of Mario Kart, a power-up comes in a mysterious box, occasionally dropped by parachute onto the playing field. The power-ups are not explained to the players beforehand. I tried to design them in such a way that the power-up’s icons hint at their function as well as being reasonably easy to tell apart. We tied most of their uses to the core mechanic of the game – bumping into other players so even if a player does not know what the ice-cube-like power-up does, they will find out as soon as they bump into another player!

Psst! Hey. Hey Buddy. I’ve heard you’re looking for some power-ups? I can hook you up, know what I’m saying?

So what’s inside the box?

opening box

We are (currently) planning for seven different types of powerups and will try to implement as many of them before the Beta-deadline as possible. As of this moment we have two.


The powerups are:


1. BlowfishBomb! This one is risky, after being picked up it will start gradually inflating until it explodes! Doesn’t sound very benifical though does it? The player can however pass along the fish to another player by bumping into them.

If you’re a blowfish in this game…You’re gonna have a baad time.

2. FireStarter!

This power-up turns your penguin into a temporary god of fire, leaving a fiery trail behind you (yes there is a bad bowel-related joke there, shush). Other penguins crossing the trail will be set on fire and panic!


Hey you! You’re doing great! With the baby secured and only a couple of seconds left on your meter, there is nothing that can stop y…Why is your suddenly babyless penguin on the other side of the arena? The swapper, that’s why! This trickster power-up randomly switches the positions of all players for better or worse.

4. SnowShoes!

As our fluffy penguins’ coordination would make Bambi look like a figure-skating prodigy the player will need some help to nail those sharp turns. Enter, snow shoes! This fashion-forward footwear will give you much better control of your penguins movement….for a while.

5. BabyCall!

Similar to a dog whistle, this little trinket tells penguin baby that playtime’s over and it will come rushing to your player!

6. Freezer!

This handy power-up gives your penguin temporary mastery of snow and ice, turning every player they touch into a helpless popsicle. Sparkly dress and power ballad sold separately.

7. SuperMoma!

Temporarily granting you superpowers, this power-up increases your penguin’s speed and strength, knocking back the players SuperMoma touches. Comes with a fashionable red cape.

There’s a lot to do left before Beta and besides these powerups there is some work left on the basic mechanics, controls, penguin-customizations, levels, feedback…well mostly everything. But everybody is working hard to make sure we can present the best possible version of our game at this year’s GGC. Do you feel like partaking in some penguin mayhem? Come and see us there!

Until next time!


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