When thinking about racing games, it's not often that penguins, hats and really enthusiastic announcers come to mind. But if you're talking PenPen Trilcelon, that's exactly what you get.
As a launch title, PenPen is one of the strangest, yet horribly addictive Japanese titles. The premise is this: You race as one of eight (seven normal, one secret) penguin-type creatures called PenPens through four different courses. The PenPens in the game have personalities which are described during loading scenes with somewhat broken English--favorite phrase: "Sneak is easily elated." Each of the game's courses has an owner, from Mrs. Cream (an ice-cream cone woman) to Horrorman (the embodiment of all that is scary a vampire, a mummy, a ghost and more).
Courses have three different parts: running, swimming and sliding, and can be made up of any combination of these. Running is the slowest and most tedious, while sliding and swimming are much faster and a lot more fun. For a boost of speed, steer into the rainbow-colored boosts which will jet your PenPen forward. When each course is completed, you are awarded a hat, which you can put on your character to make him/her look more comical (no real effect on performance). There are three modes, including a standard Trilcelon, Time Attack and Versus Modes.
Graphically, PenPen is beautiful. It moves at 60 frames per second through most of the one-player game (but does sometimes slow to around 30) but stays at a steady 30 in four-player split-screen games. Music in PenPen is energetic, game show-type themes that change when you pass into new parts of the stage or past a particularly dangerous area. Aside from the overly enthusiastic announcer, the sound is not bad. While PenPen won't win any awards for gameplay, the control is tight.
The game was developed by Land Ho!, a team of people whose previous credits include Sonic, Panzer Dragoon and other top-tier titles. PenPen, however, bares no resemblance to any of those games. If you like kitschy, wacky, Japanese games, PenPen is for you. But without some major improvements/more tracks, this game will probably not come to the U.S.
Download Penpen Trilcelon
- PC compatible
- Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP