TAGAP (The Apocalyptic Game About Penguins) is a freeware side scrolling 2D platformer shoot em up that offers excellent playability and considerably high production qualities.
It features multiple weapons and powerups, end-of-level super opponents, and 10 detailed levels to play through.
In this game, you control cyber penguin Pablo, a mutant penguin out to save the world from his evil creator, doctor Glowenko, who’s created an entire army of mutant penguins to use in his quest to conquer the world (why the theme of defeating your own evil creator is so prevalent in games is a mystery to me).
Anyway its an excuse to travel through the game levels shooting anything and everything in sight.
What I like about this game:
- The controls: TAGAP employs the keyboard and mouse combination controls employed in most first person shooter games. This is an interesting twist for a 2D shooter because it gives your protagonist a 360 degree shooting range. While I must confess that I did wonder whether the game would have been easier to control using a standard arrow button setup, I think this control mechanism was a brilliant decision on the part of the developers.
- The atmospherics: are very nice. Whether you are making your way through a level under heavy rain or traversing a dark level lit only by flashlight, the developers created a game with a lot of attention to detail that really lifts the game experience. Almost all objects in the rooms can be destroyed to a very pleasing effect.
- The weaponry: a nice range from Uzi’s, shotguns, rocket launchers, etc. to various sci-fi plasma weapons and disintegrators. From the get-go your penguin delivers awesome firepower and the graphical depiction of these weapons in action is very nicely done. There are also mobile combat vehicles which I read about but didn’t actually get far enough into the game to experience.
- The powerup pills: these replenish your stamina and grant you shields and super-penguin strength. Taking too many in quick succession can lead to an overdose, which in effect is a slow-motion/bullet time hallucinatory state where your penguin is invincible and is rather cool.
- The soundtrack: very cool. You can actually download the original 70-minute soundtrack from the game’s site.
What I don’t like about this game:
- Although the levels are dotted with all manner of interesting foes to fight, dealing with the mindless zombie penguin army isn’t all that interesting, in my opinion, and I caught myself wondering if these penguins could have been implemented in a more interesting way.
The verdict: a freeware game that offers a level of playability, attention to detail, and production qualities that you would expect in commercially released games, TAGAP is simply a gem. Apparently this game took four years to develop and the work and effort is apparent from the get-go. Try it our for yourself.
Version tested: 1.1
Compatibility: Windows 9x/2k/XP/VISTA.