**Happy Feet Two. Xbox 360**
Back in May I was feeling the need to play a nice happy go lucky game and set of in search of something aimed more towards kids rather than the usual selection of games I seem to own.
While browsing through one of the few stores here in Krakow which actually sells video games I came across Happy Feet Two priced at a reasonable 49zl (Polish Zloty) which is around £10. I was in luck because the game is also in English (another issue I have with trying to buy games here!).
The game comes in the usual green Xbox 360 case which contains a game disc and an instruction manual printed in English.
**Getting Those Happy Feet Tappin'!**
When you first insert the game disc you may need to download any available updates, this will only take a moment and then you will be taken to the title screen and get your first taste of the music you will enjoy at first but then most probably come to despise after a few hours of playing.
Happy Feet Two is based on the film of the same name. I have never watched the film so I don't know if the story is the same, but, in the game you are playing as Mumble. Mumble is the baby penguin from the original Happy Feet film, he is now grown up and he and Gloria have a young son, Eric. Mumble and Eric have had a little father son fall out and Eric has run away. Mumble and his best friend Ramon must go in search of Eric and bring him home safely.
To find Eric, Mumble will have to dance his way through 8 Chapters of dancing to the beat and collecting musical notes as well as defeating a few enemies along the way. Each chapter has around 8 or 9 levels each, some have bonus levels and others have little races to complete. When you first start the game you will only have the first chapter and the first level unlocked, as you play you will unlock more levels and more songs to dance through the levels to.
**Gather the Penguins & Dance to Save Eric!**
The first level in the game is a kind of tutorial level and will introduce you to all the controls you need to play the game. The main part of the controls is pressing the X button in time with the beat of the music. This is really simple as the beat bar flashes at the top of the screen to help you get your timing perfect. Other than this you will simply need to press A to jump on ledges and Y to power slam blocks of ice to make them either crumble or move.
In each level you need to collect musical notes as you progress towards the exit and you will also need to collect a certain number of penguins along your way to be able to exit the level and also to join you in the final battle at the end of the game. To collect a penguin you will need to dance to the beat to impress it and then it will join you and follow you dancing to the level exit. Each level is reasonably short and takes usually around 2 or 3 minutes to complete. The boss levels are much longer as you have to dance for longer to the beat and also use more than just the X button. The buttons you need to press will be a combination of X, Y, B and A and these will be displayed on the screen when you need to use them. The boss levels are, in general, quite easy with just a few tough cookies thrown in.
There is no physical fighting in the game, all of the bosses are defeated and battles are won by simply dancing to the beat. As you can imagine, this is pretty good fun at first but soon becomes rather repetitive! Especially with the songs in the game all sounding pretty similar!
After so many levels of dancing to the beat you will be challenged to a race by Ramon. Personally I like the race levels, I think they are a nice break from the usual dancing levels and they provide a bit more action and competitiveness. The races are simple to control once you've had a bit of practice. There is a boost button, a slow down button and one button to launch yourself off a ramp to earn extra boost.
The first race is in Chapter 2 and is definitely a welcome break, as with the dancing levels you will need to win the race in order to unlock the next level. This isn't too hard as long as you control your speed enough to avoid hitting obstacles.
**Disco Fish Bonus**
The bonus levels in the game are few and far between, but they are still fun to play. In a bonus level you must collect as many musical notes as possible and reach the exit before the timer runs out. Most bonus levels with have a "Disco Fish". The Disco Fish is great, he looks like a Disco Ball, but in a fish shape and when you collect him the music changes to a nice funky tune and Mumble becomes a musical note magnet which makes it very easy to collect a lot of notes. The effect of the fish is only short term but it is enough to bag a decent bonus.
**Multiplayer & Online**
Happy Feet Two can be played in multiplayer mode with 2 controllers and there are a couple of achievements related to multiplayer mode. I've only played multiplayer once with my partner but I gave up as I got frustrated when one penguin was one side of the screen and one the other and it made it difficult to play smoothly as you both play on the same game screen, not split screen. As far as I can see there is no option to play the game online.
**Xbox Achievements & Gamerscore**
Happy Feet Two has a total of 45 achievements to be won and they are worth a total of 1000G (Gamerscore). I am currently at the frustrating point of winning 42 out of 45 with the multiplayer ones being the ones I need to win to complete then game. The achievements are generally easy to get and if you have the patience then this would probably be a nice little booster of a game too.
**Graphics and Sound**
The graphics in the game are nice and smooth, the game is set in the snow so I wouldn't exactly describe the game as colourful. All of the levels are a mass of white and various shades of blue along with the black and white of the penguins. The sound in the game is good, however it is extremely repetitive and can become very annoying very quickly and unfortunately due to the nature of the game it isn't as if you can mute the sound and carry on.
**Price and Availability**
I bought my Happy Feet Two here in Krakow back in May, as I mentioned above the price worked out to be around £10. I can see on places such as Amazon or CEX this game can currently be purchased for around £6 or £7.
Overall, I do enjoy playing Happy Feet Two, the music is extremely annoying and yes, the game does get very repetitive, but at the same time is it fun, it is easy and it is generally a nice game to play. I am 30 so I have played and reviewed this from an adult gamer point of view, but I can definitely see how this game would appeal to children and after living with my little brother when he was young I can definitely see that the music most probably wouldn't annoy kids in the same way that it would adults! I think children will enjoy playing along to the beat of this game and taking part in the races, even more so if they enjoy the Happy Feet films.
I am giving this game 4 out of 5 stars. It was tempting to award only 3 stars but in all fairness this isn't a bad game, for kids!
Thanks for reading :)
This game is generally aimed at children, but who am I to resist an easy 1000G for my gamerscore?
Graphics wise things look good; a little bad rendering here and there, this is especially true of the rocks and snow spikes, but since these are breakable objects that's not so much an issue. The physics are a little off when creating an earth quake with LB or triple jump because ripples and shockwaves don't always reach nearby objects but it's only a small error, and I really don't think kids would notice this.
This is one of the few kids games where there is absolutely no glitches or bugs whatsoever. I haven't come across one and I've fully completed the game to 100%
Because of the long story line you do get just over 50 levels which may sound like a lot but each level is about 2- 6 minutes, so you can quickly progress. It took me 3 days to do this but it's entirely possible to complete it all in one sitting. The levels are not all one way, and many have different paths and problem solving sections like when a bridge crashes you need to fix it by using a water fountain to propel yourself.
You can play 2 player mode with one penguin each, or if you're on your own you can just switch between the two penguins. The latino sounding penguin is the default. He's a little hard to understand but the voice acting from the other is fantastic, they're certainly not amateurs and everything they say sound like they mean it, rather than they're just getting paid for it if you know what i mean.
The achievements are all names after songs, and while this a nice touch, I can't see children knowing them all. I certainly don't, I know all but about 4 or 5 but some are 80's songs which I doubt children would get the reference to. The score is quite easy to obtain, I have the full 1000G, the only things you should really have a problem with it hitting the buttons in each stunt hoop in a race.
Overall this is a great kids game and an even better game to get some easy score from. I'll admit the physics are't quite there and the grinding achievements for levelling up all dongs is just a pain but overall this is quite an enjoyable and playable game, I'd recommend it for a quick boost of gamerscore like me, or for a child as a fun game to enjoy at a more casual pace.