Review: Waddle Home
Waddle Home is a pretty simple puzzle game in which you toggle different parts of the environment to create a pathway for penguins to escape with their eggs on the spaceship home. The spaceship element opens the table for some interesting questions: Are these penguins from a different planet? Space Penguins? Is this even Earth? The game never touches upon these mysteries, but they’re fun to think about nonetheless.
The goal of each level in Waddle Home is to simply create a pathway for each penguin to move from their current prison to the spaceship, preferably with all three penguin egg collectibles in tow. There are two basic constants to keep in mind throughout each puzzle in Waddle Home, 1.) Penguins will turn to the right when hitting an obstacle; otherwise they’ll always move forward, 2.) Robots behave in a similar way with the exception that they turn to the left after encountering an obstacle. From there the game introduces blocks that can be raised and lowered, switches that open doors when anything moves over them, and floor panels that’ll send penguins back to the start of the stage. Everything can be toggled by pointing the Move/DualShock 4 controller, or by ‘bopping’ any object in the environment. Each control method works fine (though I personally prefer using a single Move controller) allowing for players to interact with the world in whichever way they’d like. (I’ve already played a few PSVR games that allow for this amount of choice in control methods and it’s certainly something that I appreciate.)
New mechanics are introduced at a pretty steady pace throughout Waddle Home’s forty stages, but there’s never a point at which the game offers any sort of challenge. It’s a fun little puzzle game on its own, but each stage can easily be finished in under two minutes and with every egg collected on your first try. There’s also no real punishment for a penguin getting caught in a stage other than being sent back to the start (which at most will just increase the amount of time it takes to finish a stage), but you’ll always finish with every penguin saved. I enjoyed Waddle Home for the couple of hours that it took to finish, but it certainly left me wanting a bit more from it. The handful of mechanics the game introduces are interesting, the game just seems to play it a bit too safe and perhaps could have benefited from some more complex mechanics.
Waddle Home in VR doesn’t necessarily benefit from a gameplay perspective, instead it allows for a more physical interaction with the world that makes for some pretty cool moments. Bopping penguins on the head is fun and the little squeak sound they make is pretty cute, splashing the digital move controllers in the water is far more entertaining than it has any right to be, and I’ll likely never get tired of playing ‘whack-a-bot’ in some of the later stages of the game. This is accompanied with a pretty upbeat soundtrack and 3D audio that makes it easy to just get lost for a bit in Waddle Home. It’s also pretty cool to lean in and inspect each stage from a closer perspective.
My love for penguins is well known at this point and that alone made Waddle Home really enjoyable for me. As a puzzle game, it presents an interesting look at what you could do with VR and demonstrates why 3D audio and the ability to interact with a world is important, however, it doesn’t really expand upon its simple mechanics in enough ways to stay interesting. What’s there is cool (it being in VR certainly ensured that I was smiling throughout the whole game), but I’d really like to see Waddle Home do a bit more with what it offers.
A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review purposes. For more info on our review policy click here.
What I Like:
- Bopping penguins in VR is a lot more fun than you might think
- "Silly Penguin" - Robot
- Fun/simple Lemmings-style puzzle game
- The amount of interaction you can have with the penguins, robots, UFO, and ocean is really cool.
- Introduces new mechanics at a pretty consistent pace
What I Dislike:
- Very easy. I'd like some more challenging levels