Right or wrong, movie tie-in games (video, board, card, etc.) tend to have a bad reputation. There is a perception that such games are created with little care or depth and exist mainly as a way to extend—and consequently make more money off of—the brand. There are, of course, exceptions to this rule; there are games which are meticulously crafted and made with a sense of loving care; there are in fact games which are, quite possibly, better than the movie that they’re based on. The new Happy Feet Two: Freezing Frenzy game is not one of these latter games. Instead, it will do absolutely nothing to convince those who dislike tie-in games that they are wrong.
Something, but not wholly, akin to Hungry Hungry Hippos, Happy Feet Two: Freezing Frenzy comes with a round piece of plastic on which a flimsy piece of cardboard with Happy Feet Two written in large letters and Erik the penguin underneath is placed. On to this piece of cardboard one puts a plastic Erik and up to 24 different pieces of “ice” (little blocks of plastic which come in four colors). Erik is motorized and his feet are attached to a large flat piece of white plastic which is, one guesses, supposed to represent the snow and ice beneath Erik.
Meant for two to four players, the rules are simple – choose a color of ice (two colors if only two people are playing) and try to collect the correct color pieces of ice as Erik knocks them off the board. Should you be able to get your hands on another player’s piece of ice, you throw it back onto the board. The first person to collect all of their chosen color(s) wins.
Best played on a hard, level surface, Erik’s snow-attached feet feel far too big for the field of play and his movements aren’t varied, as one would hope. Nor, sadly, are his movements fun to watch. Instead, he just goes around incredibly noisily—seriously, this is a loud game solely due to Erik’s movements, loud to the point where most adults will want to be in another room—and never terribly successfully. Yes, he will knock pieces of ice off the board, but with the space being so confined and the snow attached to the feet being so big, Erik’s movements never generate the mania which makes Hungry Hungry Hippos so successful. Additionally, players reaching across the entire field of play to grab ice pieces (there is no requirement that one only get ice pieces which land in front of them) leads to trouble with Erik, the board, and other players.
Freezing Frenzy states that it is meant for children age five and up. In our testing, while the five-year-old found the game fun for one round, after that they had no interest in playing again. Presumably there is some sort of safety consideration involved in the determination of the appropriate age for players as gameplay is so very basic. All one need do is know their colors in order to be able to play correctly.
If Happy Feet Two: Freezing Frenzy was a peppy, lively game, it could certainly get away with its lack of depth, poorly constructed field of play, and the quantity of noise which emanates from the penguin at its center. Alternatively, if it had more depth it could get away with lack of peppiness. As it stands though, there seems to be little reason to recommend the title save for the most die hard lovers of the Happy Feet franchise.