Great Journey: Mr. Penguin’s Letter



Genre:   Juvenile Adventure Game

Type:    Third Person Point and Click with some keyboard action 

Developer:     Rebelmind

Publisher:    Meridian4

Released:  US Release Coming Soon

ERSB Rating:   E

PC Requirements:   See end of review




by Inferno


It’s been a while since I’ve played an adventure pointed clearly toward our youngest gaming community.  If I’ve learned anything about children while my own two boys were small, I’ve learned that any game wishing to catch and keep their attention had better be colorful and musical. It should possess an interestingly diverse but simple storyline. The puzzles and/or mini games should not be totally impossible to master. Great Journey: Mr. Penguin’s Letter, produced by the Polish RPG/Action development company, Rebelmind Games, goes far to reach this mark, succeeding where many would fail. The look of Great Journey is vastly different from Rebelmind’s normal RPG fare (Grom and Space Hack). It is very easy on the eyes and offers much in the way of practical computer exercise while providing an interesting and captivating story, plenty of juvenile eye candy to watch and lovely music to listen to.  

A year has passed since I wrote my note…

The story is simple. Mr. Penguin, being extremely concerned about the ecosystem and living environment of the South Pole, writes a desperate letter to his two little ten-year-old friends, Tony and Annie (obviously pen pals). In the letter he describes how someone (The Polluter) has been dumping garbage offshore near the South Pole where Mr. Penguin lives. However, while he and his friends try and try, they just can’t operate a boat fast enough to catch the culprit. (My guess is that Mr. Penguin’s wings, or lack of useable same are just no match for the high seas of Antarctica…) Mr. Penguin begs the children to find their mutual friend Professor Glass, who seems to be doing research on a remote island somewhere west of South America and south of Tahiti. He suggests that they go and see “Captain” (that old sea dog!) and see if he won’t take them to Professor Glass so that this horrible situation could be resolved and everyone could have “Happy Feet”(ahem…um  er...sorry.) And with that, Great Journey begins!

But I should have known this right from the start…

The interface is easy and quite pleasant to use. The player chooses between one of two characters: a little boy, Tony or a little girl, Annie. When you first start up the game and choose which child you wish your “alter ego” to be, you also choose one of their favorite objects. It is also important to note here that the subtitles, which run in tandem with the adventure, are in the form of a large and easily-read font. This is a nice touch for the young who may be early readers or the not-so-young who often find subtitles rather difficult to view.

As you play along with the story (which is very linear), each new action required has a tutorial for it, whether it is for mouse control or keyboard selection. The nice thing about this adventure is that it IS just that…an adventure…made for children without math -- without spelling, just pure fun.  There are rocks and pretty flower pads to jump on…cameras to take pictures with…chests and treasures to find…boats to sail…sea planes to fly and yes, problems and inventory puzzles to solve.  And I’m not even mentioning the mini games here such as soccer to play with an African Shaman…icebergs to ride…ski jump contests to win and peanuts to catch in a basket. (Oh, I guess I did mention them…) This isn’t just a plain point and click adventure; there are plenty of arcade and action sequences. And an ingenious built-in hint system.  

I’ll send an SOS to the world…

The save function is activated by clicking on the “exit” sign on the lower left of the screen. It is automatic. You exit and the session or Chapter is over. When you begin again you can load up a previous Chapter, but you will have to start it over again -- one of the things I saw as a drawback -- but then you can’t have everything.  There is an enormous amount of jumping and “platform gaming” throughout the piece, and the rule is a simple one here to note: if you fail in your endeavors, you start the section over again.  Now this in itself could be considered another drawback by many gamers who like their point and click adventures to be just that: “point and click.” Although the “action sequences” I encountered while playing Great Journey are many, they are moderate in difficulty and if you give them a chance, are really quite fun to do.     

I hope that someone gets my…

The palette of the game is brilliant in color, offering 2D pre-rendered backdrops in jewel-like tones and animated 3D characters, which are all beautiful to look at. Rather stunning, actually and one of the strong points of value for Great Journey. Rounding out this visual array is the music by Marek Dutka (the other strong point) and lively sound effects, which fit perfectly with these vibrant graphics. It reminded me of stepping into a ride at Disney World. It was more often than not that I found myself humming the main musical theme from the game, which is beautifully written by Jarostaw Siwinski.

The vocal quality of Great Journey is clear, animated and perfectly enunciated for all of the adult and animal characters. Yet I was disappointed with the quality of the children’s voices.  Although the words are well pronounced, the voices seem to lack that certain luster of innocence and are usually devoid of any emotion where you would normally expect some sort of emotion to be.  Something the developers may wish to work on for their future projects.

Message in a bottle…

The learning curve of the game is fairly easy.  Though it is geared toward the six to twelve-year-old crowd, it most assuredly can be enjoyed as a quality family experience. All in all, I’m sure that many adult gamers, as well as the target audience it was created for (especially those new to the genre), might just enjoy the story that the adventure offers. I found Great Journey to be a pleasant diversion; one that I hope will forge the way for more children’s fare like it. 


Grade B-

Minimum Requirements:

OS: Windows 95/98/ME/2000/XP

CPU: 400  MHz Processor

64 Mb RAM

DirectX compatible 16 Mb Video Card: (nVidia TNT2 Class)

DirectX compatible Sound Card

DirectX 7.0

Hard Disk: 450MB

CD-ROM 6x 

Mouse and Keyboard

Recommended Requirements: 

OS: Windows 95/98/ME/2000/XP

CPU: 500  MHz Processor

64 Mb RAM

DirectX compatible 32 Mb Video Card: (nVidia TNT2 Class)

DirectX compatible Sound Card

DirectX 7.0

Hard Disk: 450MB

CD-ROM 6x 

Mouse and Keyboard

Played on:

OS: Microsoft Windows XP Home SP 2

CPU: Pentium D 950 3.4GHz 800MHz


Video: BFG nVidia Geforce 7600GT OC 256MB 128bit

Sound: SoundBlaster Audigy


Monitor: Northgate 20' Flat Panel Monitor

DirectX Version: 9.0c


Credits: Message in a Bottle

Lyrics by Sting

October 2006

design copyright © 2006 GameBoomers Group

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