As you play video games you begin to learn that there are universal truths that exist in all games. Getting points can earn you an extra life, in fighting games jump kicks are more powerful than any other attack, eating food you find along the way will restore your health. Yume Penguin Monogatari turns one of these on its head and it makes for a wonderful game.
In this game (please note I’m paraphrasing a lot since I do not read Japanese very well). you play a penguin who lost his girl to some douche penguin because you eat too much. Yeah, you’re a fat penguin. The goal of the game is not only to get your girl back by getting through levels, you have to lose weight. Enemies will toss food at you and there are environmental food traps (the volcano throwing Onigiri was my personal fav). The more you get hit by food the more you eat and the fatter you get. When super fat your attacks are super weak and only melee. As you get thinner you can gain more attacks including a projectile attack that is basically essential to beat the game.
At first glance you think this game has a really great message. Losing weight and improving yourself. However my only complaint is the main way you appear to lose weight is by collecting these bottles. Being the American that I am I instantly thought they were diet pills. Not the purest or safest way to lose weight, but then again we’re playing a game as a penguin and not everything has to be a PSA.
Anyway, for once this game is just GREAT. Music is fun, gameplay is challenging but rewarding, and the controls work very well. It surprises me that this game was not released in the U.S. I think it would have been a nice franchise addition to the US NES library. Famicom games have been going up in price as of late and this game is in pretty high demand due to popularity, but to me this is one of those titles that is worth it.