JumpStart has today announced the launch of Penguins of Madagascar: Dibble Dash on iOS and Android devices. Based on Dreamworks’ upcoming Penguins of Madagascar film (which hits theaters November 26), the game mixes elements from an endless runner with mathematical equations to create an educational experience in keeping with JumpStart’s focus. In the game, players run as far as they can as the four penguins, and can save any lost penguins by solving math problems.
In each game of Penguins of Madagascar: Dibble Dash, all four penguins simultaneously run away from the screen, one in each of the path’s four lanes. Players swipe up to cause all four penguins to jump over obstacles at the same time, while swiping down causes them all to belly slide under bridges and electrical lines. There are also instances that call for the penguins to stack up into a vertical pillar of sorts, to avoid larger obstacles. This is done by pinching or double-tapping on the screen. While stacked, users can swipe left or right to switch between lanes, and double-tapping or pinching outwards returns the penguins to their original positions.
While running, it’s possible for a single penguin to hit an obstacle, or to be slimed by one of Dr. Octvaius Brine’s octopus henchmen. When this happens, players are challenged to answer math questions to heal them. The game slows down a bit, and signs with math problems line the streets. A key number is presented at the top of the screen, and players must find an equation that results in that solution.
In addition, there are separate enemy encounters that see players trapped by a smoked salmon vending machine, and challenged to complete math problems in bulk in order to defeat a group of octopus henchmen and return to the streets. These instances see users presented with the map problems (addition and subtraction, with multiplication, place value and rounding coming soon), and they’re required to type in the answers themselves.
The longer players run, the faster the game becomes, and the more challenging the math problems during these enemy encounters. Each penguin has a power-up that can be activated while running. One may instantly heal a penguin of its slime, while another instantly solves one of the math problems while running. Another power allows users to destroy an obstacle on the path, and so on.
Players collect currency as they run or complete the game’s enemy encounters, and they can spend this on items and upgrades between games. These include headstart items for the next run, and mystery boxes that can contain premium items (among others). Premium items include a currency doubler and a “Save the Penguins” power for having an extra life after losing the game. In terms of upgrades, players can decrease the cooldown timers on each penguin’s special ability, or purchase magnet and speed boosters that will also help them while running. Eventually, new expansion packs will be added to the game, including costumes for the penguins to wear.
“We are very excited to be able to work with DreamWorks Animation to incorporate characters from the new Penguins of Madagascar movie into an ‘endless-runner’ game — a style which is extremely popular amongst gamers right now,” said Chris Williams, creative director at JumpStart, in a statement. “Penguins of Madagascar: Dibble Dash sets itself apart from other endless runner games and is so much fun to play, that you’ll hardly even know you are learning math.”