Penarium (Android) Review

By Thom Compton 21.05.2017

Review for Penarium on Android

It is not uncommon for popular console and PC games to try to make their way over to the mobile arena. While many developers won't try due to concerns with controls, many games translate over just fine. Some, however, feel completely out of place with touchscreen controls. Sadly, Penarium may just be the latter.

Penarium stars Willy, a young boy who dreams of adventure. Much to his chagrin, he ends up in a circus, where the ringleader sets out to murder him during increasingly dangerous performances. With some nice, but not particularly awe inspiring pixel art, the player is dropped into a tough as nails platformer, for Willy's very life.

Tough as nails platformers are a dime a dozen, but in 2015, well, they weren't nearly as cheap. Don't misunderstand; they were still everywhere. However, they weren't as common as they are now. Penarium tasks the player with a simple goal. Survive and collect. The player needs to survive attacks that update themselves with every collectible that is grabbed. It's absolutely brilliant, because the better the player does, the harder it gets.

The weapons are also fairly creative. Simply falling off the platforms will send Willy to an early grave. Still, the game shoots giant boulders, crazy bullet patterns, and saws that stick to platforms then move along the platform. The player has the advantage of being able to wrap the screen, so to speak. When they jump off screen on the left-hand side, they emerge on the right-hand side in the same spot. This allows great mobility in tight quarters.

Screenshot for Penarium on Android

The collectibles also manage to be varied enough to be interesting. One round, you're grabbing barrels, the next round, you're grabbing potions and dropping them into different coloured cauldrons. There's also a substantial amount of content to explore. Sure, the game is very difficult, but beating each of the levels feels incredibly satisfying. With a decent amount of levels to work through, that level of satisfaction manages to last awhile.

Of course, we need to address the aforementioned controls. Whether or not Penarium controls great on PC, it does not on the phone. It would make sense it would control better on the tablet, with larger buttons. However, on the phone, it's too easy to accidentally press a button you simply didn't mean to. Because the buttons are practically on top of each other, it's no surprise that when running right, the player may end up accidentally running left.

This leads to a lot of deaths that simply didn't need to happen. There's no way to adjust this, though you can move the directional buttons closer to the jump button, or even send the jump button to the other side. It doesn't resolve the issue that the controls are just plain bad on mobile devices, and the fun takes a tremendous hit.

Screenshot for Penarium on Android

Cubed3 Rating

Rated 4 out of 10


Penarium is a fantastic game, and on anything else it's probably one of the slickest titles in a very crowded genre. By all means, pick this one up on Steam, because the base gameplay is fantastic. Controls, though, are incredibly important, and if they don't work well, they can ruin even the best of experiences. On mobile devices, Penarium is just too hard to control to be any fun to play.


Self Made Miracle




2D Platformer



C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  4/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date None   Australian release date Out now   


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