At its core, Happy Feet Two: The Video Game is a movie-based tie in game for children, which almost always means easy achievements for us achievement hunters. But does this game have anything more to it? Well, my short answer is yes and no - it's not as bad as many other children's games and movie tie-in games with low TA ratios, but it certainly has no replay value. Gameplay & Music
Happy Feet Two is part adventure, part puzzler, part platformer, part QTE simulator and rhythm game. The object is to rescue penguins as you complete 54 stages. Each stage is self-contained, and you basically just have to figure out the best way to get around the stage (if it isn't linear, and many of them are), rescue a certain number of penguins required to exit the level (you don't always need every penguin to leave the stage) and make your way to the exit.
Along the way, new elements are introduced. First, you learn how to break ice blocks, and find you can be hurt by spikes. Stone blocks can only be destroyed by emperor penguins. It's easy enough to figure this out as an adult playing the game, since there's a quick pop up that tells you this and the emperor penguins have yellow beaks, but it's extremely easy to miss this if you're a kid playing the game, which is an issue. You learn how to manipulate ice blocks and how to create and use ice poles (which honestly look like stripper poles as your penguin goes around and around in circles). There are birds, which can be defeated either by doing a ground stomp move, or by initiating a QTE rhythm game. Finally, race and boss stages are introduced. There's enough variation to keep it somewhat interesting, but the puzzle stages can get a little tedious.
Alongside the 54 stages (divided into chapters with a certain amount of levels in each), there are 19 songs in the game. The background songs are important, as they dictate what background beat you have to tap along with when you release penguins and find hidden "vibes". The songs honestly aren't all that bad, though if you've listened to them for one too many levels they can get grating (you want to max level a song before moving on to the next one, but any stage can be played with any song you've bought). Given how central music was to the movie franchise this game was based off of, I'd say they actually did an ok job at incorporating music into the gameplay.Controls
The controls are so so. Your penguin moves a little too slowly, and your smash move (Y) is way too slow. There is a quicker way to break ice blocks that's like a jump smash (you have to jump, and then time another jump very specifically right before you hit the ground, and then finally, push Y in mid-air) but it's very picky to pull off - my co-op partner is quite good at getting it off at-will, but I'm pretty terrible at it. If you're not great at pulling off this finicky move, you're going to have a tougher time with the game, because you also need this move to get past bird enemies (the ones that aren't QTEs). It should not be the case that a move that's really necessary to play the game should be so hard to pull off - this becomes even more of a flaw when you consider that this is a children's game.
There aren't too many glitches in the game (except for level 12, which is a glitchy mess for some reason). What you will find is that the game is very picky about where you need to be in order to jump up to a ledge, or to cross a certain area. This isn't a huge issue, but it's irritating when you're around the edge of a ledge and the game won't let you jump up because you're not centered enough.
The biggest issue is the camera. I can see why they went for a fixed camera style. The appeal is evident with the puzzling/platforming aspects of the game. But it's a big problem when everything is various shades of white and blue, and your penguin might be far away from the camera (the camera doesn't always zoom to follow you, especially when you're playing with a co-op partner). I wish that the game would allow for zooming and maybe some rotation (with a fixed viewpoint) - that would improve the camera issues tenfold.Graphics
The graphics are acceptably good for a kid's game. Don't expect anything cutting edge, but the penguins look pretty good. The backgrounds are all ice and snow, which is fine for what the game is meant to be. This game is not the worst offender in terms of graphics. Achievements
The game has 45 achievements, each cleverly named after a song, and takes about 6-8 hours to complete. One of the easiest achievements to get is for pushing the B button 108 times, and honestly, what with Jeb Bush's semi-recent (at the time of writing this) "please clap" debacle, my co-op partner and I exploited the near useless clap feature for laughs during more boring puzzles (the only thing that the clap button is otherwise used for is waking up certain penguins that you need to collect, which is hilariously rude for a children's game).
The achievements are all fairly easy, as is reflected by the 1.2 TA ratio at the time of writing this review. There's a few irritating achievements, like hitting all of the stunt jumps in a race (it requires a specific button press off each jump, and the game's quite picky with what counts), and defeating every boss with no mistakes (which is really only difficult if you have terrible rhythm, but worth mentioning). The toughest achievement is for completing every level of the game in co-op, however, you don't need a co-op partner to get this - just remember to press start on a second controller right before you're about to finish each level. Overall
This is actually not that bad for a children's game, or for those achievement hunters who are looking for for a quick 1000G. I would definitely recommend picking this up if you find it in a bargain bin. Enjoyable and easy, with a few flaws, and nothing to really bring you back to the game once you've finished - 3/5 stars.