Obviously there should be a city-builder about penguins, so try the demo for this one

An upcoming city builder asks the hard, important questions we all like to ask sometimes: What if penguins built a city? Wouldn't that be cool? United Penguin Kingdom says that yes, in fact, that would be pretty cool. You can try it for free, today, via a demo version on Steam called United Penguin Kingdom: Huddle Up, which includes about an hour and a half of gameplay covering the first year of a penguin settlement.

Penguins of course need things like entertainment and luxury goods. Merry-go-rounds and ice skating rinks and go-karts and the like. That'll take resources, gathered from not just their Antarctic environment but from the seas: We do leave plenty of usable plastic trash floating out there. They also need to build  submarines and hot air balloons to explore the world.

Lest you think it's all fun and games, it's not. The penguins must defend their settlement as well, guarding it from the jealous thieving raids of seals, who'll come en masse to steal your stuff. There's also the lurking threat of killer whales, who'll surface to destroy buildings that hang off the side of your ice sheet.

It's a rather different game, but much of the aesthetic appeal here resembles what I like about beaver-centric city builder Timberborn. Nothing like the elaborate water physics and dams and cycles of drought present there, but it does have the same aesthetic appeal: Goofy animals doing things that they really shouldn't be able to do. How does a penguin drive that submarine, even? It doesn't have hands.

United Penguin Kingdom proper is aiming to release in the first half of 2024. It's developed by Turquoise Revival Games, who previously made city-builder Oxygen, about a post-apocalyptic world where the atmosphere had lost much of its breathable air. Oxygen was pretty middle of the road, but apparently went well enough for Turquoise to get another shot at city-building glory.

You can find United Penguin Kingdom and its demo, United Penguin Kingdom: Huddle Up on Steam.

Jon Bolding is a games writer and critic with an extensive background in strategy games. When he's not on his PC, he can be found playing every tabletop game under the sun.