Penarium – Full of surprises & laughs


Penarium is an upcoming PC title made by Self Made Miracles, and published by Team17.

At the recent Insomnia52 , one of UK’s largest gaming festivals, We had the chance to speak with Bethany Aston from Team17 on  this indie title.

“Penarium  – A Sadistic Circus Extravaganza!”

In Penarium you play as Willy, a quirky anti-hero in a frantic 2D arena, fighting for his life. As fate would have it, Willy was on his way to the circus – where contestants have to run, jump and do anything and everything possible to avoid certain gruesome death –  accidentally entering the wrong queue, Willy finds himself as a contestant instead of being part of the sadistic crowd that’s currently cheering the contestants on.

Single Player Mayhem

In it’s single player game mode, it’s an arcade-stylised survival game where players have to avoid an inane variety of traps in a chaotic platformer that grows exponentially turbulent overtime. “You’re going to die in the end anyway!”, chimed Aston, whilst trying to stifle her own giggling; and of course – our character did fall prey to the crazy circus moments later – of which had us laughing.

With the thousands of hazards that can be thrown at you every single time, Penarium is easy to jump into but difficult to master. You never know what’s coming next.  A device that scrolls across the top of the screen will constantly work against you – it might start shooting bullets at you, drop a heavy demolition ball or spew torrents of water.

When your heart skips a beat as you somehow manage to survive that wave of disaster thrown into your face, before you could applaud yourself and question the possibility that you might have accidentally tapped into your hidden potential for the next eSports professional – you’re absolutely disfigured by one of Aston’s favourite hazards – the Chinese Dragon.

Multiplayer Chaos

After our quick, and oddly humorous death, Aston informed us that the game does have multiplayer modes available.  We jumped at the chance and went straight for Versus mode, challenging Aston to take on the circus against us. If anything, the single player mode was an inking of the potential anarchy when two players are allowed into the pit.

There are two modes of Multiplayer available – Local Co-Op and Versus. All the same hazards from the single player mode makes their appearance, but with the addition of another player – it charges things up a little. In Versus mode the two players will attempt to survive the onslaught of traps, while trying to sabotage and bring about the downfall of the enemy. It takes two to tango in this dance to death, and the circus is our stage.

Future plans of any changes to the multiplayer game modes are still ambiguous, “It’s two players local co-op,” Aston said. “This is just it, at the moment. Over the course of the shows we’ve watched different kinds of people playing it and it’s a hilarious game to watch.”

More Than Worms

Team17 isn’t resting on its laurels. The company known most famously for the Worms franchise enjoys a cult following on its newer releases on the Worms Universe, as well as a vibrant player base thriving in the undying classic – Armageddon.


Founded in 1990, Team17 Digital Limited is a leading independent developer and digital publisher headquartered in West Yorkshire (UK).

In the recent times, the industry veteran is seen to be forging ahead and pushing global expansions on its third-party publishing program. Less than half a month ago, Team17 announced their collaboration with Self Made Miracles to release the fantastically sadistic circus extravaganza Penarium on PC later this year. Self Made Miracles is an independent game studio based in the Netherlands, Utrecht.

What To Expect
Penarium’s charm lies in its apparent simplicity, and its absurdly easy to pick up – either for the 10 minute tea break or to kill time on lazy Saturday mornings. While an actual release date has not been set, Penarium is expected to arrive late 2014.

In the mean time though, you can check out various other Team17 published titles that are currently only Steam’s early access. The Escapist and Overruled! come to mind, and they are, like Penarium, part of Team17’s third party publishing program.


About Bethany Aston

Bethany Aston is a Senior PR Executive at Team17 Digital. She is one of MCV’s 30 Under 30 2013, a collection of the brightest minds and rising stars in games, retail, publishing, events, marketing PR and journalism.

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