Penguins are a species of flightless bird found in the Mario series. They are good swimmers and often inhabit cold climates, like their real-world counterparts, to which they bear varying degrees of resemblance, depending on the game. Many also inhabit tropical areas, as seen in Super Mario Galaxy and Super Mario Galaxy 2. Most of them do not hurt Mario, though they sometimes act as obstacles or hindrances to his quest. Benevolent penguins often speak with Mario, sometimes asking for his help or offering him a service.
Penguins from the Mario franchise are colored a moderate dark shade of blue with white bellies, making them similar to Bumpties. They also resemble fairy penguins, the smallest species of penguin, also colored dark blue. In some games, the back of their heads is tapered by a small crest. However, the Penguru and Coach are colored similar to king penguins.
Super Mario series
Super Mario 64/Super Mario 64 DS
Penguins were given a minor role in Super Mario 64 and its remake Super Mario 64 DS, where they could be seen in the level Cool, Cool Mountain. In the game, a Mother Penguin had lost her baby Tuxie and asks Mario to find her. Mario finds her and is awarded with a Power Star. Also, later, Mario has to race down a long, icy slide and get to the finish line before a champion sledder does. If Mario wins, he will be awarded with another Power Star. Also, in Snowman's Land, there's another Penguin on the bridge leading to the top of the giant snowman. The Penguin can be used to sneak around the giant snowman head.
Super Mario Galaxy
In Super Mario Galaxy, Penguins reappear residing in the Loopdeeloop Galaxy, Sea Slide Galaxy, Drip Drop Galaxy, Buoy Base Galaxy, Loopdeeswoop Galaxy, and Beach Bowl Galaxy. There is also one lone penguin in Freezeflame Galaxy, and an elderly penguin named Penguru in the Drip Drop Galaxy, Bigmouth Galaxy, and Sea Slide Galaxy. Usually, the Penguins will challenge Mario to some sort of water challenge, such as surfing, collecting shells, or racing them. They are quite friendly, and will give Mario tips on how to swim, or even help him find Silver Stars. In the Loopdeeloop Galaxy and Loopdeeswoop Galaxy, the penguins spend their time surfing on Manta Rays. They also have a Coach which is a black penguin bigger than normal penguins who teaches Mario (and Luigi) how to use shells to swim with. The penguins in this game are shown to live in more tropical areas than the previous games, which had penguins living mainly in cold areas. The penguin race mission of Sea Slide Galaxy contains a penguin smaller than Mario and any other penguin found in the game. This penguin can be found walking around the lighthouse.
Super Mario Galaxy 2
Penguins reappear in Super Mario Galaxy 2. In this game, the Penguins appear only in one galaxy; the Cosmic Cove Galaxy. They appear with Penguru (who also appeared in Hightail Falls Galaxy) and Coach in all levels of the galaxy. In the first level, Penguins are all throughout giving Mario hints on how to swim and leading him along.
In the second level of the Cosmic Cove Galaxy, a Luma has been trapped in a cage and all the Penguins have gone searching around the galaxy to find the key. They lead Mario in the correct direction and give him many hints on how to swim. After Mario has completed this second mission, one penguin will appear on Starship Mario and tell Mario how to swim whenever spoken to.
Super Mario Odyssey
Penguins populate the Snow Kingdom from Super Mario Odyssey. They bear a large resemblance to the penguins of previous games, but do not appear to be sapient and behave like other bird species from the game, flying away if Mario approaches them (despite real penguins' inability to fly). Additionally, unlike the penguins of previous games, their eyes are located closer to the sides of their heads instead of on the front, potentially to make them look less anthropomorphic.
Mario Kart 64
Penguins appear around Sherbet Land from Mario Kart 64. They push away and spin any racer that bumps into them. Some of them move across the track from side to side and attack by laying on their bellies and sliding, while the penguins found in caverns simply waddle in pairs around giant columns. In the same course, a giant Penguin can be seen circulating on an unreachable ice island.
Mario Kart: Super Circuit
Mario Kart Wii
Penguins appear in Mario Kart Wii, with the return of the N64 Sherbet Land, and behave identically to how they did in Mario Kart 64.
Mario Kart 7
Penguins in Mario Kart 7 are not as powerful as the ones from previous games. Racers that bump into them will simply lose some momentum without spinning out. They are encountered in the underwater portion of Rosalina's Ice World where they swim around in circles, and are also found waddling on Sherbet Rink.
Mario Pinball Land
In Mario Pinball Land, Penguins appear to be in the Frosty Frontier Stage; if Mario hits one of them, the Penguin will slip down to the icy floor, waddling while sliding. If Mario hits it one more time while the Penguin is down lying on the icy floor, he will earn 2,000 points. While sliding, if a Penguin hits another waddling Penguin, the other Penguin slips down to the icy floor while sliding as the process repeats.
Mario Party series
The Penguins also appear in the Mario Party series (such as in the minigame Pushy Penguin from Mario Party 5). They are not to be confused with Bumpties, who are shorter, smaller, and generally appear mainly in the Yoshi series, with a few exceptions.
Mario Party 5
A mob of penguins appear in the minigame Pushy Penguins as they run across from the right side of the screen and dive into the water to the left. The players must avoid the penguins and find gaps between to avoid being pushed off.
Mario Party 6
A penguin appears as one of the friends that need to be found in the minigame Lab Brats.
Mario Party Advance
Mario Party Advance features a multiplayer game called Penguin Race, which involves two to four players controlling Penguins. Player one uses a blue Penguin, player two uses a green Penguin, player three controls a red Penguin, and player four controls a yellow Penguin. The Penguin's performance in the race is based solely on the player's single-player minigame records, and the player with the best records is the one who wins. A distinct Penguin character also appears at the Ice Game Room.
Mario Party 8
One Penguin appears as a racer in Moped Mayhem in Mario Party 8. A penguin is also hiding in Specter Inspector. It also appears in the minigame Cardiators as a card, if their card is drawn either one penguin or a group of penguins will charge at the opponent.
Mario Party 9
In Mario Party 9, Penguins appear as obstructions in the minigame Polar Extreme, simply wandering on the various chunks of ice in the water. Hitting them results in a player being stunned. Like the other players, they can be stomped on, but this does not affect them.
Mario Party: Island Tour
Penguins appear in Mario Party: Island Tour in the minigames Slip 'n' Slip and Go with the Floe.
Mario Party: The Top 100
Penguins appear in Mario Party: The Top 100 in the returning Mario Party 5 minigames, Pushy Penguins and Later Skater.
Super Mario Party
Penguins appear in Super Mario Party as non-playable characters. Penguins are found in the minigame Tall Order, where they move the bowl that the players must shave ice into. They are also featured in Penguin Pushers, where the players must corral baby Penguins into a pen.
Mario Strikers Charged
Penguins appear in Mario Strikers Charged as part of the audience.
Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Winter Games
In Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Winter Games, Penguins appear as spectators in Dream Curling. Also, one appears as a VIP.
Mario Sports Mix
In Mario Sports Mix, Penguins are seen standing on icebergs in the background of the Sherbet Sea arena in the party game, Smash Skate.
Mario Tennis series
Mario Tennis Open
In Mario Tennis Open, Penguins are line judges in the Penguin Iceberg court.
Mario Tennis Aces
In Mario Tennis Aces, Penguins appear in the audience in some of the courts. In the game's adventure mode, a Penguin appears in Snowfall Mountain, in the level Snowball Fight, where it tells Mario and Toad that they are unable to board the train to Snowfall Mountain, as Shy Guys had taken control of it. After the Shy Guys are defeated, the Penguin allows them to use the train.