Pang adventures sees two brothers on a quest around the world, with levels taking place in locations such as Bora Bora and Death Valley.
The brothers goal is a simple one: to save humankind from an Alien Invasion – one ball pop at a time.
The series is based on a collection of arcade games from the 90s, and this new addition does a great job of delivering a faithful and enjoyable title, with a modest game length extended by a reasonable level of challenge.
A good challenge:
The basic premise is simple: you need to pop falling alien bubble / ball things(who am I to say, really), within a strict time limit. Each level features this same initial premise, but with additional layers added regularly that test both your wit and reactions.
Initially, the gameplay seemed pretty unremarkable.
However, very quickly, I found myself having to think; and consider how to best approach the level so that I could hit my target within the time limit, as well as avoid getting hit with any bubble’s. There were times where I genuinely thought: “This is literally Dark Souls, but in bubble form”.
This may have been a slight exaggeration. However, similar to Dark Souls, I felt the same kind of euphoric feelings when finally surpassing my first real roadblock: the Bora Bora boss. This game is incredibly rewarding and things did get very tense; very quickly. Some of the levels I found really quite challenging; forcing me to tactically plan out my approach.
For a game that is about popping bubbles, there is actually a fair amount of thinking involved… at least for me!
The bubbles themselves all behave in different ways, and this is something you need to consider when tackling a level. A larger bubble moves relatively slowly, and can be much easier to evade, than say, multiple fast moving smaller bubbles. If you’re not careful, it is easy to be quickly overwhelmed in a bubble minefield; which might sound quite pleasant. It is not.
These considerations and challenges are so important, as without them, this game wouldn’t have much in the way of longevity.
There are three modes that players can take on; the tour mode, which is essentially the game’s story mode(which is perhaps a bit generous, as there really isn’t much in the way of a story here). This is the mode you will likely spend the most time with.
Score attack, a more authentic arcaded style mode unlocked after completing tour mode, that restricts you to three lives and no continues.
And Panic mode, a survival mode, which again restricts you to three lives, as you try to reach level 99. This mode in particular does have a certain addictive quality; I found myself yearning for ‘one last run’ to level 99. Alas, I was unsuccessful.
Each mode allows for online co-op, which encourages an added level of synergy between players; to see who can take down the most balls! Trust me, it is actually really fun.
Pang Adventures art style definitely helped keep me engaged. The games colourful and detailed visuals bring a lot of life to the experience; especially when facing off against the games’ various Alien bosses.
Coupled with some fun sound design, Pang adventures digital palette feels inspired and distinct. From the Icy Arctic tundras, to the tropics of Bora Bora, the game’s backdrops are diverse and intentionally juxtapose with the constant threats you’re facing.
But… is it worth it?
The regular edition of the game runs at a modest £8.99, which I would say is a reasonable price for what you’re getting. But, the game’s longevity is heavily contingent on whether or not you wish to play competitively – that being trying to accrue the highest possible scores, on the various modes. The story mode is pretty short, and this is certainly not a game that you would play for any sort of narrative reason.
However, if you do enjoy the core gameplay loop, which becomes increasingly more thoughtful as the game progresses, then I would say this game is worth your time. The game can be genuinely challenging, and the feeling of finally overcoming a level – through a combination of strategy and fast reflexes – really is quite satisfying.
Pang Adventures successfully focuses on the niche it is trying to fill; putting faith into its core gameplay, to provide a fun and visually engaging experience for players of all ages. If you’re looking to delve into nostalgic waters, or are just up for a challenge that may – or may not be comparable to Dark Souls(allegedly), this might not be a bad addition to your collection.