Ahhhh, Pang. A game that I remember playing when I was a wee lad. Being an 80’s kid, I enjoyed the glory days of the C64 and Spectrum, Amiga and Atari ST… and Pang was around back then. Pang was always one of those arcades I’d happily search for as a kid when I was dragged to holiday parks during the school holidays, and if I found it, I’d happily dump my holiday funds into it.
Pang is a simple enough game to get to grips with. You’re a kid with a harpoon gun, there’s balloons bouncing around the room and you always shoot straight up. Oh, and there’s a couple of extra points. The ‘alien’ balloons kill you if they touch you, once burst they divide into smaller balloons and the balloons also can move and react in different ways- all with the intent to try and kill you. Only once the smallest balloons are burst, will they disappear. This has been the basic gameplay focus since its release many years ago.
Pang has enjoyed multiple sequels over its birth and this version is the 2016 Pang Adventures that was released on other platforms previously.
In Pang adventures, the player is presented with 3 modes to enjoy, Tour, Score Attack and Panic Mode.
In Tour Mode, the player is presented with a short and skippable cut scene where we find Earth is under attack from aliens, who, for some reason, are dumping these balloons/bubbles around the world, and so a call for help from the Pang brothers is broadcast…and that’s where you (and a second player if you wish) get involved.
Each area of the world in Tour Mode is divided into 15 levels, with each level introducing new types of balloons and weapons to help and hinder you. The levels are well crafted, and some become quite the puzzle, encouraging the player to think about what balloons to burst and when, what bricks to smash to reveal power ups and how to do all of this to sometimes a very tight time limit. Each level is required to be completed with one life, forcing a restart if you die, however, this works fine and with me, really encouraging the ‘just one more go’ feeling.
After each area of 15 levels is complete, you have a boss fight as you fly to the next area around the world. These are fought on top of your Pang airplane and involve more chaotic balloon avoidance but this time also having to hit weak spots on a large alien – all good silly fun.
The Tour mode continues in this manner until you fight your way into space for the ultimate showdown against a huge alien mothership providing one final new element to the gameplay – the ability to fire rockets and into the background.
The power-ups you can gain also really do offer a good variety for gameplay and ways to solve some levels in order to proceed. Weapons such as the machine gun, magnum and ninja stars are particularly fun, but the one that stands out for me is the laser gun- BOOM!
Other cool items that can help you on your progress include the VERY useful sand timer which freezes time, the obligatory shield to enable you to take a hit and even a stick of dynamite which instantly pops every balloon into their smallest sizes-making for quite the chaotic scene!
Let’s not forget the level designs too. As you progress through the game you’re presented with more and more ways to play and avoid those pesky balloons. These range from moving walls, springs to thrust you upwards, laser walls that you can/can not pass through and even animals crawling around the levels that can help you immensely (if you think carefully).
Then we have the balloons. You have traditional balloons which bounce around the room and against the walls, balloons which zig-zag around the room ignoring gravity, balloons that drop electricity on to the player if popped by harpoons (nasty those) and balloons which contain other unpleasantries such as smoke clouds, lava and slime.
Yes, it probably reads that I’ve enjoyed this game. Well, I have. This is a cheap eshop game and, although I finished the main Tour Mode in under 3 hours, the game is very repayable. It’s super fun in 2 player and the other 2 modes, Score Attack and Panic Mode, all add to longevity. Score Mode is the Tour Mode AGAIN, but this time you have 3 lives and must progress as far as you can, but with no time limit on each level thank goodness. And then there’s Panic Mode…Now THIS is fun and a REAL challenge. How long can you last? It’s that simple. Balloons just keep on coming, and boy, you need to be ready to shoot, dodge and dive as the balloons can get bouncing everywhere.
With a nice combo score multiplier system, cute cartoony graphics and all sorts of stats you can display of your play, Pang Adventures is fun. Just fun. It’s not groundbreaking, it’s not got the best music… BUT for its price, it’s great. It’ll be a game that if it’s your cup of tea, and you enjoy a game with a simple story mode but an addictive marathon mode, then you’ll keep on coming back to this every now and then because of that ‘just one more go’ feeling…
REVIEW CODE: A FREE Nintendo Switch code was provided to Brash Games for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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