Title: Pang Adventures
Genre: Action & Arcade
Platform: Nintendo Switch, PS4, Xbox One, PC
Audience: E for Everyone
Release Date: Switch: 3/1/2019
Price: £8.66 – Rapid Reviews UK was very kindly provided with a review code.
What the Developers say
The Pang series is a beloved collection of arcade video games from the early 90s. Guide two brothers on a quest around the world to save humankind from a massive alien invasion! Use your wits and skills to overcome the attack balls pouring from the skies and rescue the world’s cities and landmarks from impending annihilation!
Pang is series that goes back all the way to an arcade release in 1989, known as Buster Brothers in the US. It was converted to major home computer systems, such as the Commodore 64, EDX Spectrum, and Commodore Amiga. Multiple sequels and compilations appeared later on consoles, such as the Super Nintendo and PlayStation before 2016’s Pang Adventures came out for current gen consoles. Now, Pang Adventures can be found on the Nintendo Switch, and it’s every bit as fun as the titles from the past.
In Pang Adventures you control a boy who must pop balloons that are dropping from the sky with your harpoon gun. Every time you pop a balloon though, it splits into two smaller balloons. As the balloons fall thicker and faster from the top of the screen, it becomes about managing how and when to pop them. Do you pop all the larger ones first leaving you with double the amount to deal with, but smaller targets to dodge, or do you focus on one balloon at a time?
Looks and Sounds
Graphically, Pang Adventures goes for a hand-drawn art style as opposed to its sprite-based nature from previous titles. Everything in the foreground, including characters, items, and the balloons use this style, while the backgrounds use a style more akin to being painted or even photographic. This blend enables the foreground characters to stand out against the background which is useful when the proceedings start to get intense. While the music is fine and upbeat, there is only one track per destination you go, so you’ll be hearing too much of the same tunes.
Gameplay and Replayability
The main bulk of your time will probably be spent on the Tour mode, which is essentially the campaign. This sees your character travelling around the world to fight an alien threat. To aid you on your balloon-popping quest are a number of powerups that sometimes appear on the playing field. These include a rapid-fire gun that temporarily replaces your harpoon gun, a force field that will allow you to take a hit without losing a life, and a sand timer that will stop all the balloons on the screen, allowing you to get a few free hits in.
Of course, there are more than just balloons falling from the sky and the level design will change the further you get into the game. For example, platforms will change the trajectory of the balloons or animals such as crabs can be used to your advantage to pop balloons for you. Sometimes the environment itself will cause you just as much of a threat as the balloons.
There is a time limit for each level, and later levels almost become more puzzle focused as you will need to think about the best way to use everything available to you in the level to pop the balloons in time. This is even truer if you want to hit the target score given for each level and it’s this interesting premise of puzzle-like action that gives Pang Adventures its real hook.
Hitting multiple balloons without missing a shot will build your combo meter, and if you make it through a level without one misplaced shot, you will receive a nice score bonus at the end of the stage. Sometimes gaining these bonus’s are imperative if you want to hit the score target, so you will have to be sure to hone your shooting skills for maximum accuracy.
There are boss battles after every 15 levels, and these are a nice diversion from the regular stages keeping the proceedings interesting. Defeating a boss will see you moving on to the next country and the next set of levels. As well as being able to play Tour mode in single-player, Pang Adventures also includes a clever local co-op mode. Playing with two players increases your target score to compensate for the potential extra help you now have and the distinct advantage of having extra firepower. You can also revive your companion if they get hit.
Along with Tour mode, there are two other modes available: Score mode, which is unlocked after completing Tour mode, and Panic mode. In Panic mode is a survival type of mode which gives you three lives in which to rack up the highest score possible while trying to reach level 99. These scores will then be posted to the online leaderboards, and this mode is very fun and insanely addictive. The incentive to increase your score and get ever closer to the top of the leaderboards will see you returning often, and it’s all fun in the process.
The controls are as simple and responsive as they need to be, with movement being handled with the left analogue stick and firing your weapon with the A button. These simple controls never hindered me in what I needed to do, and the multiplayer can also be played with one Joy-Con each which is always good to have more controlling options.
Overall, Pang Adventures manages to include everything that made the series so much fun to play in the past, while adding a few new elements to polish the experience. The Switch is becoming a great portable arcade machine with many arcade classics already available, and Pang Adventures, fortunately, does enough well to belong among these classics. While the campaign isn’t too long, the option of having two players and the great high score chasing modes mean I’ll be coming back frequently if I need an arcade fix.
Rapid Reviews UK Rating
You can purchase Aaero: Complete Editon on the Nintendo eShop on the following link, https://www.nintendo.co.uk/Games/Nintendo-Switch-download-software/Pang-Adventures-1492794.html