Review: Pang Adventures
Pang (AKA Buster Bros) has been around for years. My first memory of playing it was on an old arcade machine in a dodgy kebab shop a long time ago. Like the best games, the idea is simple. You control one of the Buster Bros who can move left and right. You have a hook which can be fired into the sky, and you must pop the bubbles before you can progress. The bubbles are big to begin, but as you hit them, they split into smaller faster bubbles. Get hit by a bubble and you lose. Simple eh!?
I approached Pang Adventures with some curiosity. How do you make a game which is 32 years old still fun and relevant for a younger audience?
Pang Adventures has three modes to keep you entertained.
- Tour Mode – This is the story mode where you (and a friend) travel the world fighting alien invaders. There are six main areas to visit which have 15 levels. Once you complete the level there is a boss battle against an alien. Each level gets progressively more difficult and introduces new challenges including, lightening bubbles, exploding bubbles, clouds which obscure your view and more. To help you there are new weapons such as a Gatling gun, flamethrower and shotgun to name a few. You are also up against the clock which adds a bit more tension to each level. The levels themselves include using a mixture of skill and strategy for example, if you fire your regular hook at a lightening bubble, it will release a deadly charge of electricity towards you. However, if you fire a gun at the bubble it won’t cause you any harm. You only have one life, so if you die you must restart the level. I had a lot of fun completing this mode despite some of the later levels being extremely challenging. It is very addictive and has the magical “just one more go” effect.
- Score Mode – This is the same as above, but you have three lives to work with and must focus more on getting a high score.
- Panic Mode –Bubbles come down the screen and it gets progressively harder as you reach new through levels. You have three lives to help, but this is one tricky mode.
As the game was published and produced by the awesome DotEmu, it shares the same graphical style as their other games Streets of Rage 4 and Wonderboy: The Dragons Trap. Everything is colourful and pops off the Nintendo Switch screen, especially in handheld mode.
Pang Adventures is the perfect example of what made a lot of the classic arcade games so great. Simplicity is the key to success. Literally anyone can pick up Pang and within seconds understand how the game works. That doesn’t mean you will be a Pang expert! Another trait Pang shares with arcade games is the brutal difficulty. The final boss took me about an hour to beat, but the sense of elation when I won was great. The quick immediate nature of each level is something else I liked. A level can last a few seconds or a minute. If you die you are back in the game within a second, and trust me, it is very addictive. Pang Adventures is a lot of fun and well worth your time.
Pang Adventures is available now on Nintendo Switch, PC, PlayStation and Xbox One.
Review by Chris.