I fondly remember playing Pang when it first came out in the late 80s. The idea was simple – playing as one of two cartoony characters who looked like park rangers, you had to fire harpoons at bubbles bouncing down at you from above in order to save the world’s most precious landmarks (and yourselves) from destruction.
Based on the arcade classic, Pang: Magical Michael sees you going on a similar mission but this time it’s all your own dong as a failed magical experiment has once again unleashed the colourful bubbles. Quite how a bubble can harm you I’m not quite sure – maybe it’ll pop near your eyes and you’ll get soap in them? Anyway, I digress. The game has a few modes for you to play through. You can play through Tour Mode where you try to save all the landmarks round the world, Panic Mode which is basically survival mode as you battle against an endless stream of bubbles and multiplayer mode where you can play against a friend locally or over Wi-Fi.
It’s great to see the game spans across both screens of the DS. In single player modes you fire up to the top screen and can climb ladders to take the action up there, and in multiplayer mode you can see your opponent as you blow bubbles at each other similar to throwing blocks over to an opponent in a multiplayer game of Tetris. I’m not sure you’d want to play multiplayer in public though as blowing into the DS always look odd and even worse when you try to disguise the fact you’re spitting all over your screen!
The graphics are a bit disappointing, especially because the Michael character is so small. There’s certainly less detail in him compared to the comic style of the earlier arcade game. There are, however. Many power-ups to collect to make the game more than just shooting bubbles – you can get double shots, protectors and a few other things to collect to make sure your Pang experience goes with a bang.
It’s not going to revolutionise gaming as we know it but it does stand up as a fun arcade experience. It gets a good 6 out of 10.
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