Written by  :  Katakis | カタキス (39490)
Written on  :  Dec 26, 2009
Platform  :  Amiga
Rating  :  4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars
write a review of this game
read more reviews by Katakis | カタキス


We're forever bursting bubbles

The Good

Pang is an addictive arcade game where you control someone who looks like a tour guide as you go around 17 continents (areas) and use your grappling hook to burst several bubbles of different sizes that have mysteriously turned up everywhere. To do this, you have to keep bursting them until they are at their minimum size, and then once more to make them evaporate. I would rather pop the bubbles at their minimize size, since they are easy to get under and destroy.

There are some spectacular backdrops that look like they have been ripped straight from the coin-op version of the game. The areas are split into three stages each (with the exception of the last area, and each stage has the same backdrop. However, each stage is set in morning, in the afternoon, and at night. The backdrops look spectacular at night because most of them feature lit skyscrapers that basically look amazing.

Once you have cleared each stage of bubbles, you get to see an animation of your tour guide – which looks a Japanese warrior - doing something while the game awards you with bonuses. I enjoyed watching some of these animations because they are so well designed. Besides, it is nice to watch something other than end-of-level statistics.

At the start of each stage, you see this world map and your plane flying from one continent to the next. There is a hint below the map, which is worth reading as it tells you about new challenges coming up, and it allows you to work out the best strategy on dealing with these challenges.

There are some useful power-ups that you can get from popping some of the big bubbles, and the ones that I found useful are the time freeze and the double-shot pistol. I also like the dynamite which turns bubbles to the minimize size. Bubbles this size are a lot easier to deal with than bigger ones that often come into contact with obstacles. Ten seconds is what you get for collecting the time freeze but that's plenty of time to destroy most of the bubbles on screen.

The music is easy to listen to while you go about bursting bubbles, and I enjoyed the sound effects when you lose a life. The bubbles make this popping sound like what they should sound like.

I read on many review sites that Pang is best played with a friend. It would have been good if I had someone to help me. It would help me deal with the bubbles that are on (or coming over to) my side of the screen while they deal with those over on their side. The stage would also be finished quickly. I have no idea whether the animations would feature the other character apart from the man one.

Controls are simple to get used to. Moving the joystick left or right moves your character in either direction, while pushing it up allows you to climb ladders. Pressing the fire button allows you to fire your hook or double-shot pistol.

The Bad

I didn't like the fact that there is a time limit in which you have to finish a level before it expires. I am always waiting for the right moment to burst the bubbles that approach me. Lucky there is a certain power-up that increases the time.

The Bottom Line

The game has you bursting a series of bubbles within a time limit, and getting the power-ups that are dropped to help you finish the task quickly. The continents you visit are beautiful, and their transition from day to night reflects which of the three stages that you are on. Animations, controls, and sound are good, too. If you feel the need to burst bubbles other than from inside your mouth, then Pang is the game for you.

Pang was a huge success that numerous sequels followed. The home computer versions of these never saw the light of day. This game is also known as Buster Bros., which is a much better word to describe what you are doing in the game. Also don't ask me way, but the Japanese title is Pomping World, which sounds pretty disgusting.