The latest release by Ratalaika Games, Panda Punch is a simple 2D platformer featuring a panda that looks like a fox in a 2D, pixel-based side-scrolling platformer. Gifted a metal arm, you take the fight to your enemies by smacking every with your brutal Jax fist.
Panda Punch’s flaws immediately become apparent in the open moments as the stage design requires abilities that the player will not unlock for some time, which is confusing and time wasting. Instead of traversing one large cohesive map, replaying individual levels to artificially increase the campaign’s run time is deceptively annoying.
If you look at the main banner art or any screenshot, you’ll notice the playable panda has a metal right arm. However, as soon as the player moves to the left, the metal arm magically and instantly switches to his left arm. So does he have two metal arms? Or does it teleport from arm to arm in an instant depending on perspective? Having a misleading arm doesn’t hold a candle to the camera issues, however. Simply facing the opposite direction causes the screen to jerk in one large swing which actually started to give me nauseum over time. Making matters worse, the camera moves so fast when you activate a switch off-screen that it becomes disorientating at best.
Speaking of activating switches, you better enjoy doing this because it is the action you will do the most. If you are not punching a switch then you are pushing a box on top of a switch. There are so many blocks to push this can be considered a sokoban game instead of a platformer.
The final aspect that I’ll mention that doesn’t make any sense is the shop feature. You see, your father runs the shop. Which means your own flesh and blood is exploiting his son for money… an appendage that was given to you by your Dad. It is bad enough that he is putting his son in harm’s way but now he wants to get rich off his son’s suffering and hard work in combat. A loving father would take on the fighting himself. Or at least give him the weapon upgrades so he will be as safe as possible during this perilous time. I thought the fight between Alucard and Dracula was pretty messed up but Panda Punch smokes this iconic family feud right out of the water.
I enjoy most Ratalaika releases but Panda Punch simply has too many annoyances and inconsistency to make it a firm recommendation. To be fair, it only costs $5 and has some easy, big point Achievements that won’t take long to unlock so it isn’t all bad.
Not As Good As: Felix The Cat (NES)
Also Play: Popeye (original Gameboy)
Wait For It: Dandy and Randy 2
By: Zachary Gasiorowski, Editor in Chief myGamer.com
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