Jun 29, 2011

Nano Panda

Edit: The next three reviews will cover Nano Panda, Burn the Rope, and Cut the Rope (all recently release puzzle games that hit the same part of the brain). The first two are currently available in the Android Market and Cut the Rope is set for imminent release on the Android Market and can be obtained from getjar.com until then.

Nano Panda is another entry into the crowded genre of cute puzzle games. The premise is simple... you launch the tiny nano pandas and try to get them to touch (and destroy) the angry faces (aka evil atoms). The game tries to cash in on the cute puzzler genre with cute little pandas being tossed about instead of red dots, but it really doesn't hit the same level of cuteness as Angry Birds (I'm convinced cuteness is at least 50% of the reason that title is so successful) or Cut the Rope (he looks so sad when he doesn't get his candy!).

Now if all you had to do was launch pandas then that wouldn't be too interesting so let's add that when multiple pandas are in play they attract one another. It's easier to understand when you see it, but the attraction is basically like gravity. If the pandas are close they attract and swing around in a small ball, but if they were far away they zip towards and right by one another covering a much larger area. It's this swinging and chaining of panda that allows you to get them to knock off all of the bad guys. Add that the screen also contains spiked areas that kill off your pandas upon contact and you've got yourself a game.

The graphics of Nano Panda are fine for a puzzle game as is the sound. No glaring deficiencies and nothing earth shattering either. The controls are simple... touch a launcher to release a panda. The key to the game is figuring out the order and timing in which to release them. As you would expect, the game comes with several confidence builder puzzles to show how to launch and then how the pandas attract one another, but soon you'll get to stages that are quite difficult.

qrcodeDo I like this game? Yes and no. Yes, because it is pretty well executed... works on my phone AND tablet just fine... is pretty simple to play... and was just a dollar (I bought it the day before it was Amazon's free app of the day... aargh). No, because I find myself all too often resorting to trial and error versus thinking to solve the puzzles. This isn't necessarily the game's fault, but rather more a factor of the game's complexity and figuring out the results of the gravitational pull of two of more celestial bodies of equal mass is perhaps a bit too much for me when I'm sitting down for some entertainment. In a nutshell, it's faster for me to do trial and error rather than plotting things out and I suspect most will share that sentiment. I'm sure some are more inclined to processing this kind of puzzle and perhaps want a real challenge... if so then this is for you, but you'll have to resist that trial and error temptation. The bottom line is that I suspect this kind of puzzler will have a more limited appeal than a game like Cut the Rope and it really hasn't been able to hook me. 3.5/5 stars. There are both a full paid version and a free version in the Android Market should you wish to try this game.

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