Pang For iPhone/Touch Review

A bubble blast from the past, Pang is the game you love and remember from the 80’s, even better today on the iPhone and iPod touch.

Test your reflexes in this hugely addictive official remake, “Pang”, also known as “Buster Bros” in the US.

Travel from Japan to the tropical shores of Hawaii as you take up the task of saving civilisation from dangerously bouncing bubbles that threaten city landmarks across the planet.

Can you save Mount Fuji from being flattened by spherical dangers? Will your reactions be good enough to defend the Eiffel Tower or the Statue of Liberty? Or can you wear them down while saving your own skin?

Everyone’s favourite from the arcades, Pang is easy to learn but difficult to master as you progress through 17 locations saving the world’s attractions with an assortment of weapons from the grappling hook to the twin harpoon. The game is crammed with power-ups including a force field and time freeze; anything to give you the edge over those deadly bubbles!

17 locations, covering 50 levels
An assortment of weaponry
Power-ups and prizes for points
World Tour or Infinite Challenge to choose from
Leaderboards – beat your friends for the highest score
Customisable options suit your style

In the never ending search for gaming on the iPhone, I have seen many styles and genres of games.  Puzzle style games have come to be some of my favorites for several reasons. Short levels and on and off gameplay make an enjoyable experience for me. I usually play during a spare moment and never for very long.

Pang has entered this style of gaming and has proven to be worthy. The levels are playable one at a time and the game is addictive enough to bring me back whenever I have a few spare moments.  It has a simple premise, but it proves to be entertaining and extremely challenging. The game is a remake of an 80s game called Pang or Buster Brothers in the U.S.

Use several different weapons to destroy dangerous bouncing bubbles.  The bubbles start out large, bouncing high and slow.  Each time a bubble is attacked, it splits in two and the bounce is lower and quicker as the bubbles get smaller.  The smallest bubbles move pretty fast and bounce only high enough to just barely clear your man.

An issue with all iPhone games comes with the controls.  Player X has utilized the touch interface in creating a nice control system for Pang.  On the screen shot above, notice the long rectangle.  This is where the character is moved from side to side simply by dragging a thumb.  There is also a menu button and the fire button is on the far right.  I like this set up since there are no fingers or thumbs in the way and the movement is smooth.  It did take a few minutes to get accustomed to the slide technique.

Some tips I have discovered might help you get through the levels on the world tour or stay alive in the infinite challenge.  First, try to eliminate the bubbles one at a time.  I have discovered that the more smaller bubbles on the screen the more difficult it is.  Two, when a grappling hook or harpoon is shot, a character can be moved out of the way.  If the line is still there, a bubble will break when it hits the line.  Do not do this to larger bubbles since they break in two and go separate directions.  I found this to almost always cause me to get caught in the crossfire.  This does work nice on the smallest bubbles to eliminate them from the screen.  The final tip is to utilize obstacles.  They may keep bubbles in a confined area as the rest of the screen is cleared.

Pang is very addictive and entertaining.  The game is put together nicely with great graphics, sounds and controls.  I love the 80s theme and the fact that I can play the game in short spurts and always return to conquer a level.  Pang can be found in the app store for $4.99.  Check it out for some throwback arcade goodness!

What I like: Graphics, sound, and addictive gameplay.  A great arcade remake.

What could be improved: The difficulty kicks up in early rounds, so it can be frustrating as you learn the game.

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About the Author

Travis Ehrlich
Travis is a high school teacher and coach in a small South Texas town. His love for gadgets began at a very early age, and he has been a cross between a jock and a geek for most of his life. He has two boys and a wonderful wife who lets him be a gadget freak. He is a Mac convert and has drank the whole pitcher of Kool-Aid! He is also an avid guitar player and loves the outdoors, especially hunting with both a bow and rifle.