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Magical Michael Pang Review
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One of my favourite games on the Amiga and Atari ST was this cute addictive action puzzler called Pang. The premise of the game was simple; you shot harpoons vertically up with your character at a bunch of bouncing balls. They would pop into smaller balls until they eventually disappeared through continual popping. Sounds like a very basic game but it had layers of strategy, had us touring famous landmarks as we progressed and also had an amazing soundtrack. Much to my surprise the game has a rebirth on the Nintendo DS.

This time round we meet an all new character called Michael who has been stylised to look like a cross between Willy Wonka and a pimp. It is an odd choice of character that doesn’t add to the games likeability one iota. Couple this with the irritating sound and unfunny one liner’s and you already have the workings for a revival that has put me off. In the original pang you play a small kid that looks to be wearing a type of Safari uniform, end level screens will show the character very happy at your progress with his overly anime eyes bulging. It was an endearing character that had attention to detail. Why the developers felt the need to toy with the original creation seems a little absurd and to completely ruin the character re-design really lets the game down in the overall picture.

Much of the core game play remains unspoilt and instead of your character using harpoons they’ll use magical spells that can vary from twenty different available options. Throughout our time playing the game we witnessed fire, vines which would stay on the game area, a slow down power-up and a very cool card fanning trick which really helped you out under pressure. These power-ups could be used consecutively to further the strategy within the game. The main appeal about Magical Michael Pang is the gameplay elements themselves. If you think just bursting balls as fast as possible is the best way to go, you will die easily. As you pop the balls they will multiply into smaller balls and the game area can really become rather intense. Given that you will die if any of the balls touch you, really makes this action puzzler a thinking mans game, but one that can be played by all ages.

One new welcomed addition is the fact that play will take place on both of the DS screens on the majority of levels, as you progress you’ll be climbing ladders attempting to pop balls from two platforms. Balls have their own variety and physical properties too which you’ll need to learn over time. The games tour mode does set you going through major continent landmarks. Unfortunately the cheap presentation style does not help tour mode’s appeal but you will unlock the hair tearing difficult hard mode if you persist. Graphically the game is very weak indeed, landmarks are badly stylised and lack real colour depth creating in an experience that you’ll really struggle wanting to complete as even the grading system fails to ignite the interest either. The game does have quite a ‘bang’ for its £20.00 buck though, 40 tour mode levels, 99 levels in panic mode and then you have the single cart and multi-cart multiplayer.

The multiplayer offers competitive play in abundance, we really enjoyed putting the pressure on the opponents screen with a continual assault of ball popping and panic mode is great if you want a long session. Pang also offers the same addictive co-operative play the original had, though the levels created were not so much created with co-operative in mind, so there is no real rewarding experience for playing this game in a co-op manner.

Magical Michael Pang for the DS is a good game but one that lacks the polish both in the audio and graphic department to become a true DS classic, more attention to detail in this department (in particularly finding a voice over artist that you don’t want to punch in the nose) and it could have been our crested four star mark, as it stands it just falls short.

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Magical Michael Pang Review, 10.0 out of 10 based on 1 rating
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    a WordPress rating system
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