As a mobile game lover, I have recently become bored of the same old regurgitated mechanics: the Temple Run-like, quick-reaction running games, or physics-based puzzle games that achieve little more than a place in the colossal shadow of Angry Birds. But my confidence in iOS games may have just returned to me, thanks to Pangolin. It’s a breath of fresh air, a gaming experience I haven’t felt for a while, and most importantly (for me, at least), it’s extremely challenging.
Pangolin offers several worlds, each with their own style and difficulty. Unlike many puzzle games, however, the first world (named Education) contains only three tutorial levels and 10 puzzles, whereas the next few worlds feature 40 levels. And the difficulty increases just as quickly as each world’s puzzle capacity. As of now, the first world is the only one I have managed to fully complete!
The aim of each level is to tap on-screen with two fingers at once, creating a trampoline for the lovable character to bounce from, and with any luck, collect all gems and coins on the way to the goal. Each level contains (you guessed it) three gems that are often placed off the path you would usually take to the goal, requiring you to rethink where you use your precious trampolines.
What makes Pangolin both fun and challenging is how a slightly incorrectly-placed trampoline could send the character hurtling into a wall instead of the desired location. Thankfully, a quick right-swipe will reset the puzzle immediately. Another thing to consider when placing trampolines is the size of them. The bigger the distance between your two fingers, the greater the velocity the character will gain from the bounce. So not only do you need to learn through repetition of a level which way you must go, but you also need to have the precision and the skill to get there.
As if things aren’t hard enough, other obstacles are soon introduced. Spikes cause failure on impact, removing any chance of an occasional fluke shot, making precision even more important. Moving platforms and other large physics-based objects add timing and weight elements that must each be fully understood in order to reach the goal safely.
Feedtank has played it safe with a typical iOS art style. The comical sound effects and cartoon graphics are great for any iOS game, but I can’t help but feel a new, refreshing art style, combined with the great mechanics, could form one of the top games on the App Store to date. The menu music is very nice, but there is no in-game music; only ambient sounds, which work well in any puzzle game.
The studio of Feedtank specialise in the development of ‘playful interactive experiences,’ and like with many of their other games and applications, they have succeeded. Pangolin sure offers a playful experience. It’s a perfect example of simple things done right. The tricky yet highly satisfying puzzles, combined with the interesting control scheme, grant hours of fun. If you’re looking for a new puzzle-platformer game, look no further – Pangolin is fantastic!