They say that the giant panda is an endangered species, with an estimated two to three thousand roaming wild in central China. Considerably less endangered is the sudoku-esque number puzzle game, with fresh examples popping up all the time.
If that sounds like an odd combination, blame Glu. The developer has put together another of its 2-4-1 packages featuring Crosspix – a sudoku-esque puzzler - and Poppin’ Panda – a match-three Zuma clone.
Crosspix remains an excellent game, taking the rather dry bones of a number puzzle game and adding a good dose of charm. For example, as you fill out each grid according to the numerical information at hand you begin to form a simple picture, such as an item of clothing or an animal. This extra element of recognition really adds a layer of personality to the game.
Further personality is added by the cute museum hub world that ties all the puzzles together, giving it something of a Japanese action-RPG feel. As Rob put it in his review:
“In terms of presentation and depth… Crosspix is comfortably ahead of its competition in this credibly populated puzzle sub-genre, thanks to its simple but effective setting.”
Poppin’ Panda is another fun game, although it has to be said that it hasn’t aged as well as its companion. This Zuma clone sees you firing coloured marbles into a winding row of the things, aiming to match three or more and thus stall the line’s gradual progress. Despite the obvious inspiration, though, Stu had this to say in his review:
“Poppin' Panda's basic concept might be exceptionally unoriginal, but Glu has made a big effort to make the actual gameplay a step on from Zuma”
This comes in the shape of multiple firing points and the ability to bounce your shots off walls. However, such features have been included in subsequent additions to the genre, and the game as a whole has been bettered several times. The likes of Luxor Quest cast Poppin’ Panda in a slightly unflattering light.
Still, as an extra to the brilliant Crosspix it’s well worth a play, and its easy going style complements Crosspix’s meaty challenges nicely. As a package, Glu’s latest effort deserves to populate mobile phones the world over.