Pang Adventures - I'm getting pangs for the days of the arcade
| Pang Adventures

There's a current trend on the App Store for refitting arcade classics.

It started with Crossy Road, and we've seen mobile-focused reinventions of the likes of Q*Bert, Snake, and Pac-Man in the past few months.

Pang Adventures has gone in the opposite direction though. Rather than reshaping itself for the free to play market, it's focused on what made the original Pang such a hit – the fact that it was as hard as nails.

Throw in a smooth-edged polishing of the graphics, and you're left with an intriguing prospect that tightens its compulsion loop with every near-miss and tragic failure.

What's a Pang?

For those of you not in the know, Pang is a game about shooting bubbles. You play a be-hatted hero tasked with ridding the world of the bouncing, poppable aliens that have invaded.

To do that you fire a spiky gun at them. The levels take place on a single screen, and there's more than a small element of puzzling here - when should you fire, when should you pick up the power-ups, and which of the blocks in your way need taking out first?

But it's reaction testing that takes up the bulk of the game. There's a twitchy feel here, as you dodge left and right as bubbles cascade down on you.

Pop one and it splits into two, leaving you a step closer to finishing, but also a step closer to bubble-based annihilation.

There are different guns to collect as you play, although most of them only last a limited time. Machine guns blast out a stream of projectiles, flame throwers shoot out bursts of flame with a limited range, and the double spike, which is infinite, gives you a second shot straight after the first.

There are single-hit shields as well. Then there's an assortment of food and other items that burst bubbles drop - grabbing one of these adds a healthy boost to your score.

And score is the big focus here. Finishing a level is all well and good, but finishing it with the score required to earn three hats (the game's equivalent of stars), means chaining together combos of bubble pops and avoiding missing anything.

Now I know what a pang is, I'd like one

I thought you might. Pang Adventures might not be the most intriguing reshuffle of an older game on the App Store, but it's probably one of the most entertaining.

The action here is fast and sharp, and the short levels feel like they were designed for mobile play. And that drive to keep playing, even when you fail, is just as imposing as ever.

Chuck in some boss fights, a whole bunch of different modes, and a control scheme that works brilliantly, and you're left with a game that bursts with enjoyment.

I'm so sorry about that pun.

Pang Adventures - I'm getting pangs for the days of the arcade

An excellent version of an arcade legend, Pang Adventures is an update and a history lesson rolled into one
Harry Slater
Harry Slater
Harry used to be really good at Snake on the Nokia 5110. Apparently though, digital snake wrangling isn't a proper job, so now he writes words about games instead.