PAN-PAN’s story is short and basic you play an unnamed character that crash lands on a quiet eerie planet. When she wakes she discovers some other humanoid type beings working on her ship.
At first, you can only assume they’re helping you with no dialogue to help you understand them you have to adventure out onto the planet to find the parts needed to repair your ship coming across various puzzles and challenges before you’re able to reach your goal.
One of the main highlights of PAN-PAN for me was the audio, with no dialogue in the game all the sounds came from the music and sound effects which really got me through some stressful puzzles in the game. With 45 minutes of synths and melodies with 27 different soundtracks, Simon Viklund the sound designer and composer treats us to a range of chilled and delicate sound effects from rocks breaking, soft footsteps and the use of the alien chatter it seemed to flow nicely in this desolate setting.
The world around you is beautifully simple with its pastel colours which really suit the lonely world that surrounds you, it left me in awe listening to the background music and moving the camera around and zooming with the right stick which was used to spot some of the smaller clues during puzzles and left me excited to explore the colourful world.
The art style looks hugely inspired by a game called Monument Valley which isn’t a negative and does really suits this style of game.
PAN-PAN is about exploration and paying attention to your surroundings, the game map is a decent size giving you plenty to explore. Although you’re not able to fully explore at will, you will have to work through puzzles some which are simple and others very frustrating.
The game doesn’t hold your hand, you’re dropped into the barren world and which is very confusing at first with no prompts about controls, where to go or what to do, it’s up to you to figure out your goal which is a huge contrast from most games of today and incredibly refreshing and actually made me feel a part of what’s going on.
The whole map is used in PAN-PAN where sometimes you’d have to backtrack on your progress to find a solution to a different puzzle which at first I admittedly found frustrating but now having finished the game the frustration was down to my own fault, the clues are all in the visuals and nothing is hidden from you. If you take your time to explore and take in the surroundings you will have a much more pleasant overall experience and the game will flow a lot smoother.
There were several different styles of puzzles in PAN-PAN from lining up electrical circuits, trying to move stubborn wildlife and placing items in the correct locations and looking back all were pretty good fun. At one stage during the game, it started to get a bit confusing as there seemed to be several puzzles all going on at once but if you persevere they all tie up very nicely and it was hugely satisfying.
The reward for completing these puzzles was various parts to repair your ship, you’d carry them back and pop them down in their relevant position. Once you have collected all the parts then you’re finished, as mentioned the story is very simple but it’s not what the same is really about, being sucked in by the overall atmosphere listening to the music, the visual and sound effects is a very satisfying and chilled experience as long as you don’t let the puzzles frustrate you but don’t expect any extra content as you may be disappointed.
At £4.99 I personally think this game is worth every penny, it took me roughly around 3 hours to complete and I imagine could be done slightly quicker to a more experienced puzzle game player.
Although some frustration with certain puzzles and lack of replayability, the audio and simple artistic style counterbalance the negatives and this makes for a great chill out game which I very much enjoyed.