Developer-Too Kind Studios
Publisher-Plug in Digital/Playdius
Price in the UK £10.99
Price in USA and Europe $11.99 and 11.99 in Euro respectively
Pankapu is a narrative action-platformer that takes place in the dreams of Djaha’rell, a child troubled by a tragic incident. Upgrade your skills, find new competencies, switch your Aegis in real time in order to get rid of Nightmare’s invasion: “Fight for the safety of your land, dear Dreamkeeper”
Told in the manner of a fable read to a child, the game has two levels of reading: the tale of Pankapu, epic and naïve, and the one about Djaha’rell’s life, in the real-world, dark and tragic.
The audio features a melodic soundtrack which was beautiful although didn’t blow me away, at times it didn’t feel in place with the game’s theme and style. I found that I’d be walking through a dark cave and have a cute/happy soundtrack in the background which was slightly off-putting. The sound effects came across as fairly basic and nothing too special but at the same time they got the job done. Overall the music choice is pretty poor and saps the atmosphere from really well-designed areas of the game.
The art style in this game is beautiful that created a super smooth platforming experience. Pankapu uses a wide and varied colour palette. The layered visuals create a really nice sense of depth and the attention to details is amazing from magical effects to small reflections on armour it’s just stunning for a platformer.
Pankapu is a fantasy based platformer that gives you control of 3 characters, each with varying abilities. There’s the Warrior, Archer and of course the Mage. Your character Pankapu is set the quest to save the magical realm.
Although I really enjoyed the narrated pieces, throughout the story I found my self-zoning out due all of the overcomplicated names that were being used, as I could barely read them so there was no chance of me pronouncing them, it would have been nicer to have the various characters introduced at a slower rate as to not to feel too overwhelmed.
I really enjoyed the platforming in this game, the camera moved smoothly back and forth as you hack n slash your way through monsters which were well spaced out and not too difficult. There’s plenty of hidden objects throughout the game to keep yourself occupied, at times having to revisit a level once you’ve unlocked new abilities to finally reach that objective you couldn’t before which reminded me much of the Lego game series.
There’s a wide range of enemies to fight in the game whilst some are the same with a slightly different style. The boss fights were particularly entertaining although the audio that went with them was just bizarre and didn’t feel right. One of the big negatives with the enemies was the lack of reward for killing them, no currency, experience or score, you could just bypass them with no penalty which was just a bit odd.
I really enjoyed the way the character moved in Pankapu, from playing games like Dead Cells and Rogue Legacy I enjoyed the floaty jump style and the character responded really well to the controls, jumping onto the smallest ledges felt easy. The only frustration with the controls was when you’d perform an air attack, it would hold the character in place till the attack was finished and in a game where platforms are moving under your feet it would cause some frustration but overall controlling Pankapu was a great experience.
Although most of the marketing material shows you can use the 3 archetypes, you do have to unlock them and it does take a fair bit of battling to get to the first one which was slightly odd decision as I was hoping to be able to do this immediately. Each one of the archetypes abilities are quite different, the warrior uses a shield, the archer has a double jump and the mage can float after a jump which all have their uses to find collectables within the game.
Pankapu tries to add to RPG lite elements into the game where you can upgrade your character with various abilities but there wasn’t too much depth to it which seemed fine for this style of game.
The game is around 6 hours long depending on your skill level and this would include all collectables which are clearly there to make the game just that little bit longer which is absolutely fine and quite enjoyable for a collection fiend like myself. You can find various pieces of lore to tie in with the Pankapu’s story which as mentioned before I just glossed over it as it didn’t really absorb me and getting on with the platforming became more of a priority which was an overall enjoyable experience. Once the game has been finished you can unlock a time trial mode which just adds some replayability to the game there’s also a Bronze, Silver and Gold ranking system for it which was a nice little touch
Pankapu is a very nice platformer and at £10.99 I’d say it’s worthy of this price. Although the story and music just weren’t quite right for me, the overall experience was satisfying and played really nice in handheld.