Panda Punch is a retro-looking 2D puzzle platformer. We jump on platforms, hit enemies with our bionic fist and move boxes to activate switches that will allow us to continue to progress in the levels.
The game uses a retro pixelated aesthetic that is meant to be a tribute to the platform games of the early 90s. The aesthetics may appeal less to the youngest who have not experienced this era, but for the others, the effect is successful.
Panda Punch controls itself quite well. The titular panda responds well to commands, his jumps are accurate and his attacks are quick and easy to control.
However, where the problem lies is in the design of the levels. First, the levels are excessively repetitive. There is little variety in terms of scenery, enemies or even game mechanics.
From level to level, with a few exceptions, we find the same enemies, obstacles and scenery elements simply arranged differently.
The other concern is that the puzzles in the levels are often poorly designed. It is not uncommon to get stuck in a level because we have not completed the puzzle elements in the order envisaged by the game. You then have to get out of the level and start again, because there is nothing more to do.
Panda Punch also struggles to communicate what you need to do to progress. We ourselves had to stop playing at one point because the way to complete a level was completely out of our control, despite our experience with video games.
It’s a shame, because the presentation is charming and the controls rather pleasant. Unfortunately, it seems that the game has not been tested enough.
Admittedly, the selling price (€4.99 / $6.49 CAD) is very affordable. But Panda Punch is likely to cause more frustration than smile, even at this very low price.