When it comes to arcade classics that should be remade, it's a perfect time to unleash this long lost cooperative bubble-busting gem. The Buster Bros. have been around since 1989, so let's see how gracefully they've aged.
The Buster Bros. series isn't widely known yet those who have played it will tell you just how addictive it is. You and a friend stand at the bottom of the screen while you cooperate to pop as many overhead bubbles as you can. Once one pops, it splits into two smaller bubbles. Eventually, they get so small that they finally disappear upon popping them. This modern iteration uses the exact same formula yet the wonderful lively presentation and many innovations breathe new life into the series. The visuals are colourful with lovely background art, smooth character animations, distinct foreground objects, and an overall sense of joy that you rarely get to experience in contemporary games. The audio matches this bubbliness with upbeat tunes and satisfying sound effects. Even as an existing fan of the series, I must say that they did a phenomenal job of modernizing it.
Pang Adventures can be played either by yourself or with a friend. I played the entire game with my wife and although she doesn't care about the old-school as much as I do, she gradually warmed up to admitting that it's a ton of fun. Having double the firepower and ability to help each other out whenever someone gets hurt amplifies the fun to a much higher level. I know this because I tried playing by myself and not only did that make the game much harder, it also wasn't even half as enjoyable. I wish they implemented a computer-controlled ally or something to make solo play feel more fair because those without a partner to play with may be a little disappointed. Either way you look at it, Pang Adventures retains the cooperative nature of the originals and manages to make it better than ever.
Right off the bat, you can play either Tour Mode or Panic Mode. Tour is the main campaign which contains 90 levels and 6 bosses. The stages vary from action-intense to puzzle-oriented. Therefore, you won't get bored as it never becomes repetitive. That being said, there are many difficulty spikes that have the potential to make you want to turn the game off in frustration. Even after getting the knack of it, some stages can be downright brutal. The bosses are mostly just improved variations of each other yet the final boss is one of the best that I've ever seen in my decades of gaming. Without giving too much away, its challenging and unique combination of puzzle and action elements made it great fun to take down. Anyway, Panic Mode is basically an endless challenge where you try to climb the leaderboards. It's a fantastic way to practice your skills. Finally, when you complete the campaign then you unlock Score Mode which is the same as Tour Mode except you see how far you can get with only 3 lives. I wonder if anyone will actually finish it...
Pang Adventures implements a variety of weapons, items, and features that keep it exciting throughout. Discovering the different power-ups is great fun as you watch your character clear out clouds of bubbles with a flamethrower, stop time, and deploy a shield to protect from one unfortunate collision. There are also a bunch of stage features that'll keep you on your toes. Crabs will pop bubbles for you while some critters might fall or drop stuff on your head to stun you. One of the niftiest moments is when spheres arise from the ground that you have to protect for bonus points. Some bubbles have special attributes that allow them to explode, wipe out everything onscreen, and drop lava. There's so much to experience that you'll play for hours and still come across new mechanics.
Game developers who want to know how to remake a classic need to play Pang Adventures. After enjoying the series for many years, I can safely say that both fans and newcomers alike will find a lot to love about these modern Buster Bros.
- + Brilliantly modernizes old-school Buster Bros. mayhem with fantastic presentation
- + Classic coop gameplay at its best
- + Large array of fun weapons and features
- - The campaign has many difficulty spikes that can be very irritating
- - Playing by yourself isn't even half as fun