Thursday, May 24, 2012

Pastry Panic [Underground Pixel] - $0.99

Arena Platformers seem to be making some pretty strong headway in theAppStore. Muffin Knight, Blast Ball, Scorched Monster and quite a few more have taken the whole Super Crate Box idea and ran with it. The latest addition to the genre is Underground Pixel’s title, Pastry Panic. A pastry chomping dinosaur who moves along conveyor belts and flings his tongue across the screen all done in retro graphics seems like a pretty good idea, but there’s quite a bit of drive lacking from the game for it to stick out among the other arena platformers that are available.  

Now, in Pastry Panic, there’s two modes; Mad Dash and Tongue Tied. In Mad Dash, you’ll move your dinosaur along three conveyer belts by holding on either the left or right side of the screen depending on which direction you want to move, and swiping up and down to move to a different conveyer belt. Each belt moves left or right and carries pastries and other goodies from one side of the screen to the other. It’s your job to collect as many pastries as you can while also collecting nuts, bolts, and other metal objects which act as your HP, powered up pastries, and letters spelling out SWEET.

The pastries are able to reach the other side of the screen without any harmful effects, but if one of the bits of metal goes un-eaten, you will loose a hit point. You start off with 3, and have 4 HP’s available, and collecting these bits of metal adds to the hit points so they can be replaced. 
There’s 5 different special pastries, each with a different effect; The Super Donut gives you one bolt (Hit Point), while the Devil Donut takes one away. There’s a lightning donut which speeds up the conveyer belts, molasses donut slows them down, and the swirly donut switches the direction of the conveyer belts. Along with the special pastries, mixed in with the regular pastries and metal bits, are letters spelling out SWEET. If you collect all 5 letters, you’ll earn 200 extra points. 
In Tongue Tied Mode, your dinosaur stays on a platform in the middle of the screen, and tapping on an object will make him fling his tongue out at it and end up being eaten. The special pastries, bolts, and letters are all the same, and have the same effects. 

Every 50 points, you’ll earn 1 coin. These coins can be used to purchase items in the shop. All of the shop’s items are purely cosmetic, and do not have any effect on the gameplay. There are 2 different characters which you can purchase, each costing 100 coins, and 15 different hats, and facial additions, each costing 50 coins. 

Aside from that, once you’ve played the game for about 5 minutes, there’s nothing more to see. There’s no objectives or missions like other games in the genre have, that keep the game moving forward. It is nice to see a development company not just follow suit and add objectives just because almost every other game in the genre has them, but seeing something that pushes the game forward would have been great. Without it, the game does get very boring fairly quickly. There are 12 achievements, but they don’t really push you forward.
Another thing missing from the game, that would fit in perfectly, is some sort of special scoring mechanic. Combos, multipliers, something along this line almost always helps to drive gameplay forward, and Pastry Panic is set up perfectly for something like this. 
I’m not saying that Pastry Panic should copy what the other games in the genre are doing, but without adding more to the game, it really feels like a bare-bones demo version of a game when compared to others like it. 

Pastry Panic is Universal, and right now, is 50% off, priced at $0.99. GameCenter leader boards and achievements are included, and if you play on an iPad, the two different gameplay modes have Hardcore Difficulties, which add 2 conveyer belts to the game. If you’re a huge fan of the genre, or score chasing games, and love retro graphics, Pastry Panic is a game you’ll probably enjoy, but chances are, you won’t enjoy it for too long. Hopefully Underground Pixel adds to the game, and builds on the mechanics that are already included. Pastry Panic could definitely turn into one of the better games within the Arena Platformer genre, but not until then. 


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