Panzo Invaders is another game starring Panzo the panda bear, and this one is enjoyable and addictive like the other panda games before it.
The action arcade Shockwave game is a cross between Breakout and Space Invaders. The object of the game is to throw a bouncing ball around the play field to knock out enemies in the sky that advance toward the ground. Clear all enemies for each level to move on to the next. There are eight (8) levels total.
If you don't read or understand Japanese, no worries. The panda games are nearly self-explanatory. When you launch the game, click the short orange Japanese text above the red character that looks like a cat. A short cut scene will play, though you can skip past it by clicking the green text at the bottom right of the game window. You can return to the game menu at any time by clicking the small green 'return' arrow at the bottom left of the window.
Control is entirely with the mouse, simply point the cursor to aim where you want, and click to throw the ball. The higher you position the cursor, the harder your throw. The ball will bounce on the ground and against the sides of the play field, so there is no out of bounds to worry about, but you must pick the ball back up before you can throw it again. If you click without the ball, Panzo will jump and you can alteratively perform combos by kicking and punching the aliens from the sky instead. Though if you jump up into an alien, you will lose some of your health.
Hitting an enemy with the ball will cause it to fall from the sky, and release coins to collect for points. Some enemies require more than one hit to take them out. Hit more than one enemy in a single throw, bounces included, to release more coins for a higher score.
Avoid falling enemies and the stuff they drop. Each time you get hit, a portion of your life energy bar will be taken away. If you lose all your life energy, the game is over. Sometimes when an enemy falls to the ground, they will release a small first-aid kit. Collect those to replenish a portion of your life energy bar.
Analysis: This particular game design is actually a remake of Yard Invaders by RobotDuck. And like the other Panzo games reviewed here previously, Geru Geru Panic and Mamezo, this game shares similar graphics and sound. The graphics are simple, bright and cheerful, and the soundtrack is well produced. And yet it is the gameplay that makes these games remarkable and fun to play.
Although most of these games are not based on original ideas, the developer, Yoshio Ishii creates his own unique style of compelling gameplay nonetheless. It is not surprising that I find myself coming back to play his games often.
However, in this game there are only three (3) different enemies. And while a couple of the levels created mildly intense action by combining multiple enemy types, the game is just not very difficult. I was surprised when I was able to get through all eight (8) levels on my second try, and the game therefore feels unfinished. Just when I was getting the hang of how to play, the game ended abruptly.
I would like to see more enemies and more levels, or different levels of difficulty, such as varying the quantity of available power-ups for replenishing life energy. In the meantime, I'll continue playing it as is.
Thanks to Devstrider for the heads-up about the game.