Red and Giant's master has been kidnapped by ninjas! Are you a bad enough panda to rescue him? So is the enjoyable challenge of Double Panda, Neutronized's new puzzle platformer that utilizes the power of teamwork. And should you be a fan of adorable pixelated action or The Lost Vikings-style puzzles with an eastern flair, the game is sure to panda-er to your wildest panda-sies, without causing too much panda-monium
Use the [arrow] keys to individually direct Giant Panda and Red Panda. Hitting the [spacebar] alternates player control between the two, leaving the other to take a quick snooze. The goal is to get both pandas to the checkered spot at the end of each level, collecting desserts along the way. Standing in your way are numerous ninjas, platforms, lakes, locked doors and levers. Fortunately, each panda has a number of specialized abilities to make the voyage easier. Great Panda can bop ninjas by jumping on their head, swim through lakes (with Red resting on his head), push blocks around and break old blocks by stomping on them. Red Panda can climb bamboo stalks, pick up keys to unlock doors, operate levers and run along ropes stretched between platforms. Both can jump on and from the other's head for a boost, and indeed it is required to defeat some enemies. Your master is at the end of level twenty. Good luck!
I liked Double Panda quite a bit, and not just because it clued me into the existence of the Red Panda, a creature I was unaware of prior to playing. Overall, its cute aesthetic and soothing music make for a relaxing, almost zen experience. It has a slowness of pace that, while sometimes tipping over into the frustrating, make for a welcome break from some of the more frenetic iterations of the platform genre. In fact, I found it quite stress relieving; the kind of game one plays a couple level of before bed to set one's mind at ease.
Certainly I found some of Double Panda's mechanics frustrating, and not just from their pace. Particularly, I wish it were possible to have both pandas run in unison, as it often felt like I was spending much of the time playing catch-up one way or another. Likewise, switching control from one panda to the other is shown by the camera flying to the new character. This is fine when the two are close together, but the further away they are, the longer it takes, which can be maddening when one is racing the clock. The object detection was a little finicky as well: it was annoying how Red would refuse to climb a stalk he wasn't exactly aligned with and it seemed a little arbitrary as to when he would decide to stop climbing, considering how the stalks extend into the sky.
Most of these concerns are minor and don't detract from the overall experience. Just keep in mind that this is a game that expects and rewards patience. If you're looking for a platformer that's more akin to a walk through a garden than a war-zone, it's full-on Double Panda all the way!