In the current state of the gaming industry, the action platformer genre has gone the way of the dinosaurs. None of the big game companies seem to want to touch the genre with a 10-foot pole. Nowadays it’s indie games such as Shovel Knight, Odallus: The Dark Call, and Mighty No. 9 *shudders* that’s keeping the genre alive. Pankapu is another one of those indie games.
Brought to you by Too Kind Studio and Playdius, Pankapu brings back the genre to 2017. The game plays and works like a Megaman game. You jump and shoot – well, in this case, (until you get the bow weapon/powerup) slash your way through the world progressively getting stronger by collecting power-ups. Gameplay-wise it’s very Megaman-ish, aesthetically though I’d say it resembles the older Rayman games. It has a dreamlike vibe to it, which is pretty on-point considering the game takes place in the world of dreams. Overall, I’d say the game itself feels and looks really fun to play. I have some nitpicks about the game, such as the jumps feeling a bit too floaty for my tastes. Also, until you get the bow upgrade, the game feels too slow having no, FREE, way to deal with projectiles. Having stop and block attacks, to me, feels like it makes the game “too slow”. But overall, besides the nitpicks, it’s a very solid action-platformer.
The story portion of the game is where Pankapu attempts to set itself apart from its peers. The game is told through the narration of a father reading a storybook to his child. The overall plot is a simple story of the titular character, Pankapu, protecting the dream world from nightmares. However, after certain events in the game though, the player is given flashes of scenes depicting the child’s memories. It turns out that throughout Pankapu’s adventures, Djaha’Rell (the child) is reliving and relating his past memories to the story of Pankapu. Not to spoil the “twist” but the overall cheery nature of the game hides a dark tone.
A little Nitpicking
With my brief time with Pankapu, I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s a pretty solid game. It’s a pretty good action platformer with a rather deep story. I do have a few complaints thought. I already mentioned two of them, but I have a few more minor and major ones.
Let’s start with the minor complaints. The voice-overs during cutscenes don’t stop when you’ve progressed through the text box. Also, you can’t skip past previously viewed scenes. For instance, I was lost during the early portions of the game and went to the same level thrice. When you enter the level it plays a scene out, and even on my 2nd visit it was impossible to skip the scene.
As the for the major complaints… during the aforementioned scene, the game locked up twice trying to skip past the text. Finally, the game encourages backtracking to collect everything once you’ve acquired power-ups. Unlike the Megaman X games wherein you can quit out of the level after collecting the pick-ups you’ve back tracked for, you can’t do that here. You have to complete the entire level again in order to keep those collectibles, otherwise you lose it if you quit out.
Having said all of that, I still give Pankapu my seal of approval. If you’re looking for a new action platformer Pankapu’s a good pick-up. Looking past all my complaints, it’s still a really fun game to play. Pankapu is out now for Steam, PS4, and Xbox One. A Switch version was also recently announced.
Thank you to Playdius and Too Kind Studio for giving us a review code and allowing us to review the game!