Pudding Panic Review
For once, I saw a wobbly green jelly and I didn’t immediately want to just gobble it all up. Instead, Pudding Panic‘s frightened (and tasty) protagonist has my deepest sympathies. The poor little bugger never knew how terrified he would be as he alighted the haunted house ride of his greatest nightmares. If it was possible to hug a jelly without destroying it, then I definitely would. The best that we can all do though, is to help him get through the ride without being scared to death; such is the premise of Pudding Panic.
Essentially a puzzle game, Pudding Panic offers its players a cute but challenging experience. Jitters (the green jelly) finds that the rails of the haunted house ride his cart goes around on is the home of various scares – witches, skeletons, tin men with large hammers and so on. While the player cannot control Jitters directly as he uncontrollably travels forwards, they can adjust the directions of the rails to help him avoid the terrors. If Jitters does come across the path of the various haunts, he jumps in fright, loses some of his nerve and speeds off in the other direction. His ‘nerve’ is measured in the HUD so that a few of these scary encounters means that the jelly gradually dilapidates each time he encounters a scare until he is but a puddle, at which point the level is failed. One of the delights of the game is a simple one; watching the small but highly personable jelly wobble in fright really makes you care for him in a very strange way. You grow very attached to the little blighter over the course of the game, which of course spurs you on to help him avoid the monsters to safety.
Fortunately, the player does have some tools at their disposal to give the scary monsters a taste of their own medicine and effectively be rid of them. Using these tools comes at a cost though, so the player must force Jitters across the path of the pink coins in order to afford this advantage. Snakes, jack-in-the-box’s and clockwork rats are amongst the tools used to scare the monsters; each being used in a markedly different way that suits different opportunities. The drag and drop interface is worth noting as well due to it working so well; when you want to lay a trap or change rails you simply drag the icon to the desired position. Another thing that players will be forced to collect if they seek progression, are the golden tickets on each level. These tickets open up the next set of levels when a majority is collected. Replaying levels after having got through them in order to collect the tickets becomes a habit and stacks another challenge on to each level.
Repetition is perhaps one of the downfalls of Pudding Panic though. This may stem from the fact that the game is suited to smartphones rather than being played on a PC. It’s not like anyone is complaining about the repetition of the backgrounds in Angry Birds, but the simple and dark graphics of Pudding Panic blown up on a PC monitor do not transfer so well. As with most puzzle games, Pudding Panic‘s gameplay is similarly repetitive, although there is the odd level that sees Jitters flying along the track with speed in which the player must use quick reactions to survive. It is due to both the repetitive environments and overall gameplay that Pudding Panic is best played on the PC as you would a casual smartphone game – the odd go, here and there. The other stand out negative of Pudding Panic is the unintuitive camera; you have to drag it around with your mouse while at the same time using said mouse to control the gameplay. The camera controls just do not gel well with the game, sometimes being the cause of not seeing an upcoming threat or being too fiddly in moments of panic.
The only thing ‘wrong’ with Pudding Panic that it has not seen a brilliant transfer from smartphone to PC. We see this more and more nowadays. As a whole, the game is wonderful; it has personality due to its comic characters and catchy soundtrack. The puzzle in each level is well thought out and there is a well balanced learning curve throughout the length of the game. It’s certainly a ‘must try’ on the PC, and I would imagine a ‘must buy’ on smaller devices. Whether you are into your puzzle games or not, Pudding Panic has a wide appeal and is mostly very enjoyable to play.
More information on Pudding Panic can be found over at the official website.
The iOS version can be purchased from the App Store, and all versions (Windows, Mac, iOS) can be bought from the official store.