Nostalgia can strike from the most unexpected angle. Pang is a game about popping balloons using harpoon guns – I remember it fondly because it was one of the few cooperative games I owned as a kid. It might not have been clear to me why we were travelling around the world’s landmarks bursting balloons but I was pleased that I could convince anyone in my family to come along on the journey. I loved the music too.
And now there’s a ‘new’ Pang game. Pang Adventures [Steam page]. I’m unnerved by the presence of flamethrower and shuriken power-ups, and monstrous alien boss creatures, but the core of the game seems to be intact.
Some people had Jazz Jackrabbit, others had Mario. And then there were the Sonic people and, bless them, the ones left with Zool or Oscar. I had Pang. I still love it and watching that trailer, even with the too-smooth, too-clean graphics, I feel very happy indeed. The way that the platform-barriers break, and the fact that I knew exactly which ones to get rid of first on almost every level. The falling fruits, the death animation…
Oh, that’s changed. You couldn’t revive your chum in the old days. One hit and he’d bounce around the screen like a deflating balloon. The ultimate irony.
This new version has local and online co-op, “more than 100 levels”, boss fights, new types of balloon, three game modes and a bunch of new power-ups. I’m going to play it. I’m going to play it online with my sister, who completed the original with me around twenty five years ago. It will be emotional.