Pandamania: Legend Of The Fu-Manchu Review (iPhone Game)

The origins of the Fu-Manchu were shrouded in mystery, and were covered in what I assumed to be spicy mustard, until Wikipedia showed me the way. While, the main character of Pandamania, made by FizzPow Games Inc., is not a villain capable of great evils, nor a Doctor by any definition, Fu-Manchu is an anti-hero of sorts. He travels the world, a bad ass with a bow, sporting his trademarked name sake. At least that is till the day some short feller comes along and steals it right off his face, much like a potato head doll. This is how the game opens by the way. A grandfather telling his grand-son of the legend of a noble panda. As your favorite grumpy panda chases after his purloined ‘stache, he encounters villages and other places whose peoples need a hero.

“STOP STOP STOP!”, heavy breathing, “I will not abide any Bonnie Tyler interrupting my review!”

Ok, now that my brain is short one less mischievous brain cell, let’s move on to the short list. The User Interface (UI), graphics, and over-all playability of this new release from FizzPow, make this game worthy of the one american dollar you will give up. It’s ok. You didn’t really need that third double cheeseburger anyway right?

The UI is rather straight forward; even if you’ve not played a bow/cannon/missile based game before. The main character stands upon a pagoda/tower like structure on the left of the screen holding a bow. With your finger, thumb, or spare piece of sausage link, you simply draw a line in the direction of the on coming enemy that march towards your tower from the right side of the screen. As soon as you let go, an arrow is loosed from the pandas bow. Now, if you ever took an archery class, or a simple science course, you’re sure to remember that gravity is a myth and Earth just sucks, er I mean that the arrow will fall to the ground – eventually. So, if you remembered that much, I’m sure you already aimed a little higher that than the targets head right? No? Ok, try again. I’ll wait. Got him this time? Good. The more times in a row you nail your target, without missing, you will build up your Pandamania gauge. Once you fill it to, at least, the first multiplier you can touch/click the icon on the left of the gauge to loose an arrow storm upon your enemies. Also, you can create cool ground affects by holding your arrow longer than four seconds, at which time the arrow that was green will now be red and shaking. Fairly easy to play, and the maps and menus are very familiar to most iPhone and iPod Touch users. If you want it, or want to go there, tap it, and maybe tap “Buy” or “OK” and you’re golden. Speaking of things that are gold or made of some semi precious metal, you can use coins to buy new upgrades for your arrows, and for your tower/pagoda.

The graphics in this game are solid, and hold all the charm of most Flash based games. The comic book styling, and rigid movements, sort of remind me of watching some strange episode of south park, however, at least this animator knows that there are more than two views for every object. The graphics themselves are not by any means state of the art and do not compare with some heavy favorites on other platforms, such as final fantasy, or GTA, or even WOW on the PC/Mac, but this does not by any means detract from the game. It has a sort of whimsical charm to it. Over all, not bad, and thankfully they are better drawn than squidbillies, and are not shaky like Dr. Katz was in the late 90’s. Anyone besides me still get the shakes when they think about that show?

The over-all gameplay, the thing that makes the masses grown, or moan in delight as a whole. In FizzPop’s creation, the over all game play is simple, and maybe even a little repetitive, but it’s semi-fast paced, and ever changing. Once you beat a stage you can go back to it, or any others for that matter, and try to earn yourself more points or gold. Points not only count here in game, but through OpenFeint, you can collect points and probably achievements that you can post in the usual ways and challenge your girlfriend to beat your score. Every time you replay a level you won’t find the playing field any different, for each level should prevent it’s own terrestrial challenges, but the enemies will come in different waves allowing for one to be less bored. Of course, though, since there is a plot, for those of you of whom wish to view it, each village you save gets you another piece of the story. So if you’re like me and hooked on good, or even cheesy, story lines – you probably will be entertained by both the comic book like graphics, and cheesy narration/dialogue.

Over all I would have to say that on the bus or while waiting for your boss to get done chewing out another fellow employee for photocopying his buttocks and posting it on the company website, you will probably find this game to be an ample time-waster, or a good way to initiate some lunch time competitiveness around the cubicle space. While priced at 99 cents, or in real speak – a buck, this game won’t leave you with impulse buyers regret either. Even though this game could use a little spit and shine type of polish in future updates, I rate this game a solid 7 – on a ten point scale. Oh, and good luck trying to explain your way out of the fact that it was YOUR machines mac address that was logged posting the buttocks photos to the site. I hope your next life is full of good women and a spiffy Fu-Manchu.

-Rated a 7 on a ten point scale-

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