When I first saw Pankapu from French developer Too Kind Studio, I wasn’t sure what to make of it. With the clean artwork looking like something from the Rayman universe, I was hoping that it would play as good as it looks. While it does for the most part, there’s still a few quirks that hold it back from being the best it could be, but it stills manages to be a fun action-platformer for all to enjoy.
The game kicks off with a father telling his son a bedtime story about a magical warrior named Pankapu who is on an epic quest to save the dream realm of Omnia from the evil Gangreyn before they cross over into our realm. This is where you come in and guide Pankapu in his quest by attacking, jumping, and solving simple puzzles to make your way through Omnia. You start off as the red warrior that has a huge sword for attacking and a shield to block incoming attacks. As you proceed, you’ll be able to change into other forms with other weapons such as a bow for ranged attacks, and a mage who can fling spells. You’ll have to switch between these abilities at the right time to combat foes and solve puzzles you come across, but thankfully you won’t have to do it alone as you’ll come across your buddy named Chii who serves a voice for your silent hero while also giving advice on what to do next.
The strong points of this game are without a doubt the beautiful yet simplistic artwork and graphics. Everything looks hand drawn, crisp, and colorful while the audio side of things matches nicely with catchy tunes and fitting sound effects. Because of those things, it’s sad that I have to mention the quirks found here, such as the controls feeling a bit clunky when jumping and trying to attack at the same time. It doesn’t help that the jumps feel a bit floaty, so you can already imagine how it is trying to make precise leaps and attacks the game expects you to do with slippery controls. There’s also some nasty difficulty spikes that rear their ugly heads as you get further into the game, from enemies becoming damage sponges, to bosses being near impossible to conquer are just a few of the troublesome things you’ll encounter on your journey.
Those things aside, Pankapu is still a fairly fun game to check out if you enjoy action-platformer titles. The beautiful graphics and fun audio are sure to pull most in, but just be on the lookout for some slippery controls and difficulty spikes that will plague you on your quest. I’ve also read that this will be an episodic adventure, so I’m curious to see what Too Kind Studio has in store for us next.