Pankapu is an action platformer that brings in an amalgamation of classic platformer gameplay and modern graphics. In a time where platformers are extremely common it can be hard to find truly enjoyable ones with the elements that made platformers fun to begin with. Pankapu has that.
The plot of Pankapu revolves around Omnia, a land of dreams being invaded by dark forces which leave Omnia on the verge of destruction. Pankapu is created to stop the world from being destroyed by these dark forces. A fairly standard plot that you’d expect in any genre of game as the standard. The simplicity in itself though already helps the game as a platformer since it doesn’t need an overly complex story to follow anyway. However, this is the main focus of the game and it does a good job of mixing the story with the gameplay. I should also mention that the story is presented as a story being read to a child by his father; a story within a story basically. This is used in the cutscenes which are narrated by the father as he explains the events which are taking place in the game. Also, when cutscenes are playing it switches to a format that resembles that of a book page, with gaps in movement between each frame as it progresses.
When it comes to the gameplay the main focus is on the platform it, as it should be. There are combat elements in the game as well as boss fights but the majority of the experience will be jumping around and dodging environmental hazards. When the game first starts Pankapu will just be in standard gear using an Aegis (weapon and armour set) which gives him a sword for attacks and shield for defending. This is just the start though of Pankapu’s capabilities since as the game progresses he will gain access to new types of weapons and abilities to overcome new obstacles. For example: there is an Aegis which gives Pankapu a bow and arrow, the ability to place mines and also double jump but this comes at the cost of defence. There are also Nebulas which add a new effect and abilities to each weapon. As the game progresses it gets increasingly challenging as the player will have to swap Aegis and Nebulas on the go to take on what is in their way at the time. I think a good comparison to make here would be to Mega Man with how you have to change weapons and abilities to get past certain obstacles or at least certain Aegis and Nebulas will be better suited to certain enemies.
The way levels are laid out is that they are linear but will have multiple paths to take which can lead to various types of collectibles and upgrades for Pankapu to get hold of. Gathering these collectibles will be the main chunk of replayability for the game; especially the Mudjins, small creatures which can be found dotted around each level. There are bonuses to be earned for collecting them but once they’re gone, they’re gone. For those that like putting their speed to the test there are time trial options for each level also which should be considered for getting that extra bit of playtime out of the game.
The soundtrack is relatively simple but is well done as everything fits with the visual style of the game and tone of the current situation. There is a lack of voice acting for the characters besides the father narrating but since most of the characters are non-human creatures their voices are replaced with various sounds instead. It’s nothing that would bother most players though unless you don’t like reading. The biggest compliment to Pankapu is in its graphics though. The art style is great and works well for the game. It kind of reminds me of the art style that Dust: An Elysian Tail had. It feels like it belongs on the pages of a story book and looks great. Very nice, easy on the eyes graphics.