As I found myself running around stealing eggs from an angry duck to a Benny Hill theme in the first hour of Pan-Pan, I knew I had struck gold. Going mostly under a lot of peoples radar, Pan-Pan is a lovingly crafted puzzle exploration game that uses pastel low poly art to tell a simple little story of a lost traveller on an alien planet.
Developed by a somewhat new indie team, Spelkraft, and published by Might and Delight(Shelter, Pid) Pan-Pan tells the story of a little space person who crash lands on an alien planet. Teaming up with a team of local fuzzy scientists, the little space cutie must venture out into the world and find replacement parts for their ship so they can get back home. Pan-Pan may have a simple set up, but this simplicity is at the core of most elements of the game, from narrative to visual design. Pan-Pan is a simple game, and at times that can be to its detriment.
At its core, Pan-Pan is a puzzle game. The gameplay boils down to you exploring a small semi-open world and finding the previously mentioned ship parts scattered across the land. Ranging from sprawling deserts to sunken ruins, Pan-Pan‘s world feels vast yet cosy all at the same time. The puzzles you find generally are split into different areas, each usually only requiring you to click or drop things into place. Pan-Pan‘s puzzles for the most part are straight forward and don’t cause too much frustration, but at times due to the game’s minimalist approach to visual design, the solutions to puzzles can become a little obtuse.
Not to make Pan-Pan seem like an unfair game by any means though, as one element I enjoyed a lot was how the game rewards exploration as a means of solving puzzles. If you ever find yourself stuck or annoyed by a puzzle, you can simply walk away from it and solve it later. By simply walking around the serene and beautiful environments you can often find items or switches that actually solve that puzzle you were stuck on earlier. The world is dense and filled to the brim with detail and love, and encourages the player to explore every nook and cranny at their own pace. And what a world Pan-Pan has to offer, full of adorable little characters and moments that just leave a smile on your face.
So y’all like low polly art? I do, and you should too. It is a visual style that has become more celebrated in the last few years after the indie pixel art renaissance, and Pan-Pan nails it perfectly. The popping pastel colours and quirky gibberish language is clearly reminiscent of stuff like Katamari Damacy, and its the simplicity that brings out the true charm to this world. Now, while this aesthetic choice does work wonders to make a pretty game, it does at times create confusing puzzle solutions due to an overly simple and sometimes confusing UI. The games soundtrack lends to the chilled out vibes well with an ambient score that loops in and out of locales seamlessly.
Pan-Pan is a game you can tell that was made with love. While it is a short experience, ranging around 4 to 6 hours, it doesn’t overstay its welcome and remains simple, cute and full of joy the whole way through. If you are looking for a short little game to curl up with on a rainy afternoon, Pan-Pan is a perfect choice.
Are you interested in Pan-Pan? Let us know what you think in the comments.