Panda's Bigger Adventure: Make Some Moonshine and then Set Elvis Free
Gear up for even more puzzle solving madness as our furry hero, Panda, attempts to get home in time to enjoy the Juice Master 3000 he ordered. After being sent flying through time and space in the first game, he has now managed to gather enough parts for his portaloo.
With a bone littered time travelling device, a new circuit board that opens up new areas to explore as well as a rude parrot you just can't get rid of, you get to explore the wonders of time and space once again.
Because this is more of a part two than an actual sequel, we recommend that you kick off your cosmic adventure with the first game if you missed it. Otherwise, the intro montage should give you an idea of what shenanigans Panda had to go through to get to this point.
As we mentioned, this game is more of a part two. The concept stays the same: click on objects to interact with them, listen to what NPCs have to say and solve puzzles. The inventory has more than enough room for all your collectible thingamabobs so don't worry about having to go about things efficiently. Part of the fun is looking for which goes where. If that means you'll have to go through every map to acquire that moonshine recipe or find Dr. Blower's fluffy white cat, then don't hesitate to do so.
Fans of the first game would be familiar with Panda's wit and charm topped off with clever historical and pop culture references. If you loved that about the original, well you'll be glad to know that things got bigger this time around. Read Leonardo's (no, not the turtle) shopping list and check out his Happy Lisa painting. Better yet, experience a classic duel in the Not So Wild West level. The writing is pretty solid and Panda's Bigger Adventure definitely does not disappoint when it comes to its chuckle-worthy wisecracks.
Expect more of the same in terms of graphics and sound design. Because the game's charm lies in its simplicity, we don't really mind the lack of improvements. On the other hand, we still experienced slowdowns while playing using a standard net book so we recommend using a better system if you mind the jumpy cursor. Of course, lighter graphic assets are preferred performance-wise, but at least there are no time-based puzzles to warrant passing up the whole game.
Speaking of puzzles, there are significantly more of them in Panda's Bigger Adventure. You get to shoot ducks in a gallery as well as arrange a tangle of pipes amidst all of the clue-based sleuthing. NPCs also have more quest-giving dialogue, making each level livelier than the ones in the previous game. However the conversations are a tad one-sided, only requiring players to deliver specific items to trigger events. That being said, we wish there were more interactive choices, even if they are just for the laughs. The first game had a tidbit of this while on the Dragon's Tooth quest and we found it to be an interesting feature for a point and click title.
We cannot stress enough that we enjoyed our time playing Panda's Bigger Adventure thanks to its clever script and general goofiness. While it is not the prettiest or most hardcore game out there, it more than makes up for it with humor. It's a simple, relaxing game that can be enjoyed frustration-free. If you're not scared of that big rocket-ty thing in Al Capop's Top Secret HQ, then reserve around half an hour for Panda and his Tardis-esque portaloo. Trust us, you won't regret it.