Take one wonderfully bizarre premise and stir in some fast-paced, arcadey gameplay. Sprinkle on awesome NES-style graphics, then add a liberal dollop of fun extras like bonus modes, unlockable hats and Game Center achievements. Mix it all together, and voilà!, you’ve got Pastry Panic (Out Now, $0.99), Underground Pixel’s totally sweet follow-up toHoliday Havoc.
Just in case that opening paragraph doesn’t make it clear: with Pastry Panic, Underground Pixel have hit upon a near-perfect recipe for the type of game that should entice both fans of the resurgence of retro-themed titles on iOS and casual gamers who’re simply on the lookout for a pick-up-and-play friendly timewaster they can enjoy in short spurts.
As I mentioned in last month’s exclusive hands-on preview, Pastry Panic comes packing two equally exciting gameplay modes: ‘Mad Dash’ and ‘Tongue Tied’. In both modes you play as a cute lil’ dino-thingy who puts his unique skills — an insatiable appetite, digestive tract of steel and super-stretchy tongue — to good use working at a pastry factory, scurrying up and down a trio of conveyor belts and scarfing down stray nuts, bolts and other bits of scrap metal so as they don’t clog up the machinery.
Mad Dash, as the name implies, is the more frenzied and action-packed of the two. The challenge here is twofold: first, take care not to miss three bits of metal in a row or it’s ‘Game Over’ time; second, eat as many sweet treats as possible to rack up a high score. Oh, and every so often special power-up inducing donuts also come trundling down the conveyor belts, so watch out for those! Pastry Panic’s pared-back control scheme is pretty intuitive and works well: you simply tap on the left or right side of the touchscreen to move Dino in that direction, and swipe up or down to leap between conveyor belts.
In Tongue Tied, Dino’s stretchy tongue comes into play. This mode sees you sitting at the center of the factory and tapping the screen to nab passing pastries. It’s a little more laid-back and simplistic but fun nonetheless.
Beyond all that, there’s a Game Center-powered leaderboard to try to climb and achievements to earn, plus a well-stocked in-game shop to visit. The shop carries a wide array of hats, outfits and accessories you can deck Dino out in, as well as unlockable special guest characters from other hit iOS games like Soosiz and Hurdle Turtle! Unlocking everything the old fashioned way (e.g. with in-game currency) can take quite some time, but if you haven’t got the patience, there’s always the option of splurging 99¢ on an IAP that makes it all available from the word go.
iFanzine Verdict: Whether you’ve got a hankering for some retro gaming fun or are simply on the lookout for an awesome highscore-fueled timewaster, Pastry Panic will hit the spot!