The runner genre is home to different kinds of games, and Panda Run on Vita fits a specific mold in this sub-genre of mobile titles. It is a 2D title where you take a snowboard-riding Panda as far as you can across a number of different locations using simple mechanics.
Does the game go beyond its simple gameplay systems and fulfills the simple task of being an fun pick up & play title?
Gameplay & Design
The gameplay here is very simple; you tap the touch screen to build up pressure when going down a hill and when you remove your finger from the touch screen, you launch in the air. When in the air, you can slam into the ground by taping the screen and fly off another ramp.
You have to keep on doing this until the world icon on the bottom-left of the screen ‘freezes’ and the game ends. Some simple mechanics come into play to make things stand out, like a rocket power up that can make you fly very high or objects in your path that slows down your momentum, encouraging you to jump over the hills where objects are located.
Other then that though, there isn’t much to the core gameplay. You keep on riding your snowboard until the world icon freezes complete and start another run. Like most runner games, you have challenges you can complete when playing the game. These can help you get more coins which can be used to purchase more boards you can ride on.
They don’t do much for your character stat wise, such as making your jumps higher or making you move faster. But they are fun cosmetic rewards to get from repeated runs through the main game. You can also purchase an ability of the PSN Storefront that removes the world icon, meaning you can play runs indefinitely. This removes some challenge from the game, but its an option you can consider purchasing.
The core gameplay overall is very simple, but that allows the game to be inviting to all gamers and ensures everyone can play with little issue. If I have one issue with the gameplay is the controls; you cannot use buttons in the Vita version of the title. You have to use the touch screen for everything and while that isn’t really much of a problem, it would be nice to have options considering the games simple controls.
The game looks clean and colorful, with the background locations having bright colors and the game running very smoothly on the Vita. Animations for the player Panda is a bit limited and the menus feel a bit generic but otherwise the presentation regarding the games graphics is good.
Musically, the game has only a few tracks but they match the games world well and help make your ride across the world enjoyable.
This is the games biggest issue; there isn’t much to the game regarding replay value. You can unlock the other boards from repeated runs and try to complete every single challenge or get all the PSN trophies, but the game doesn’t have any substantial extra content.
That isn’t an issue considering the games low price point, but it could have been more rewarding to unlock extra levels or have your boards grant you more substantial gameplay functions like flying in the air or being able to boost through objects blocking your path.
Gameplay – 3 out of 5 / Presentation – 3 out of 5 / Replay Value – 3 out of 5
This game is a solid runner title on the Vita, with bright colors and a simple control set up making it inviting to all gamers. But the lack of content and gameplay risking getting stale after long play sessions cause it to just be a okay runner rather then a great one. I enjoyed my time playing this and recommend this title if you want a fun simple game to play on your Vita or Smart Phone.
Overall – 3 out of 5
We reviewed this title on the PlayStation Vita provided with a review code from the publisher. You can find this title on the PSN Storefront for the PS Vita and Apple/Google Storefronts to play it on your smart devices.