App Reviewed on: iPhone
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Were devious atoms to get into my laboratory I'm not sure what I'd do. I'm fairly certain it wouldn't involve shrinking pandas down to the atomic level in order to fight the tiny scourge, but that's exactly what players will be doing in Nano Panda. Yessir, fighting unruly atomic particles with endangered bears. For science.
Despite being (very loosely) based on atomic physics, Nano Panda is simple to learn. Each level has at least one panda-dispenser, and releasing the beyond-diminutive creature is just a matter of tapping it. Of course, things never stay simple for long in games like this and players will soon have to come to grips with using the magnetic power of two or more pandas in order to grab all the stars and destroy all the atoms in a level.The difficulty increases even further as new obstacles and objects are introduced that will attract your pandas, bounce them around the stage and more.
Like most "cute" physics-based puzzle games before it, Nano Panda hits all the right notes. It has a cartoony visual style, cute characters (even the badguys), a catchy soundtrack and plenty of replay value if players want to grab every last star. Completing a hard stage is especially satisfying as it wipes the smiles off of those smug atom faces. Seriously, they laughed at me while I was attempting to destroy them. Jerks! There's even at least one more collection of levels blocked off and labeled as "Coming Soon," so there's little danger of running out of panda-flinging action in the future.
The very thing that makes Nano Panda stand out among physics-based puzzle games is the same aspect that makes it irritating at times: magnetism. Games that require dropping, flinging and cutting involve ideas that we're more familiar with, whereas magnetism between atomic particles is... well... slightly less common to us laypeople. While unit9 did a great job simplifying the concept, results often feel random and tougher stages tend to boil down to a series of trial-and-error runs to see what works.
It's easy to recommend Nano Panda because it fits comfortably into that "Top Five Games" formula every successful title on the App Store seems to have been following for months. It's what I'd call a "safe" game. It doesn't try anything completely unique but it has a clean look, does what it does very well and offers up plenty of increasingly complex fun. Fun that one randomly-selected commenter can have for themselves when they win a free copy of the game just for telling us what they think. COMMENT BELOW TO ENTER TO WIN A FREE COPY OF THE GAME!