Day 550: Avatar Panic

Posted: 2012/05/13 in Indie Games

Milkstone Studios is a pretty reliable Xbox Live Indie Games developer for me, I’ve now bought and reviewed quite a lot of their games, including “Avatar Ninja!” (Day 516), “Inflamous” (Day 337), “Wool” (Day 213), “Infinity Danger” (Day 166), “MotorHEAT” (Day 76), and (one of my all-time favourites) “Little Racers” (way back on Day 60). Time to add “Avatar Panic” to the list.

Early on in the life of WMD I chose to avoid anything with Avatar in the title. At the time, the XBLIG channel was too strongly associated with crappy avatar (and zombie) games, thus I avoided those genres for the most part to prove that the reputation was undeserving. Having long since done that, I’m less particular about that now when I find a goo avatar (or zombie-based) game. Avatar Panic definitely qualifies.

The clear inspiration for the game is PANG, a game about firing projectiles to destroy bubbles. Why? Why ask why. Thankfully, this is no clone or cheesy cash-in on PANG, it incorporates some of the best elements of PANG and its sequels, then adds some ideas of its own. It comes off as a love letter to PANG, rather than a rehash. In the forums on their website, here is what the developers had to say about the game:

“We tried to create a “best of” compilation adding some new stuff without messing with the original formula. We loved the original games and we really put our heart and soul on this one.”

At its core, the game has you blowing up bubbles (some of which split into smaller ones, and making sure you don’t get dangerously boxed in. There are special bubbles here that make that harder, such as steel bubbles that don’t want to pop. The levels are colourful and always interesting, and the number and variety of enemies goes up as you progress through the games (such as the flying saucers, for example). The number and variety of your power-ups increases to compensate, and the difficulty curve feels about right. It seems to me that everything in this paragraph has been significantly ramped up over the game’s inspiration.

Solo play and local multiplayer are present (the game sings in co-op mode), and the game is further bolstered by online leaderboards. An easy 80 Microsoft Point recommendation both for fans of PANG, and for those who’ve yet to try a game like this.

Here’s what the developer (Milkstone Studios SL) has to say about the game:

“Avatar Panic rejuvenates an Arcade classic, now in Full HD! Pop bubbles with your harpoon while avoiding being hit by them! Includes an Arcade mode with 50 levels, and Panic mode for fast-paced games! Play alone or cooperatively with your friends and try to achieve #1 world ranking!”

  1. David Loves Sandy says:

    For the most part you can’t go wrong with buying something from Milkstone Studios. I own Avatar Farm and Little Racers Street and gave/still giving major thought of buying Wool, Raventhorn and Zombie Football Carnage all for their tight controls and unique game play. From their website you can order Zombie Football Carnage, Infinity Danger AND Motorheat for the PC for a measly $7.50 if you would prefer to play them on the computer.

    • I tried Zombie Football Carnage, but couldn’t get into it. Several reviewers liked it (including one of my favourites, Kobun), but it just didn’t work for me. It seemed repetitive, and not in a good way (because Tetris is repetitive, but it’s not in a bad way).

  2. andregurov says:

    I’m only a year late to the discussion, but since you’ve mentioned one of my favorite XBLIG games in Zombie Football Carnage (the name is so flowery!), yes, it is a bit repetitive – there isn’t anything to do but survive waves of bizarre creatures – but the gameplay is so very different than most wave shooters. Mainly that you aren’t shooting them, per se, but boinking them with a football that must return like a boomerang. It took me a while to figure out how to play by utilizing pickups and understanding the football chain, but once it hits its groove I find it delightfully amusing and quick. To return to the topic, I’ll have to try Avatar Panic. Everything else I’ve gotten from Milkstone has been dynamite, and your recommendation seems to affirm it.

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