I’ll admit that I am a sucker for retro-style video games. There’s something charming about games like Pangeon. But what about when the charm wears off?
The first thing you should know is that Pangeon is a single-player dungeon crawler that bills itself as a roguelike. In truth, it is not really a roguelike, but I’ll touch on that more a little bit later.
Throwback graphics and gameplay
Pangeon has a graphical style similar to Minecraft. The 3D levels are designed in a labyrinthian fashion and feature low poly environments. The characters – both NPCs and enemies – are flat 2D character models similar to what you would find in Doom 64 and other games from that era.
The game also has a health bar and a mana bar. The health bar depletes as you take damage. You heal with potions and items such as food – which you can either find along the way for free or buy from a trader. There are also wells that allow you to fully restore your health or mana. Basically, this is what you expect in most dungeon crawlers.
Dungeon crawler? Yes. Roguelike? Nah.
The developers bill Pangeon as a roguelike. It is not. The game does not feature permadeath or have procedurally-generated levels. So if you were considering buying this thinking that it is a roguelike, know that it’s not a roguelike.
However, it is a fairly basic dungeon crawler. There are four classes to choose from at the start of the game: warrior, thief, wizard, and archer. The game does play differently depending on your class, and you can apply different attribute points that better fit your class.
For instance, the warrior is good at close-range combat. You probably won’t use mana a whole lot, but you will use a lot of health potions. On the other hand, if you play as the wizard, you’ll use a lot of mana but (if you play right) not as many health potions.
The main issue here is twofold. First, Pangeon is ridiculously short. You can beat the game in under two hours. By the time you finish the game, it will feel like you are just getting started. The second issue – tied into its short length – is that it seriously lacks depth.
To put it bluntly, the game feels like it’s unfinished, which is a shame because I do think it would have potential if a lot more work went into it. The boss fights, in particular, have promise, although one in particular also has hit detection issues. However, most of what you experience is already well-tread and done better elsewhere.
Having beaten the game in under two hours and played again with a different class of character, there’s just not enough here to want to come back for more. You’ll be lucky if you feel motivated enough to make it through even a single time. I only slogged through for this review.
Pangeon was previously released for PC via Steam and Nintendo Switch. The version that I am playing is on the Xbox One. Next year, the developers plan to release the game on PlayStation 4 as well. The main difference between these versions is the control layout.
Overall, it’s really hard to recommend this game. If you are a fan of dungeon crawlers and Minecraft-inspired graphics, you may consider picking it up when it is steeply discounted. This is a safe pass for most gamers. The charm wears off fast, and the game is over before you know it.
Game Freaks 365 received a free review copy.