Polar Panic Review

Under the direction of its CEO Mr. Big, the Globoco Corporation has decided that the Arctic's resources are ripe for plunder. Unfortunately, the Arctic is also home to polar bears, and the imaginatively named polar bear Polar the Bear is not about to let anyone take away his home. In an attempt to subdue Polar, Mr Big captures Polar's family and holds them hostage. Unfortunately for Globoco this makes Polar really mad and he sets off on a quest to rescue his family and crush the army of hunters, trappers, and other Globoco minions standing in his way. That's quite a bit of setup for what's essentially a block-pushing arcade puzzler, and in fact story doesn't really factor that much into the game other than t give some justification for the death toll racked up by Polar during the game.

The gameplay basics of Polar Panic are pretty simple and borrow elements from other arcade puzzlers that have come before it. Each level is played on a grid with some of the squares occupied by blocks of ice that together form a maze through the level. Wanderng the maze are a number of enemies out to get Polar wither by clubbing him or taking a shot at him if they have a line of sight to Polar through the maze. Polar can push a block of ice as long as the square behind it is open, and pushed blocks will slide until they hit anther block and stop. The goal is to use the ice to crush the enemies and thusly open the maze's exit, and to do it all before the level's timer expires. The game adds twists to these basics as you advance through the levels. For example, some blocks are made of snow and can be destroyed while others are made of exploding crates, and you'll sometimes need to use ice blocks to bridge gaps. Additional challenge is introduced through bonus goals such as collecting a snowman or freeing a caged animal. These yield bonus points but you'll have to be careful not to run out of time when trying to get to them. The succession of puzzles that make up the story mode are occasionally interrupted by a boss battle against Mr. Big, but these battles feel more out of place than anything else. This is, after all, a puzzle game.

In addition to the story mode the game has puzzle and survival modes. Puzzle mode challenges you to complete a level in as few moves as possible and as quickly as possible as well. Survival mode has you trying to survive as long as possible against endless waves of enemies. These modes essentially split the arcade puzzle game into a puzzle mode and an arcade mode, respectively, and they both complement the story mode nicely.

You can probably tell by now whether or not Polar Panic is the type of game that you would enjoy. Its presentation is rather basic and the controls can be a little imprecise on occasion, but overall it does what it's advertised to do well enough. If this is your type of game, it's worth at least checking out the demo, but it's not quite a good enough game to recommend to everyone.

In The End, This Game Hath Been Rated: 74%. Not a bad little arcade puzzler for those of you who enjoy arcade puzzlers.


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