There's still around two months until anything else good gets released for the Wii and having finished Super Mario Galaxy, I decided to find another game to play.
Pangya started off as a free and downloadable online Korean PC game from Ntreeve Soft but later, Tecmo decided to take the game and reproduce it adding in their own animations and storyline to create a single player experience on the Wii. I haven't played the online game but I can say "Pangya Golf with Style" is certainly fun.
The first thing you'll notice is that you can't just "wag" the Wiimote to swing the golf club this time unlike in Wii Golf so, it takes some time to adjust to the controls. You really have to swing well with a full follow through or your shots can go wide. There's other ways of moving the Wiimote if you don't want to spend time mimicking a real golf swing but it's up to you to find the best way. There is also the option to play the traditional way with buttons but, that kind of defeats the point of buying the game for me which was to get something fun that made use of the Wii controls.
The next thing you'll notice is this is not ordinary golf. It's Pangya Golf where you play in a world full of beautiful fantasy courses and where special shots and items can be used.
In single player mode, there's a variety of choices. You can play through the different character storylines, a stroke play tournament, or a one v one match. The storylines which were never in the original MMO game can take a few hours to finish for each character and can also be hilarious as the cast meet for a match. Even the caddies have a nice touch because each character will have something to say whenever you just happen to be aiming in their direction such as "You can't hit me" and will have their own little reaction too.
After a few lines of dialogue and a short real-time cutscene, the goal is to win more holes than your opponent. You take shots in turn and unfortunately, there's no way to skip watching the computer play their shot. In the case where you and your opponent have won the same number of holes, you're going to have to decide a winner by Pang Points.
Pang Points are the currency of the game and are awarded for good shots such as hitting the ball dead centre, over drives or scoring below par. You can then spend these points on items such as new clothing or potions that can lower the wind speed. You should see some of the crazy club set designs. From regular clubs to melee weapon set! Only in fantasy Pangya golf.
Just like Sony's "Minna no Golf (Everybody's Golf or Hotshots Golf)", there's plenty to customise your character with. Apart from making your character look different and tweaking your stats, the items are also required for unlocking some of the many side stories each characters have too so you can expect Pangya to last for a very long time.
And if you enjoy Manga style artwork, you'll find plenty of that in the unlockable gallery too. You purchase some Dolfini tickets and literally turn a little lottery container to try and collect the 300+ pictures. Something that wasn't in the Japanese version of this Wii game but was added to the Western versions. Some of the Korean drawn artwork is amazingly well done.
On the multiplayer side of things, up to four players can take turns swinging on chosen courses or if you want something a little more out of the norm, you can try and see who hits the most balloons. The latter isn't very exciting to be honest because it lacks atmosphere and the balloons can be hard to hit. It would have been great if they included online play and let players take shots simultaneously just like the PSP's Everybody's Golf 2. That way you don' t have to be bored waiting for your turn.
Pangya sports (no pun intended) some great visuals such as the golden orange Autumn scenery of the Sepia Wind Course, backed up with some great catchy soundtracks. Or how about a course full of floating platforms like Cecilia's navy ship? Its characters are uniquely animated and are sure to entertain during the short cutscenes. This game definitely has style.
However, under all that beauty the game does have its share of problems and I could probably say a bigger share than the average game.
The AI is pretty inconsistent as many other reviews have highlighted. Sometimes they can be right on the spot with their shots while other times, they just love to throw the ball into the O.B. areas constantly. And as I've mentioned earlier, you can't skip watching your opponent take their shots so you can imagine how long the waiting can be. Be prepared to make several attempts to defeat the computer players if you're unlucky enough.
Camera also needs some work because a lot of the times it ends up focusing on the ball from behind objects that obstruct your view. Fortunately, this only happens after you've taken a shot. There was also one more glitch I came across twice that was pretty serious. While playing the game for many hours, the AI's shots got stuck in a tree for a few minutes before the game moved on. I thought the game would just get stuck there.
Lastly, slowdown is very evident too. Often you'll see the game slowing down while the CPU is thinking or, when too many effects or objects are on screen.
To be fair, only the inconsistent AI can ruin your enjoyment of Pangya Golf with Style. The other glitches don't crop up often enough to annoy you. If you can get by the learning curve of swinging the Wiimote when you first load up the game and enjoy the idea of fantasy golf then, I'm sure this game will entertain you well over the 20 hour mark. It's become my new "casual" game I leave in my Wii in place of Wii Bowling!
Pangya Golf with Style 2 is out now and I hope it offers just as great an experience.