Pan-Pan: A Skippable Indie Darling

Pan-Pan is the international urgency signal that a vessel uses to communicate a situation that is urgent. It’s also the name of an indie game by Swedish development team Spelkraft. It’s an environmental puzzle game with an emphasis on exploration. You help the player character find blocks and things that are then used to help repair her ship.

The game has a cute aesthetic with a limited color palette. The environments look fine as do the limited number of character models. Everything works as it should. Nothing here will attack you, so the only true obstacle is your ability to figure out the puzzles. Puzzles range from easy to trial and error.

This game can easily be beaten in 25-30 minutes. I’ve played a lot of indie puzzle games so nothing here is really stand out. It’s your usual fair and the puzzles rely on a lot of trial and error in some cases. I see this game get praise and 8/10s, but I don’t get it. Nothing feels cohesive. The world has an aesthetic, that much is true, but it’s not particularly pleasant to the eyes. The few interesting areas are extremely small. The large scope this game appears to have at the beginning quickly becomes very small.

One of the puzzles I solved by giving up on it and leaving the area. I feel too many of the puzzles have that sort of outcome. Items you receive have very little use and just serve as more puzzle solving elements.

The game is tightly designed and there’s little wasted space. You get storytelling elements from the environment, but I can’t say it’s a story I care much about. While there’s a lot done well here, I don’t feel I got my full money’s worth. This game is $5 on the Switch and I don’t feel there’s $5 worth of content here. A lot of people do seem to enjoy this game based on the reviews, so if any of this appears interesting to you, wait for a sale. There are, however, far better indie games out there.

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