It’s been a year since the first PangYa game by Korean developer NCSOFT and Ntreev game shut its Korean and North American servers down in what feels like an end of an era for games released in the early 2000s. Since then, rumors of a mobile version of PangYa has surfaced. We’re now presented with a golf game that’s basically the same, but more exciting in PangYa Mobile.

The character models could really pass for a PlayStation 3 game.

PangYa Mobile is a multiplayer online casual game golf simulation in the vein of Everybody’s Golf and Eagle: Fantasy Golf, where players can play anime golf in tournaments and cruise through a story mode meant to put players in a world where your birdies can purify evil. The story picks up where the PC game left off, where the player characters Hana and Nuri have gone back to Earth and it’s up to these not-so-new bunch of characters to keep the peace. Sounds simple enough, really.

Charming touches like this give the game a fresh look.

It’s the same game, but not really.

The basic gist of the mechanics is to play golf — drive the ball to the green, put, and complete the hole in the least number of tries. Wind speed and direction, swing power, obstacles and bonuses which are staples of the first game are still intact. However, this time, PangYa Mobile lets you create a team of three with different expertise to drive through the courses. The team has three types of characters — Power types specialize in driving the ball across great distances while Accurate types ensure you’re properly set up by making good approaches to the hole. Putter types finish the job with their putting abilities and makes sure you’re ahead of the game.

Not much has changed from the original PC game

There is the tag system. It allows you to swap your current character to another from your team or a player character for a limited number of times. This makes for strategic planning in going through course and plays on each of their strengths. Your initial team consists of lazy boy Marr, a Power type character who works best when driving balls out of the rough, Tiki, who can drive the ball to the green accurately using the famous tomahawk shot from the first game, and Arin, whose stable hands can put over long distances.

Tagging the right character in at the right area of the course is essential to victory.

Anime golf is now Mahvel baybee 

Another welcome change is the skills of each character in the team, which can be activated and triggered by precise timing, instead of performing a series of button presses. Using these skills is crucial to giving your team an advantage in the match. Each member of the team has specific skills which can be used to curb obstacles, gain position or give efficient hole approaches. As characters are unlocked, more skills will be available. That means grinding to the higher levels, but the variable environment factors make the game less repetitive.

You’re safe for now. 

Faster tournaments and PVP

One of the gripes in the PC PangYa game is the length of a single course. A whole 18-hole course takes around an hour to complete in a tournament of 3-4 players. Players will literally have to wait for their opponents or other participants in the tournament to take their turn. In PangYa Mobile, the turns are taken in real time, so you can see where your opponents are in the map, without having to wait for everyone to finish.

They see me rollin’, they hatin’…

PVP is also timed to prevent stalling and dragging games on. The player is given around 120 seconds to finish the course, so familiarity of the course and applicable strategies are vital to victory. Also, the environmental conditions are much more harsh in PVP than in other modes, and it somehow forces the players to commit grave mistakes and tests mettle under time pressure. One of the tie breakers is whoever finishes the whole course the fastest and this ups the ante for really skilled players.

Skill level is apparent, I guess.

If you’re bored…

Aside from PVP and tournaments, there’s also a Challenge Mode where players are given daunting tasks which tests their skills and strategic thinking. It’s unlockable at Level 10 and presents players different mini games and courses for rewards, and to kill time if you don’t really want to compete. The gacha for this game is quite cheap, so if you’re a whale, this game might take a lot of your money with clubs, costumes and consumables.

 

This mobile game staple just won’t die, would it?  

A vast improvement sensible to mobile gaming

PangYa Mobile is one of the most anticipated mobile games recently, and it sure didn’t disappoint. The introduction of new mechanics added a breath of fresh air in an otherwise soulless mobile game attempts by previously successful games. The beautiful graphics is also a welcome addition. However, it seems it’s better played on midrange and flagship phones to fully appreciate its glory. It’s a polished attempt at reviving a franchise that is sure to attract newcomers and satisfy fans alike.

I really hope so, Arin.

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PangYa Mobile was played on an HTC One M9 with Android Nougat 7.0 installed for the sole purpose of this review. Game experience may vary on other devices. All screenshots are taken by reviewer. PangYa Mobile is available on the Google Play store.

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