Land-a Panda iPhone Review

It's impossible to hate Land-a Panda. Big Pixel Studios took one of the best things about Donkey Kong Country- firing the big ape from a cannon- and used that as the foundation for the entire game. Except instead of dealing with a gorilla, there's a cute and cuddly panda named Yang Guang, and instead of collecting bananas, you grab love coins en route to the critter's main squeeze, Tian Tian. Now if that doesn't sound incredible, God have mercy on your soul.

All of the puzzles involve rocketing Yang Guang to the goal using a variety of different cannons. It's all in the timing, so you'll need to wait for the right moment before sending the huggable panda into orbit, either to the next cannon or past spikes; just tap the cannon to fire.

That said, plenty of other things make the game enjoyable, starting with the user-friendly interface. The developers made all the icons big and easily identifiable, and when you screw up, the restart button does exactly what it's supposed to do, without having to wait through load times.

On top of that, Land-a Panda has both Open Feint and Game Center integration, giving you the opportunity to add friends and compare high scores, both locally and through the online leaderboards. The fact that you don't have to launch a separate program to view the data is a nice touch.

Then you have the retro style presentation that seals the deal, complete with 8-bit graphics and catchy music. Just prepare yourself for a sad panda whenever Yang Guang fails.

So there it is. One of the coolest features from a 1990s Super Nintendo game, wrapped within a colorful exterior starring one of the cutest video game characters we've seen since Cut the Rope's Om Nom. Download it now, thank us later.

Requirements: Compatible with iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad. Requires iOS 3.0 or later.

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Requirements: Compatible with iPad. Requires iOS 3.2 or later.

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What's Hot: Addictive and challenging puzzles, slick retro graphics, adorable hero.

What's Not: Not universal.