Does this peaceful panda pack a punch? A Panda Punch Review

Can you save the world with your red panda and a bionic arm and go back to being cute and eating bamboo? That's the premise of Panda Pun...

Can you save the world with your red panda and a bionic arm and go back to being cute and eating bamboo? That's the premise of Panda Punch, a puzzle-platformer game developed by Ninja Rabbit Studio and published by Ratalaika Games. In this review, we'll dive deep into the world of Panda Punch to explore its gameplay, presentation, and whether it lives up to its heroic aspirations.

What Is It?

When I heard about Panda Punch my first thoughts were of Po in Kungfu Panda. Could another game bring us a story about a slow peaceful big panda as a martial arts warrior? Well turns out things in this game are a bit different. For starters you do not play as a Panda bear... Panda Punch casts you as Zeep, a RED panda who becomes a bionic-armed hero after a fateful encounter with evil alien robots. If you have never seen a red panda before, you should stop and go look one up right now, I will wait.  Done? Are they not adorable? Especially when they stand trying to look more imposing? Clearly they have a brave fighting spirit. So now imaging this guy with a bionic arm, taking his newfound powers, and embark on a journey to save the world from the horrible menacing invaders. The game combines platforming action with puzzle-solving elements, promising an exciting adventure filled with challenges and surprises.


Panda Punch offers 58 levels packed with traps, secrets, and enemies. As Zeep, you'll navigate these levels, solving puzzles, collecting coins, and enhancing your abilities with the help of a skilled blacksmith. It is your standard platform / Metroidvania style affair.  The game's platforming mechanics are generally solid, with decent controls and collision detection. However, some players might find the jump arc to be slightly stubby, affecting the overall feel of the character's movements which can be frustrating as it can cause issues dealing with on screen challenges. 

One of the game's features is Zeep's bionic arm, which serves as his primary tool for combat and puzzle-solving. Unfortunately, the combat aspect falls short of expectations. unlike another bionic arm game from back in the day called bionic commando, The Panda arm is mostly used for punching, as the game title suggest. But things are not very fast or exciting. Enemies often fall into two categories: easily dispatched punching bags or erratic flying adversaries, lacking depth and variety. As a result, the combat doesn't always provide the satisfaction players might expect from a brawler or a platformer. While the level design is generally well-crafted, some sections can be frustrating, particularly those involving "leaps of faith" and spike-filled platforms. It's worth noting that the game offers generous checkpoints, mitigating some of the potential frustration.

Throughout the game you will unlock some upgrades. Such as the ability to carry blocks that you could originally only punch, later you also get a punch-jump and roll-dash which allow you to reach places you could not get before. These items overall do not really elevate or dramatically change the way Panda Punch plays making their use and added variety somewhat limited.  

Panda Punch has some charming pixel-art graphics and a vibrant, colorful world. The main character, Zeep, has a cute design, though sometimes feels more like a fox. I still thought he was a cool character and the massive arm looks silly and badass at the same time.  The game provided various biomes and with it some visual diversity. From lush forests to dense jungles, each environment has its unique visual style but these changes are mostly looks and do not greatly affect the gameplay mechanics or puzzle types.

The boss battles, although somewhat uneven in design, make for cool encounters, these encounters are memorable highlights that showcase the game's potential. Additionally, Panda Punch features a chiptune soundtrack that complements the action, delivering catchy and energetic tunes that enhance the overall experience.  But then again, I am a sucker for a good chiptune soundtrack.

Parental Recommendation:

ESRB rates Panda Punch at E for Everyone 10 and up. And it is generally kid-friendly in terms of content, with no explicit violence or inappropriate themes. However, parents should note that some challenging platforming sections might frustrate younger players, and the game's difficulty can vary from easy to very challenging. 

Final Thoughts:

Panda Punch offers a mixed gaming experience. While it boasts charming graphics, solid platforming mechanics, and an enjoyable soundtrack, it falls short in terms of combat depth, enemy variety, and level design. The game's lack of a compelling narrative and repetitive gameplay elements might not hold the interest of more discerning players.

In summary, Panda Punch is a decent choice for fans of puzzle platformers looking for a light-hearted adventure at a fun little price. If you have a fondness for red pandas and can overlook its shortcomings, it may provide a few hours of entertainment. However, for those seeking a more substantial and satisfying gaming experience, Panda Punch might leave you wanting more.

Game: Panda Punch
Publisher: Ratalaika Games
Developer:  Ninja Rabbit Studio
Platform: PS4, PS5, Microsoft Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, PC Steam and Nintendo Switch
Release Date: 16th December 2022, 2023 (Price: $4.99)
Review Platform: XBOX Series X
ESRB: E10+

About the writer: DadGeek (Rob) is the co-founder of GeeksVsGeeks. He is a product of the eighties and never let go of his geek interest and hobbies no matter how often someone told him to stop. His love for gaming and all things geeks has been part of his parenting style and permeates throughout the whole family. A family of Geeks vs Geeks   


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