Posted by Marcel van Duyn
Pang in the future
If you're an arcade game connoiseur, you may be familiar with the Pang/Buster Bros. series. With your grappling hook gun, the objective was to fire lines across the screen to pop the numerous bubbles bouncing around on contact. Of course, you yourself had to avoid any direct contact with the bubbles, or you'd get a quick Game Over. The series was recently revived, so is the clearly inspired Datamine poorly timed or completely welcome?
If you're familiar with how Pang plays, then you should easily be able to figure out exactly how to play Datamine. You control a robot who's tasked with cleaning up leaked computer data that has taken the form of bubbles. From there it's pretty much exactly the same: You move left and right, shooting lines upwards, which will pop any bubbles they hit on contact, generally splitting them into two or more smaller ones, which repeats until they're all gone.
Even the power-ups are almost identical, as you'll gain the ability to have two or three lines on-screen simultaneously, a grappling hook that lets lines stick for a while instead of instantly disappearing, and more.
There's only one true addition, and it's one which makes perfect sense. Since the playing area here consists of two screens rather than one, you are able to scale the walls and shoot lines horizontally across the screen rather than straight up only. You'll have to go all the way back down if you want to move to the other side though.
The game's got 100 levels to plow through, all divided up into different worlds. The level of challenge also obviously ramps up through it all with different types of bubbles, like ones that combine after splitting up, or ones with protective armour that has to be destroyed. While clearing these, you can also choose to try and clear a hefty seven pages of achievements, which adds some more replay value for perfectionists.
If going through a limited amount of levels isn't your thing, there's also a marathon mode where you can try to survive as long as possible. It doesn't differ from the main game in terms of gameplay at all, but it at least offers you an alternative mode of play.
Although the soundtrack is upbeat and fairly catchy, and there's nice variation in the graphics with each world having its own backgrounds, there's a decidedly low-budget feel about it all; for example, the fact that certain songs loop with a very clear skip.
Although clearly inspired by Pang, Datamine's addition of horizontal shooting mixes things up a little and makes it all slightly more interesting. Since it's not really an original concept, we can't really call it a great title, but what you're getting is a pretty good deal for just 500 DSiWare Points