Nintendo's eShop has become a home for aspiring indie developers; admittedly, the situation on the Wii U and 3DS is not much different on any other rival digital platform. Since the inception of mobile app stores, Valve's Early Access & Greenlight programs on its Steam platform as well as the likes of Kickstarter, releasing a game to the masses has become a lot easier. At the same time, it's become increasingly difficult to sift through all the disappointing experiences in each marketplace in the hope of finding the occasional diamond in the rough. Unfortunately, RCMADIAX's PANDA LOVE isn't a gem.
For the same price as a can of drink, PANDA LOVE is a tiny little game that will last a seasoned veteran about ten minutes at best. Even that's being generous with the average play through. Although playtime should not always be taken into serious consideration, in this case it's certainly a major talking point. There is simply not enough content in this title to make the purchase worthwhile. Maybe if there were more levels and challenges to overcome, or even a high score or time trial mode, there would be more value, but in its current state there is no longevity.
The general basis of the game is to guide a running panda through 19 levels while jumping spikes, collecting coins and leaping from one platform to another so that the cuddly animal can be reunited with its companion. Only one button is required to make the panda jump. The gradual difficulty increase is barely apparent, but newcomers may find the occasional challenging moment. Jumping spikes is a staple across the 19 levels, and eventually platforms are thrown into the mix. The most difficult challenges are disappearing platforms and even this won't halt progress for much longer than a few seconds.
Each level requires the panda to collect every coin and then jump through the portal to move onto the next. Mistakes will be made regularly, though fortunately there are infinite retries on offer in each level. Nothing is particularly wrong with the level design in Panda Love, it's just the limited quantity that is the problem.
The pixel art assets makes PANDA LOVE an approachable game, as does the single lullaby song on loop. Oddly though, the title's resolution does not even extend to the borders of the television screen - or the GamePad for that matter. Combined, the visuals and audio are still not enough to salvage this title.
PANDA LOVE is undeniably one of the shortest ever games released on the Wii U eShop. Upon completion, you'll likely be bewildered by the fact you've actually just completed the entire game within minutes. Strangely, you may even be enticed to go back and complete the game a few additional times. Due to the game being so short there is an ever so slight sense of satisfaction when it comes to seeing how fast you can speed run the entire game. This does not entirely make up for short-lived nature of the title, however.
With such a concise playtime, it's hard to recommend PANDA LOVE to any hardened veteran; at best, this is a simple starter game for young children. While it has acceptable production values in the sound and visuals department, and is an affordable price, it's a game that's nevertheless over within the space of five to ten minutes. You could likely find the exact same type of game, more padded out, for free on a mobile app store or browser game website; as a result it's hard to show too much love for this one.