Don’t let the heavily pixelated screenshots fool you. Pangeon is a decent but very simple dungeon crawler that moves with the speed and fluidity of Doom. The 2D sprites in a 3D space and the tight corridors also give off serious Wolfenstein vibes.
Playing as one of four character classes, the goal is to reach the end of each labyrinth while avoiding traps and killing monsters along the way. The exceeding basic presentation might not win any awards but winds up providing its own sense of unexpected, adorable charm right down to the way the shop keeper mumbles at you.
Even though it is described as a rogue-like title, this is not true as the stage design does not change with each attempt and death sends you back to the last checkpoint. There are multiple difficulty settings and pretty much everything above Easy will provide a tough challenge regardless of the character class. With limited money and arrows, it isn’t possible to cheese combat by picking off enemies from a distance either. Instead, standard hit-and-run techniques often work best for each encounter with a skeleton, slime, or boss. There are only a couple armor sets and weapons available and no special abilities so exploring and combat remain as basic as can be. Even with these severe restrictions, I found myself enjoying my journey through to the end even though the campaign ends rather abruptly.
Pangeon’s version of Horde mode also provides a stiff challenge but glad this one additional mode made it into the final product. Unfortunately, not having multiplayer options, especially for this mode, is a missed opportunity. There are other things that hold back the experience, like the lack of a map feature (can be difficult to navigate enclosed corridors that all look the same) and glitches (items will just fall through the floor) but these never break or end the game. There is barely any music or sound effects too, which provides a somewhat creepy, minor horror-like experience whether that was intentional or not.
The brevity of the campaign is also favorable as the super simple presentation and gameplay elements don’t have a chance to outstay their welcome. Although it is definitely not the best dungeon crawler out there, Pangeon is easily one of the most enjoyable Ultimate Games S.A. published titles.