Amigo Pancho 2

What do famous protagonists do when they've worn out of all of their appeal and shenanigans in their indigenous environment? It seems the classic move is to take the action to a famous city or at least introduce an urban theme into the equation. It happened with Home Alone 2: Lost In New York, to an extent with Crocodile Dundee 2, and also with Jurassic Park: The Lost World. The same sort of situation has now occurred with physics' favourite baloonist Amigo Pancho, who has gone and gotten himself into a series of unfortunate binds in none other than New York City. Having shed his love for the blistering wild west, can Pancho navigate his way through the treacherous skies of New York unscathed? Not without your help he can't.

The way you can help Pancho in this iteration of the series is virtually identical to the method of play in the original Amigo Pancho: you must use the mouse. Specifically, you must click on various objects in order to manipulate and move them in a way that helps Pancho float off the top of the screen, signifying victory and triggering the start of the next level. As soon as you begin a level a points countdown begins, with the number rapidly dwindling the longer you take to solve the puzzle; speed is obviously the key here as solving the puzzle quickly will award you more points.

Puzzles take on a very familiar form (at least for those that have played the original anyhow), consisting of Pancho being stuck in a certain position on the screen whilst holding onto two balloons (one of these displays the statement I [heart] NY of course). From here you simply have to get Pancho to the top of the screen in order to cue the victory parade and then move on to then next level.

The usual array of obstacles always manages to get in your way however, with wooden and metal barriers being the primary hindrances that also act as surfaces for secondary antagonists to worm their way into your bad books. I'm talking about various creatures such as spiky aliens as well as certain technological items like giant flamethrowers and spiked girders, all of which mean bad news for the balloons that Pancho is using to facilitate his escape. Luckily for you, there are various items on hand that allow you to solve the various problems presented to you. In keeping with the urban theme, there are large fan units that you can use to blow Pancho in the right direction as well as mechanical diggers/earth movers that you can use to drive harmful objects out of the way while Pancho floats to safety.

As you can probably gather from the description of the game thus far, Amigo Pancho 2 is effectively a level pack that augments the original Amigo Pancho experience without truly adding any new mechanics to it. What it does add are a load of interchangeable variables: instead of cacti there are urban aliens; instead of low-tech cannons there are now industrial flamethrowers, and so on. I'm not saying it's a bad thing; Amigo Pancho was a great game and it's nice to have an extension of it in a different skin. It does display a little lack of imagination from developer Agame.com however, particularly when you realise that nothing has really changed but a few aesthetic and minor functional differences.

Still, it has to be said that Amigo Pancho 2 looks just as nice as its predecessor, if not a little more refined in its look. It is colourful, it's almost as bright as fellow physics game Bubble Guinea Pop, and it doesn't take itself too seriously which is a big plus for a physics-based game. The puzzles are somewhat challenging on occasion as well, though many will find them too easy, which just so happens to the be the flaw in the original Amigo Pancho as well. It must be said that Amigo Pancho 2 is therefore not a game for the serious physics-puzzle enthusiast and should instead be reserved for those that wish to do a bit of thinking but not too much. The game is great for a casual afternoon pastime in your lunch break perhaps, but it lacks the seriousness and difficulty of a truly formidable physics puzzler of the likes of the much-loved Fantasic Contraption.

Bebop Rating: 7.8/10