Game Review: Polar Panic (PSN, Xbox LIVE)

POLAR_BOXEvil trappers have bear-napped a polar bear family, and now it’s up to Polar the polar bear (yes, that’s his name) to save the day! Help Polar push and slide around ice cube blocks and squish the trappers in this downloadable action-puzzle game on PSN and Xbox LIVE (360 version reviewed here).


Polar Panic is similar to other classic block pushing maze games such as Pengo, Kickle Cubicle, and Adventures of Lolo (surely I’m not the only one who has heard of these games). There’s also a bit in Bomberman style antics thrown in as well.

As Polar, you maneuver around the maze of ice blocks, avoiding the roving trappers along the way. Stand next to an ice block and press the button to send it sliding. And if any trappers are in the way, they’ll get squished and disappear. Slide ice blocks into igloos and cabins so no more trappers can come out. Push around dynamite blocks for a big bang. Knock over snowmen, polar bear ice statues, and caged polar bears for extra lives and bonus points.

There are three different modes of play. In Story Mode, play through levels to find the exits and save your polar bear family. In Puzzle Mode, slide around blocks and make it to the goal in as few moves as possible. And try to make it through waves of trappers in a single maze in Survivor Mode. You can even do local multiplayer in that mode as well.

Only problem with Polar Panic is the price is a tiny bit steep for just a simple game. But at least it’s only 800 MS Points. It’s not quite as good as Pengo, but Polar Panic is a decent enough game to put you in a wintery mood.


Kid Factor:

Polar Panic is rated E for Everyone with ESRB descriptors of Mild Cartoon Violence and Tobacco Reference. The villain Mr. Big has a cigar in his mouth, so there’s the tobacco reference. You and the trappers can get squished, shot, and blown up, but defeated characters just disappear in a puff of smoke. Reading skill is helpful, but not necessary as there are picture cues to go along with the instructions. Plus the single button controls are pretty easy to figure out. There are three modes of difficulty, so players of all skill levels in the family can enjoy Polar Panic. But even on Easy, some parts of the game can be a little tough, so younger gamers might get a little frustrated. Polar Panic is still a decent enough simple game for the whole family, and it encourages thinking and logic skills, too.

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