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Pangya Review by Adun

Pangya, also known as Albatross18, is an online multiplayer golfing simulation game developed by Ntreev Soft. The US server was originally hosted by OGPlanet, but has ceased operations in March 2009, with hosting provided by Ntreev USA henceforth.

Publisher: Ntreev USA

System Requirements
OS: Windows 98 / 98SE / ME / 2000 / XP
Processor: Pentium III 800Mhz or higher
RAM: 256 MB or higher
Video Card: Geforce 2 MX or higher
DirectX: Direct X 8.1 or higher
HDD Space: Approximately 660 MB

Pangya’s core game mechanics do little to differentiate themselves from other golf titles, but you can’t expect that much from sport simulation games; it’s just golf. Pangya has golf courses, balls, clubs to hit them with, a person hitting them. Then there’s the ball physics (wind angle, velocity, power corrections, ball spin, etc.), to achieve realism as much as possible (though one can still land lots of “chip ins”, given they understand the game engine’s algorithms). If you’re a golfing game fanatic, you’ll feel right at home with Pangya. It’s even newbie-friendly enough to make any casual gamer comfortable.

A common goal in the game is to gain experience through versus matches and tournaments. Everybody earns experience at the end of a round, even if you did not win (winners still earn more), so a casual player can still advance decently given that veteran players are kicking his rear at Pangya all the time. Of course, this translates to rookies having to play more rounds than veteran players in order to earn their way up the ladder, but since Pangya is a casual game, matches are relatively short and relaxing to play through, so long as you stick to playing 3 hole rounds instead of half or full courses.

The other goal that players share and compete for is the game’s currency: Pang. Pang can be earned by simply completing rounds, but various techniques exist that can boost your earned Pang. Pangya features a unique special shot system that performs the physically impossible, which is a nice twist to set it apart from other golfing simulators. While performing your shot, given the conditions are met, you can input certain button combinations (Up + Down for Tomahawk shot, for example) to execute a special shot. The effects of these shots varies and give players more power and control over where their ball lands, as well as some additional Pang for pulling it off.

The "Spike" special shot in action.

Pangya is a charming online game that any golfing game fan or casual gamer alike can pick up and enjoy. The only real disadvantage in Pangya’s gameplay is simply the fact that it’s golf. If you don’t like golf, you will not enjoy Pangya. That said, Pangya certainly delivers in terms of allowing users to enjoy a nice, quick game of virtual golf without having to leave the comfort of their homes or their cubicles at the office.

Gameplay Rating: 10/10

As of this writing, Pangya has a total of 9 different characters, 15 various courses (some of which have interesting gimmicks) split into five difficulty levels, and an array of equipment available for each of your characters. Unlike other golfing games, Pangya has an emphasis on dressing up your characters in order to achieve higher stats (or you can just dress for looks). Increased stats can also be achieved through upgrading with Pang, whereas your maximum stat can be raised by improving your rank and purchasing better equipment. Typically, rookies with low power stats will not be able to achieve a drive that travels far enough to play a tougher course comfortably, so they will struggle a little bit and often find themselves a single stroke behind their superior competition. However, this problem can be mitigated with a fair amount of skill. The difference from players that have high stats to those who have low stats is slim, enabling very balanced gameplay where it actually takes skill to win games. I’ve personally beaten people who have played much longer than I with absolutely no cash shop, and it only shows that people who are ranked high or decked with cash items have just spent more time with the game than you.

Pangya offers a wide selection of game modes to ensure a nice mix of variety and fun for their players. A common game mode is Versus, where two to four players can take turns golfing, aiming for the lowest amount of strokes. In the case you can’t find any opponents to play Versus mode against, you can always play against someone’s Ghost for Pang, thanks to the recent Season 4 update. There is also a cooperative Match mode, but only two-on-two is available. Each team is represented by one ball and work together to defeat their opposition. Tournament mode is available in Pangya, which supports a massive amount of players (up to 30). In a tourney, golfers progress through the course at their own pace and play simultaneously. However, other player’s characters and shot aren’t rendered on your screen, so they don’t prove distracting. You will only see a small white token that marks where one of your colleagues is currently located and travels to wherever their shot lands as you play. Pangya offers a special game mode called Pang Battle, where players pay a 100 Pang entrance fee to participate. Whoever scores the best in a hole of play gets the whole pot. In the case of a draw, the game carries over to the next hole and multiplies the amount of Pang in the pot. If there is still a draw, a special round call Approach is played.

Approach can be played separately as a game mode as well. Since Season 4, the entrance fee has been removed. A game of Approach is a simple mini-game where players start a certain distance from the green and have to chip the ball as close to the hole as possible without chipping in. Approach lasts for 9 rounds, but if it’s played during Pang Battle, you only play one. A set of missions are often provided randomly for each round of Approach. Completing a mission offers gift boxes for each player that meets the conditions for that hole. These missions can be as simple as your distance to the cup being even. Sometimes the missions are so bizarre that they provide a unique twist to Approach, such as having the farthest distance from the cup instead of closest or having a specific player chip in (which will net everybody gift boxes if he/she succeeds). The gift boxes are opened at the end of Approach and contain free useable items, which is a great substitute to earning them as opposed to grinding for Pang and buying them in the shop. All these unique game modes offer dozens of variations to the game’s 15 courses that any hardcore golf gamer will be entertained for ages to come.

Features Rating: 10/10

Another prerequisite to enjoying Pangya, besides being a golf fan, would be its anime style graphics. It has bright color schemes and cute, cartoony character designs that would turn away gamers seeking a more realistic or serious golfing experience. If these are right up your alley, then be prepared to be blown away by the game’s amazing graphical and audio presentation quality. It’s a bit of a dated game, but even in today’s gaming market, Pangya offers beautiful graphics and sound audio effects. If you’re playing on ice themed courses like Ice Cannon and White Wiz, you’ll see particles of snow in the air, and ash if you’re playing Deep Inferno. Particularly, I personally enjoyed the pink cherry blossom pedals that blow through the air as you play a round on Pink Wind. There are plenty of interesting themed doodads that decorate the course that can prove to be obstacles which set each course apart. These can be anything from giant ships and castles to craters of lava and lighthouses. The textures along the edges of fairways sometimes appear broken off or uneven, but they’re nothing too distracting.

The special effects and animations that emerge with power and special shots have stunning detail that successfully deliver and distinguish each type of shot apart from the next. The most ridiculous special shot animation I experienced was the Tomahawk shot, whereas the ball acts similarly to a tomahawk missile, exploding on impact in a deliciously giant orb of luscious fiery effects.

Pangya offers a nice soundtrack too, and several songs are selected to play for the courses, each suiting the mood quite well. Multiple themes are chosen to randomly play for each hole, so you aren’t hearing the same track over and over for each of the holes you play on a particular course. You certainly won’t find yourself shutting the music off until you’ve gotten tired of the entire library, if ever. Sound effects are dead on accurate for many instances in the game, such as the ball impacting various types of terrain and hitting the ball at various intensities with different clubs. I just couldn’t ask for more.

Aesthetics Rating: 10/10

Since the US server is currently hosted by Ntreev USA and those who have experienced their Trickster Online servers know for a fact that the quality service that they deliver is downright pathetic. Player suggestions and requests are completely ignored, one-on-one interactions with GMs is a genuine rarity, the community is littered with hackers and people screaming in foreign languages, ridiculous gambling schemes that most people can’t help but fall victim to (Gacha, I’m looking at you), and inexperienced GMs, just to name a few. If you’re lucky enough to plow through an ocean of players with terrible sportsmanship, impatience, spamming habits, and worse, you just might find some sane people to befriend and enjoy the game with. Better yet, try to find people within this very community to play Pangya with.

The updates to Pangya aren’t very frequent but the game is always expanding. The recent release of Season 4 to a game that is already several years old tells me that they aren’t done updating it yet. I sure hope they never stop, but even if they did, Pangya is packed full of content to satisfy for a ridiculous amount of time.

Community Rating: 5/10

Most spin-offs of sports games typically fail to deliver, but Pangya is one of those rare few that actually succeed. Do yourself a favor and treat yourself to a few rounds of Pangya if you haven’t already. You’re missing out. This game has enough features to keep an avid golf gamer occupied for countless hours, if you can ignore the sharply anime-influenced graphics and the atrocious US server community.

Graphics: 10/10
Features: 10/10
Aesthetics: 10/10
Community: 5/10
Overall Rating: 87%

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