Pandemonium 2 (PlayStation) Review

By Athanasios 04.06.2020

Review for Pandemonium 2 on PlayStation

Developed by Crystal Dynamics, Pandemonium 2 is the sequel to the original 2.5D platformer by Toys for Bob, which is sort of a cult classic; one that not many actually remember of nowadays - and, in all honesty, the same can be said about the title at hand as well, as it's almost the exact same thing all over again, with just a couple of minor changes and additions. Having said that, this is probably the best choice amongst these two forgotten titles, and here's why, in Cubed3's second look into this tiny series.

Not much has changed from Pandemonium!. Being a 2.5D platformer, the action still takes place in a linear path on which you can only go back and forth, but the path itself is three-dimensional, as is the world around it. The only big difference is in the art style. Starting with the characters, the playful jester Fargus is less playful and more phychotic, and Nikki is no longer a cute acrobat, but a sexy seductress/rave party goddess… in other words an improvement. All kidding aside, the change in the scenery is even more impressive. Generic fantasy land no more, the world you'll brave is basically a weird acid trip, with no level-to-level cohesion. The bizarre (yet catchy) OST follows suit...

Screenshot for Pandemonium 2 on PlayStation

Gameplay-wise, this continues the tradition of the original, keeping things simple, as there are no special "tricks" here to talk about. This is literally Running and Jumping: The Game. Don't mistake this for a complaint. While it would be great if there was something unique about Pandemonium 2, it's nice to see a platformer sticking to its roots. This is once again all about jumping from platform to platform, from rope to rope, and from monkey bar to monkey bar, avoiding all kinds of hazards, and collecting coins while at it to increase the stock of extra lives.

Having said that, it tends to be more enjoyable than what came before. For starters, the characters control much better, or to be more specific, Nikki's double jump now feels more natural, although it is still not perfect. Secondly, the camera has been vastly improved this time around, which means that players have no one else to blame but themselves, as they can now see clearly what's up ahead. Most of the time, at least, as it's not uncommon to find the occasional hard to "read" spot, especially due to how grainy the early-era PS1 visuals are, and the game's tendency to be darker than before.

Screenshot for Pandemonium 2 on PlayStation

Sure, there are some extra things that can be done here. The two protagonists can find a couple of power-ups, like the ability to shoot fireballs, and some levels can be a little more gimmicky, with machines to ride and so on. Also the two characters are somewhat different. Fargus has a rolling attack and a projectile move, while Nikki has a double jump... so, in other words, not much innovation. Oh, and like before, Nikki is the better choice, as the main source of death here won't be enemies, but endless pits, as the health bar is much longer this time around. The levels themselves are far more varied as well, and offer a larger variety of scenarios, with each one having its own unique theme.

Screenshot for Pandemonium 2 on PlayStation

Balanced? Not exactly. Some levels are much better than the rest, and some will make you reach for a cheat code so that you won't have to play it ever again, like for example the vehicle levels. Speaking of balance, like before, Pandemonium 2's levels can be surprisingly long, with some truly overstaying their welcome. If used to the shorter levels that can usually be found in platformers that might annoy you, but at least the pace of it all is quite fast - as long as you can keep with the challenge on offer, of course. Yeah, this is less tough than before, but don't come in expecting a walk in the park.

Pandemonium 2 is old-school. It shows no mercy, it doesn't care if you can beat it or not. It's generally fair, but be prepared to die a lot, especially during the final stretch. Something weird about the series is how you need a pretty large amount of coins to gain more lives. It's now easier to find 1-Up items, but collecting coins is actually something that you are better off avoiding, as many times you can actually get killed while doing so. In other words, get them only if you find it enjoyable to do so. In conclusion, while somewhat of an improvement, Pandemonium 2 remains something that is just… good. For retro maniacs only.

Screenshot for Pandemonium 2 on PlayStation

Cubed3 Rating

6/10
Rated 6 out of 10

Good

Pandemonium 2 is a fun, challenging, and extremely simple 2.5D platformer. It's slightly better than the first game, and definitely has that unique, early-PlayStation charm, but it's hard to recommend it to anyone but those who grew up in that era, or who are really into retro gaming. Or redheads.

Developer

Crystal Dynamics

Publisher

Crystal Dynamics

Genre

2D Platformer

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  6/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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