Price: $0.99   Score: 9/10   Category: Games

Get ready for cuteness overload as pandas go miniature in an attempt to win the science lab from the hold of evil atoms. Nano Panda is the latest of the Cute the Rope and Angry Birds level pack game iterations, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have something to contribute to the genre.

In this physics based strategy puzzler you launch pandas from canon type structures strategically so they crash into and disintegrate evil atoms out of existence. Each level has no more than a few evil atoms to destroy, but the twist comes in with the addition of stars, boundaries, and moving obstacles.

In the case of stars, you want to apprehend as many as possible on the way to destroying the evil atoms. In some cases gathering stars is a natural part of the level winning process, but in other cases you have to use your limited pandas wisely in an attempt to gather the stars before obliterating the evil atoms.

Add to that boundary walls, moving spikes, and platforms for bouncing off of and suddenly the game that started off as cute but easy quickly becomes a battle of creative problem solving.

What’s more is the fact that shooting multiple pandas creates a kind of electrical force field that causes the nano pandas to attract and move away from one another in loopy arcs. Launch two canons and the pandas swoop back and forth around each other but put more into the mix and they start to circulate strategically.

If a level turns out to be a goon you can skip past it no problem, but every skip means a missed opportunity when it comes to advancing from one group of levels to the next. Right now there are four level packs, but the app hints at more to come for panda launching aficionados.

Although Unit9‘s Nano Panda could easily be chalked up to somewhat of a remake, it manages to rise above most knockoffs with its own tone, voice and varied game play.

The music itself can feel somewhat juvenile at times but the graphics are always crisp and the physics engine is perfect. This is an extremely well executed game and the fact that it’s universally optimized for both the iPad and iPhone only adds to its value.

Bottom Line: Nano Panda is a Cut the Rope meets Angry Birds fast physics puzzler with cute graphics and all around strong execution.

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