When you’re far from home, all you need are two balloons. Well, at least for Amigo Pancho (out now, $0.99), a physics puzzler featuring a high-flying adventurer. Starting off from Texas, our hero, Pancho, journeys to chilly Siberia, followed by Tibet. Along the way, he’s met with many obstacles that threaten to pop his balloons and send him to his demise. Fortunately, he’s got you to help him clear his way.

Amigo-Pancho-Screenshot-1In the beginning, Amigo Pancho will remind you a little of Where’s My Water? because you’ll be able to dig through sandy overhangs to give Pancho his vertical flying space. The resemblance pretty much stops there. Amigo Pancho throws at you a whole lot more obstacles and objects to handle, and I actually found it more engaging than the more popular game.

While some obstacles are innocuous and only block Pancho, others threaten his life. Bees and prickly bat-like creatures will pop Pancho’s balloons if given a chance, and so too will the mean spike-shooting cacti and brigands who have also taken to the air on balloons. In addition, there are booming cannons and rockets.

Through manipulating various objects, from movable metal bars and fans to boulders on wooden boxes and beams that are strangely riveted to the air (until you vanquish the wood with a touch), you can make the way safe for Pancho. Sometimes, you can turn one “obstacle” onto another. Such as by firing a rocket at a bat. Or letting spiky balls burst the brigands’ balloons. Alternatively, you can let the brigands get away if it will also help Pancho. Timing comes into play occasionally, and you can also manage two objects simultaneously with two fingers. Once you’re ready to send Pancho on his way, you’ll have to tap him to get him soaring.

Amigo-PanchoAmigo Pancho seems simplistic, but there are so many new obstacles introduced as you progress through the levels that you never get bored. At least, I didn’t. If you do get stuck at a level, you can essentially skip it by using a power-up. You can buy more of these by using coins you earn in the game. It isn’t neccessary though. While some levels are more challenging than others, there never was one I couldn’t solve. And be aware, if you use the Super Pancho power, you won’t get a score for that level or find out how to solve it. Other items you can buy in the store include clothing, hats, glasses, and balloons.

Overall, the greatest flaw of Amigo Pancho is probably its limited number of levels (currently 60 spread across three countries). Happily, more should be coming in future updates.

Verdict

Fans of physics puzzlers will probably feel right at home with Amigo Pancho. The game is pretty addictive, yet it shouldn’t sap too much time. You can also replay levels to try for a better time score. At just $0.99, there’s little reason not to get it. There’s also a lite version you can try first for free.