Genre: Puzzle, Multiplayer
System: Nintendo Switch (also on Steam, (Windows) PlayStation &Xbox)
Developers | Publishers: ABX Game Studio | Ratalaika Games
Age Rating: US E | EU 3+
Price: US $4.99 | UK £4.99 | EU €4,99
Release Date: March 25th, 2022
Review code used, with many thanks to Ratalaika Games.
Taqoban is a cute and colourful puzzle game developed by ABX Game Studio and published by Ratalaika Games.
Help the Panda
In Taqoban, you play as Tao or Xiang, two cuddly pandas. Your task is to help the pandas organize the boxes as efficiently as possible, so they earn some delicious golden bamboo. The game is a mixture of a sliding puzzle and a little platforming thrown in.
You have to negotiate the puzzle by sliding a box to the shiny red goal; as well as that; you also have to slide parts of the level together to create new paths for your panda and get the box to the goal. So, in reality, you are not only making sure the block and panda reach the goal but that you have shuffled the level around sufficiently to open the path to the goal.
Switches and Pushers
You’ll need plenty of strategy skills in this sweet puzzle game as, of course, it would not be a puzzle game if it was as simple as moving to the goal. In addition, various other obstacles hinder your progress, such as Switches and Pushers that push the block away if it makes contact. Furthermore, Ice blocks only break if the block the panda is pushing lands on it, teleport blocks that move the block to a different section of the level, and many more mechanics are added as you progress through the game.
Oh, and did I mention that the longer it takes you to complete each puzzle, the less bamboo the panda receives at the end. If you don’t manage to finish with bamboo, you witness a sad and disappointed panda as it cries. Each puzzle must be completed before moving on to the next one, so be prepared to replay puzzles repeatedly until you succeed.
Beginner, Junior, Expert and Master modes
The first eleven levels in the game are a tutorial to help you get used to the mechanics and the controls. Once you have completed the tutorial, you can select from Beginner, Junior, Expert and Master modes. There is also a two-player mode to play with a friend.
Moving the level for the panda to proceed adds extra puzzling for you to solve in combination with getting the block to the goal. The game has more than fifty levels with increasing difficulty. However, any new mechanics added are explained well to the player, and it’s not an overly difficult game, but it does offer a good challenge.
Visuals and Controls
The graphics are bright and colourful, with an upbeat soundtrack. Along with the animation of the pandas when they get the bamboo, you can’t help but smile while you are playing the game.
The game is controlled with the joy-cons and they work as they should. You use the D-pad to slide the levels around and the stick to move the panda. You can also zoom in closer to the puzzle to get a clearer view.
I’ve really enjoyed playing Taqoban for this review. My only complaint would be that fifty levels aren’t enough. When I finished the game, I was wanting to carry on playing it. So to me, that is a sign of an excellent puzzle game if you want to keep playing it after it finishes.
Final Verdict: Two Thumbs Up