Today we're going to review Pingo Pingo: Raiders of the Golden Pineapple, a new party/dexterity game from Iello. It's for 2-5 players, and features a sweet soundtrack CD, some cardboard standees, and a dart gun. Yes, that's right: a suction cup dart gun!
But enough hype, let's take a look!
Well, I kind of already told you, but let's break it down a little further.
Cards-- There are Life Counter cards (each player has 7), Treasure cards (both night and day, and trapped and untrapped Treasure cards), a few Camp cards, as well as Event cards that send you around the room performing tasks--yes, around the room!
A Soundtrack CD -- This plays the soundtrack for the game, which lasts exactly 15 minutes, and you cannot play the game without the soundtrack--more on that later.
Cardboard Standees -- There are 2 bridge standees, a Space Penguin (yes, that's Space Penguin of King of Tokyo Promo fame!), a Bear Rider, and a Pirate Ship standee as well.
A Dart Gun -- There's a suction cup dart gun that looks like a cool old musket-loader pistol!
9 suction cup darts -- Well, it comes with 10, but let's just admit to ourselves that you're going to lose at least 1 within the first couple games.
Jeremiah--The suction cup dart gun is probably my favorite game component ever! It's awesome, and it's easy to cock and load so my youngest doesn't have any trouble using it. Plus it looks pretty sweet!
Give each player 7 Life cards, and they'll be placed with the heart side up. Then shuffle together the rest of the cards--Treasures, Camps, and Events--and deal them out evenly to each player. Throw the CD into a CD player of some sort--or rip it into a device that can play back a music file. Then set the standees up around the room. It's recommended they get set up about 6 or so feet away from the table, and you should put the two bridge ones on opposite sides of the room.
The story goes: You and the other players are adventurers who have found an island with an unspeakable wealth of treasures. Problem is, all of the penguin warriors on the islare trying to stop you!
Before we get to the actual gameplay let me describe the cards a little more:
There are four versions of each Treasure card: day, night, day trapped, and night trapped. Treasure cards are how you score points at the end of the game. The Camp cards allow you to steal two Treasure cards from other players--either two from one player, or one from two players. The Event cards go like this: with the exception of the Monkey Sorcerer, they cause the player who played them to perform actions that involve the standees that are set up across the room.
To start the game, simply start the soundtrack. You'll hear the rowing of your boats oars as you approach the island, followed by your footsteps as you head into the jungle. The game starts when the jungle drums start! During the day you'll hear jungle drums, and at night you'll hear crickets and nighttime sounds, and randomly through both day and night, you'll hear the penguin warriors cry "Pingo Pingo!" Once the game has started players take turns flipping cards from their stack (Adventure Deck) away from them so you can't see it before it is played into the middle of the table. The dexterity comes in at this point. When a card is played, IF it is the same time of day (day/night according to the soundtrack) and IF it's not a trapped card, you have to be the first person to slap it in order to score it. If it's the wrong time of day and/or IF it's trapped and you slap it, you lose one of your lives!
If you flip over the Monkey Sorcerer the first player to slap it gains a life point back, unless of course they have all seven lives still, then they lose one.
So to this point the game might sound a bit like that tired old game Rat Slap that you used to play with a regular old deck of cards. But it's only a little similar--and we haven't even come to the crazy Events yet. Here's how those play out!
For these Event cards, no one slaps them, it's simply a matter of who flips them. Here we go:
The Space Penguin causes you to jump up, run and touch the Pirate Ship standee, and then sit back in your seat, grab the gun, and attempt to shoot the Space Penguin standee.
The Bear Rider requires you to sit the bear-riding penguin standee from your seat.
If you flip the Bridge Event, you'll have to jump up and touch each of the bridge standees!
Penguin Rampage: The lucky player who flips this card gets to scoop up all of the cards from the middle of the table and deal them back out to all the players!
So what's the big deal about doing these Events, you can just take your time and walk to the standees or line up your shots, right? Wrong! If you're trying to perform an action and the penguin warriors on the soundtrack cry "Pingo Pingo!" before you complete it, you lose a life! Yes. Things just got frantic!
You play until the soundtrack ends and you hear footsteps leading out of the jungle, or until there is only one player left alive because the other players have lost all of their lives.
Scoring is fairly easy: You simply count up your treasures, but your score is capped by how many lives you have remaining. You can only score three treasures per life point you have left!
I had the good fortune of demoing Pingo Pingo at its debut at Origins in early June. My boys and wife all loved it right away! It's fast, and frantic and just a lot of fun! There is no strategy involved--it's simply a dexterity game, and the better you can recognize the cards you should and should not slap, the better you'll do. That's about the totality of the learning curve!
The one thing we had a hard time with was the managing of the darts. There are 10 of them, so after taking several shots when the first event came up, they get depleted fast, so you have to chase down darts, and make your shot, all before the penguin warriors cry Pingo Pingo again! Did I mention it's a little frantic?
The artwork and components are great, bright, colorful, and fun. And the Trap cards are awesome too, because it's not obvious that they're trapped--you have to look closely! This leads to us shouting "It's a trap!" quite often, and that's always a good thing! The standees easily fall over so it is recommend that you weigh them somehow in the base.
I particularly loved the fact that I could set up the game however/wherever I wanted. Sometimes the bridges are close together, sometimes one end is in another room--it all depends on how crazy you want the game to be!
Final Verdict-- Is Pingo Pingo the most involved, strategic, skill-based dexterity game you'll play? No. But it is a TON of fast-paced frantic fun. It's a fixed-time party filler that will definitely liven up your game night!
Thanks for reading!
We'd like to thank Iello Games for supplying Jeremiah with a review copy of Pingo Pingo, this in no way shaped his opinion of the game!