Piranha Panic comes in an attention grabbing box, has a great pinball style playing table and multi coloured marbles, great! But does this quirky looking game hold razor sharp game play? Or is it more of a damp squid?
There's no doubt the game components are of good quality and well designed. The main "pinball table" play area is easy to set up and contains rows of buckets that hide piranhas on the inside. These buckets represent a stream. Small coloured marbles represent fish that must reach the top of the stream before a piranha has chance to grab them. Piranhas are triggered by large marbles as they roll down the inside of the pinball table. Random buckets are knocked as they go, revealing the hidden piranhas, and grabbing any fish sitting in a flipped bucket, sending them back to the bottom of the stream. This mechanism works surprisingly well.
Each player, up to 4, chooses a colour and has 3 fish marbles they must get to the top of the stream. The first player to get all their fish to the top wins, simple. Or is it?
A player rolls the dice, if a number is shown (1 or 2) they move one of their fish upstream that many buckets (they may have more than one fish on the stream at once). If a friendly fish is rolled, they do nothing, effectively missing a turn. If a piranha is rolled, then the fun begins..
A player who turns up a piranha must roll the dice again and act on the consequences. The second roll represents how many piranha marbles are placed at the top of the stream and released down the table, potentially knocking buckets containing players fish. 1 or 2 piranha marbles may see some fish survive, all 4 piranhas could see the entire board wiped out!
Basically, this is a completely luck based game on two counts:
1/ rolls for movement
2/ fish being hit by piranhas cascading down the stream
So at face value, this does not seem like a game to keep the attention.
However, this is a fun game to play with a group of children. The rules set the tone, the first turn is taken by the player who pulls the best piranha face. I mean, this has to be the best way to determine first player ever! Kids, and adults, have not backed down from this challenge yet.
Played in the right spirit, children get a lot of enjoyment out of the 15 minutes or so playing Piranha Panic. It cannot be compared to the likes of Hey! That's my fish! As they offer entirely different game mechanics, however, it can be placed in the same category as Loopin Louis. Basically a fun, gimmicky, party game to pull out now and again. So not a Razor sharp must have, but not quite a damp squid either!