Peter Panic was released by Adult Swim Games in 2016. The plot focuses around Peter, a recent graduate of acting school looking to bring musical theater back to his hometown. However, he arrives to find the theater closed and in disrepair after its last show, a production of Peter Pan, allegedly ended in disaster. Peter then sets out to revive the theater with the very same show that caused the theater's demise... but he'll need to acquire funding and find the cast and crew first, all while unraveling the true circumstances of the theater's mysterious closure.
Gameplay-wise, it plays almost identically to the WarioWare series: you are assaulted with a barrage of microgames lasting only a few seconds each with little explanation on how the games actually work, and the goal is to complete as many as you can before making too many mistakes and running out of lives while the games gradually increase in speed and difficulty. The major selling point, however, is the presentation: the game plays out like a Broadway musical, with a score written and performed by a wide array of actual Broadway talent. It's one of those rare games that really has to be seen to be fully appreciated.
After seven months when it was released, the second act was released in October and the game is officially complete, with teasing of sequel.
The entire soundtrack for Act 1 is also available for purchase.
Peter Panic contains examples of:
- Adam Smith Hates Your Guts: Every time you win something from the Unlock Wheel, the price to spin it again goes up.
- Bland-Name Product: In the opening sequence for the Game Dev Studio, Eric mishears Peter's preference for musicals as "casuals"... like Dandy Rush and Bejonkers.
- Breaking the Fourth Wall: The bonus level has a Post Show celebration where Peter invited the developers for the game. The two even reminds him that he has microgames to do.
- Chekhov's Gun: The boss game for the Packing Peanut Factory, which has you feeding packing peanuts to a demon, seems like yet another throwaway moment of randomness. It actually turns out to be relevant later; the packing peanuts contained a sedative that kept the demon placated while it rested underneath the factory.
- When explaining what happened to the theater, the CEO reveals that he was the director for the local show. This becomes important later when it's revealed why the Demon is after theater: he auditioned for the show but didn't get a part, due to an idiotic director.
- Demonic Possession: The Demon does this to Ms. Nickel.
- Department of Redundancy Department: "If not, then step on up to the latest attraction, the Death Defying Death Coaster of Death!"
- Disproportionate Retribution: The Demon is after musicals because he didn't get a role in last year's Peter Pan.
- Eldritch Abomination: The Demon.
- Exact Words: The Breakout microgame will end if you manage to break all of the bricks. However, because the instructions are to "Live!", you'll still win if you simply stay alive long enough.
- Freemium: An odd variant: the entire game is technically available from the start. However, you can't save unless you pay for the ability to do so. Also, the developers will keep popping in every time you complete a stage to nag you until you do.
- Gameplay Roulette: As would be expected of a WarioWare clone.
- In addition, each act of the show itself consists of five parts, with each having its own unique gameplay mechanic.
- Guide Dang It!: There's no indication in the "Smeerio" microgame that the height of your jump is determined by how long you touch the screen. Good luck getting over those bricks until you figure this out.
- Hollywood Tone-Deaf: The first couple of kids Peter auditions for the role of Peter Pan before coming across Emily.
- Ignored Confession: Both Gideon and Emily confess to Peter before the final battle, but Peter declares that it's not the right time.
- Leaning on the Fourth Wall: Once you start Act 2, the gang acts like they haven't had something to do for a long time, which is resonable, since it took about seven months for the game to be completed.
- Love Triangle: Both Emily and Gideon have crushes on Peter, which he has no idea about.
- Luck-Based Mission: The Unlock Wheel.
- Mood Whiplash: Once the presence of the demon is revealed, the hub screen's sky will turn red and the music changes to something much more sinister and dark. Thankfully, this changes once the Demon is defeated.
- The Musical: Both the game itself and what Peter's trying to put together.
- Noodle Incident: The circumstances behind the theater's closure. The official record is that it was a production of Peter Pan Gone Horribly Wrong, but as you look deeper, the truth becomes more sinister.
- Paper-Thin Disguise: The CEO's "brilliant" disguise in the Neverland stage is a hat, a fake mustache, and a pair of swirly-eye glasses. Peter sees through it immediately.
- Record Needle Scratch: This happens when the Demon recognizes the CEO as the one who denied him a part in the play.
- Retraux: The art style sits somewhere between the 8-bit and 16-bit eras of gaming.
- The Game Dev Studio level has a ton of them:
- The microgames themselves are all cheap knockoffs of popular games including Super Mario Bros., Doom, and Flappy Bird.
- In the Boss game, the player character's name is S.Iwata, and the enemy monster closely resembles a Slime from the Dragon Quest franchise.
- In the "Reprise" theme (when you restart the level), Eric's line "If you're gonna be a bear, be a grizzly" is taken from The Cannonball Run.
- In addition, the game cabinets in the Arcade resemble those of other popular games, like Dr. Mario.
- The Game Dev Studio level has a ton of them:
- Take That!: In the Game Dev Studio, Eric will sometimes make remarks about how awesome the game is, or about video games as art, when most microgames start. However, one of the microgames is a poorly made Candy Crush Saga clone where the sole objective of the game is to buy more credits. Eric regards this particular game with utter contempt."This is the worst game I've ever played. Get out. I hate it."
- Then in the Apartments, it insults games with ads as well.
- Variable Mix: Certain lyrics in the show will change depending on how well you're doing.Emily: Flying with you feels like teething...
Peter: Feels like what?!