Pangya doesn't really change the way golf is played, but its super-cute graphics and adorable story mode should help it stand out. The story of Fantasy Golf is rather trite, and its mere existence is an interesting oddity. Characters are shaped from the same cliche anime molds we're familiar with, but the stunning art really makes these characters come to life.
The actual golf mechanics should be familiar to anyone that's played a golf game before. You aim, set your power, and try to time your shot to land within an appropriate range. The basics are recreated as they are in any other game: you can choose your club, add top and backspin, etc.
Pangya has a much more arcade-feel than other games, made clear by the game's emphasis on special items. You can equip your characters with a number of stat-altering costumes before a match, and you can also place special potions in your bag to give you a boost in the middle of a round. There are even special balls you equip that change how far your ball will go. The type of items you can carry, and the number you're allowed to carry depend on a variety of factors, like your initial equipment and your character's level.
Unfortunately, these items cannot be used to harm other characters. Golf is a sportsmanly game, y'know. Perhaps using items would be a bit more dramatic if you could use them more like Mario Kart items. Another flaw we found with the preview: lengthy load times. It takes quite a while to load each course. We also found putting to be more difficult than in Hot Shots, because the on-screen indicator for slopes is not as clear. Finally, while there is Ad-Hoc support, there is no Infrastructure support for multiplayer.
From what we've seen so far, Pangya is offering a rather comprehensive golf game, but it still can't best Hot Shots Golf. Regardless, it does everything a golf game is supposed to do, and does it with style. It's one of the few games to come out on PSP in the early half of this year, so we're going to keep a closer eye on it.