Pac-Man has always been an iconic video game figure. Much like Tetris, Pac-Man’s simple-yet-addicting gameplay has always proved to be popular, regardless of what is trending within the rest of the games industry. Despite Namco Bandai’s best efforts, games deviating from the classic hunt-or-be-hunted gameplay have usually received less than favourable reviews, particularly Pac-Man Kart Rally.
Determined not to go the way of the Hedgehog, Namco Bandai went back to the drawing board, and completely modernised Pac-Man with an ambitious new campaign. With a new animated TV series coming to Disney, called ‘Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures’, as well as a new game of the same name, Namco Bandai are pulling no punches when it comes to making Pac-Man the best lil’ chomper he can be. ‘Pac-Man Dash’, a fast-paced side-scrolling game for iOS and Android, also ties into the new animated series, and unlike previous attempts at putting Pac-Man in a different gameplay style, Pac-Man Dash is pretty darn addictive, and also quite accessible.
Players once again play as the titular Pac-Man, a yellow ball-man with an insatiable hunger for other littler yellow balls, which are now referred to as cookies. Yes, we finally know what Pac-Man eats: cookies.
Unlike the classic Pac-Man games, where players navigated a blue maze devouring pellets and ghosts, Pac-Man Dash is all about speed and lasting as long as you can as the levels become increasingly difficult. You can utilise different power ups, which can be earned by playing particularly well or by a micro-transaction. Normally, micro-transactions tend to annoy me, but it is entirely possible to play Pac-Man Dash without needing to purchase a single one. Also, a great deal of the temporary content can be permanently unlocked for only a few dollars. Pac-Man Dash itself is free, so the micro-transactions hardly sting, should people choose to pay them.
The gameplay is simple, yet very addictive. Namco Bandai have done pretty well to ensure that the core gameplay ideas behind classic Pac are reflected in this new game too. Players will play the same levels a number of times, but with different objectives to complete each time. Some are travelling a certain distance, some are eating a certain number of ghosts, etc. Eating more cookies makes Pac-Man run faster, eating ghosts gives the player more time, and eating fruit counts as eating 20 cookies or so, which in turn allows the player to use bonus items ore quickly. How varied and original this feels will ultimately come down to the player’s opinion, as the idea behind each level is the same every time: eat as much stuff as possible. Time your jumps well, and you will gain access to higher and tricker paths, with greater rewards. Though the end goal differs with each level you play, the way you play the game does not.
- Simple but fun gameplay
- Tons of levels
- New spin on classic Pac-Man Gameplay
After playing Pac-Man dash for a few hours, I still find enjoyment in the game. Its one of those games where you frequently say to yourself “just one more game, just one more game”, and before you know it, you’ve been playing a mobile game for well over an hour or so. While I personally like the new look of Pac-Man, I’m sure there are Pac-Man purists out there who will dislike the new game and the upcoming TV series. There is however, room for a different take on a somewhat tired franchise and as long as Namco Bandai can keep their mobile games fresh and enjoyable like Pac-Man Dash and the fantastic Tekken Card Tournament, I don’t see why Galaga or Dig Dug couldn’t also make a comeback.
Score – 7/10