Pac-Man fans will go "wakka wakka" over this entertaining but flawed remake.
Pac-Man is back. Again.
Namco Bandai remixed the 1980s arcade favorite once more, this time for the iPhone. Pac-Man Remix features a number of welcome changes to the formula, including the introduction of various power-ups that help the Pacster on his ghost-gobbling quest. It's not without its problems, but it's a fun remake to take with you on the go.
If you never played a Pac-Man game before, here's the rundown. You control the yellow hero as he works his way through a series of mazes gobbling dots and avoiding pesky ghosts; if they catch him, he's finished. However, he can turn the tables with power pellets. Eat one of these and the ghosts become vulnerable for several seconds, making them easy prey for his big mouth.
One thing hardcore Pac-Man fanatics will notice are the smaller stages. That means less dots to eat, and also less room to hide from ghosts. Some may be disappointed by this revision. However, it really works in the game's favor. You view the entire maze on-screen at once, without the unnecessary need to scroll up or down to see everything. Also, the game moves a little slower than the original, giving you a better chance to pinpoint your strategies ahead of time.
You will need to get used to the controls in Pac-Man Remix, since they're a bit loose. There are two schemes to choose from, Touch Screen and Traditional. The former has you directing Pac-Man using finger swipes on the screen, while the latter scrunches the up, down, left and right movement on a tiny joypad. No matter which one you use, Pac-Man doesn't always respond when you input your commands. It's a little annoying, especially when you have a ghost right behind you.
Pac-Man Remix also introduces power-ups. You'll be able to use warp gates, lifts and speed pads to evade the ghosts; a funny tutorial informs you know how they work. Out of all of these, the speed pads are the best, letting you whiz by the competition to reach another part of the maze.
There are also boss battles. At the end of each set of stages, you'll face a gigantic ghost that chases you down. To defeat him, you'll need to chow down a power pellet. He breaks up into smaller ghosts that you can also eat. After the effect wears off, he reforms from whatever ghosts are left behind. It's a creative idea we'd love to see again in future Pac-Man games.
The game looks and sounds good, too. Pac-Man Remix features a swell mix of old and new, with colorful stage designs, cute animations and traditional "waka waka" sound effects. Nostalgia-loving gamers should enjoy this.
However, we can't help but feel it's overpriced. Most of Namco's Remix games go for $2.99 these days, and Pac-Man Remix goes for twice that. We're sure it'll drop eventually, probably when Pac-Man Championship Edition makes its way to the iPhone later this year.
Pac-Man Remix would've been better with tighter controls and a more reasonable price point, but it's still an acceptable arcade remake. The cool presentation and innovative power-ups do enough for the Pacster. Clearly, you can teach an old mascot new tricks.
What's Hot: Looks and sounds good, introduces helpful new items and boss battles.
What's Not: Imprecise controls, the smaller stages may disappoint hardcore Pac-Man players, overpriced.