Growing up in the eighty’s it was impossible to not have had Pac-Man Fever. It was everywhere you looked from a top 10 music single to TV shows, a complete clothing line, lunchboxes and yes even gracing a pair of Underoos. Since than Pac-Man has been released on every conceivable platform and with just as many renditions over the last 30 years.
However nothing Namco seemed to do brought back that feeling of nostalgia as playing it at your nearest shopping center, eating establishment, or local Arcade. That was until now.
I don’t think I need to explain the significance Pac-Man played in the growth and acceptance of video games except to say it still remains virtually synonymous with the mention of video games.
Take a simple character in Pac-Mans instance a dot add some eyes and place him in a maze where he must eat all the dot’s before moving to the next level while 4 ghosts roam the maze, trying to catch him. For fun add four power pellets that will turn the hunters into the hunted for a variable time frame and you have the makings of a billion dollar franchise.
Today Namco has released PAC-MAN for apple’s newest platform in the iPad and without a doubt this is the best implementation of the classic version I’ve played since my youth.
Pac-Man on the iPad not only benefits from the larger screen space which happens to looks gorgeous in both horizontal and vertical gameplay modes, but it actually improves the control schemes over any previous version of the game with the inclusion of a much larger but unobtrusive virtual joystick and the addition of an incredibly simple and accurate swipe mode.
Both modes of gameplay work effortlessly in my testing and I noticed no control issues with either mode as well. The inclusion of the swipe mode though removes the boundaries felt while using the stick. Simply swipe up, down, left or right anywhere on the screen and Pac-Man responds without a moments hesitation.
That would be a good thing because if you have dreams of making it through the the games 256 progressively faster levels your going to need ever bit of response time you can muster.
As you complete specific levels various cut-scenes will play telling you the story of Pac-Man. These breaks will allow you to catch a breath of air and wipe your sweaty palms before the next level begins.
The iPad rendition adds some new menu items explaining the games rules and goals, as well as offering hints and tips to help new comers to the series get up to speed. The game does include a local high scores section as well as the ability to turn on and off the games signature sound effects.
So is it really worth purchasing again for the umpteenth time? Well Let me put it this way. Pac-Man on the iPad isn’t a good game, it’s a great game and sure it’s been played out for far to long but anyone looking to recapture some of the nostalgia from your youth should think really hard about getting the iPad edition.
The game plays every bit as good as any console or handheld edition you’ve ever played, looks gorgeous on the iPads big screen in both horizontal and vertical modes of play, and the inclusion of the swipe controls makes this the best version of the classic arcade game I’ve ever played and while it doesn’t replace the feeling of sitting at an actually arcade cabinet its the closet I have ever felt about the game I fell in love with so many years ago.