Pac-Man has a lot of games on his name, on about any possibly platform. With this Pac-Pix for the DS, our three quarter cheeseball goes a whole other way. No more running after yellow pills, this game is all about the killing of all monsters within a certain time limit. Is this new formula as fun as the old one that was used in about every previous game?
First let’s have a small history lesson. Pac-Pix first was shown to the media at E3 2004. Then it was a tech-demo to show off what the DS was capable of doing, there wasn’t even any talk going on about making it a full game. The enthusiasm of the press and the many fans who followed everything over the internet however, convinced Namco and Nintendo to do just that. Since the tech-demo was called one of the most fun games at E3 2004 I expected the full game to become an absolute winner. Unfortunately, it isn’t…
Anyone who plays Pac-Pix for the very first time will immediately feel sold, just because it has such a fun way of using the touch-screen. You have to draw your own pac-man with the stylus after which he starts moving over the screen. Personally I find it fun to see your home-made pac-man moving, sometimes the game recognises the shape when it doesn’t even look the least like our yellow friend, and you’ll see some weird pile shifting over the scren. However, this can also be annoying when you want to draw other things (I’ll get back to that later) but the game recognises a Pac-Man.
As said, you have to eat monsters with your home-drawn character within a fixed timeframe. You move him by drawing a wall in the direction you want him to go. The action is mostly on the bottom screen, although some flying enemies can be on the top one as well.
As fun you’ll like the new way of playing at the beginning, so boring it will become after a while. Luckily, 2 new objects you can draw will appear in the game after a while. An arrow can be used to push a lever, or to get an airborne opponent out of the sky by shooting him down. A bomb is necessary to blow up walls.
The first chapter after unlocking these objects will be fun again due to the innovation, but after a while you get bored again. The levels are just too much alike. Next to that, Pac-Pix misses the one thing that all his predecessors had: replayability. The old Pac-Man games were perfect for a quick play but you’ll never go back to Pac-Pix since you already know how to solve the puzzles.
The graphics can’t be called super but of course that isn’t necessary. It’s nice to see how a self-made pac-man moves fluently (well, his mouth at least) but for the rest the game consists out of a brown playing field with simple opponents. The top screen gets an even more monotone background. The sound isn’t worth much either, you can say annoying, just like all other pac-man games so to say. The continuous “Waka Waka Waka” sound often made me turn off the volume completely. The menu also comes with some ridiculous tune.
Pac-Pix could have been so much better, if more objects like the arrows and bombs would have been added, or extras that had some use. Instead of collecting pictures of opponents, I would have preferred a lot more that the original game would have been integrated. The short lifespan and little variation also don’t make the game any better. A shame as Pac-Pix does have a fun way of using the touchscreen.