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iPad  header logo

Pac-Man Dash!

For: iPad   Also on: Android, iPhone

Slap dash

Product: Pac-Man Dash! | Publisher: Namco Bandai Games | Format: iPad | Genre: Endless running | Players: 1 | Version: Europe
Pac-Man Dash! iPad, thumbnail 1
Oh, Pac-Man. Once, you had the entire gaming industry balanced on the top of your bulbous, ever-munching head.

Now you're an anachronism, long lost in a flutter of Angry Birds, your legacy abandoned like the arcades in which your bleeps and bloops once resonated.

Like a fallen actor you're forced to slum it, your grinning visage plastered across games that don't befit a whatever-the-hell-you-are of your stature.

Maybe Pac-Man Dash! will bring back the glory days. Flash a bit of leg, maybe even wear a cap to get the young kids interested. It could work. It has to work.

It sort of works, I guess.

Run or roll?

Pac-Man Dash! basically abandons the legacy of its star and creates a palette-swap Sonic The Hedgehog-style auto-runner.

Pac-Man wears shoes, can jump, and the Ghosts are always afraid of him. If this trajectory continues expect a gritty Pac-Man-fronted third-person cover shooter in the not-too-distant future.

IAPs explained
Rather than buying currency, you buy extra boosts in Pac-Man Dash! that you'd normally have to fork out big chunks of currency to afford.

£1.49 permanently doubles the cookies you collect, while 69p will unlock stages. You can also buy stamina, one-off cookie doublers, and one-off time extenders in a variety of bundles.

It's a strange system, but it means the very best items aren't for sale, which is an interesting shift in the way free-to-play games work.
For now, though, it's all primary colours, bright lights, platforming, and lots and lots of running.

The game takes care of all that running, leaving you to concentrate on two buttons. One lets you jump, the other lets you perform the titular dash when you've amassed enough energy. There's a ticking clock to contend with too, and catching ghosts is the only way to fill it back up.

Each time you run you're given a task. These are usually simple - collect a set number of cookies, grab a certain number of ghosts, run past a distance milestone. Complete one and you move on to the next. Complete enough and you unlock the next stage.

Every run costs you a stamina token, though, and these regenerate slowly, so if you're intent on doing some serious Pac-dashing you'll need to spend some real cash to make sure you're not cut off in your prime.

Pac up and go

The running itself is fast and entertaining, with the ghost-gobbling time extension making the last few seconds of your spring especially frantic as you try to push that bit farther.

There's nothing new here, though, and nothing you haven't already experienced plenty of times before without Pac-Man. And things get old pretty fast.

Pac-Man Dash! isn't a return to form or a successful reinvention of the ageing yellow icon, then, but it's reasonably entertaining if you have a penchant for auto-runners and don't mind navigating through a sea of adverts and IAPs before you actually get to the good-ish stuff.
Pac-Man Dash!
Reviewer photo
Harry Slater | 23 July 2013
A reasonably entertaining endless-runner, Pac-Man Dash! could replace its fading star with anyone else and still have the same effect
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