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iPhone  header logo

Pac-Man Remix


For: iPhone

Flat Pac

Product: Pac-Man REMIX | Publisher: Namco Bandai Games | Format: iPhone | Genre: Arcade, Retro | Players: 1 | Version: Europe | App version: 1.0.0
 
Pac-Man REMIX iPhone, thumbnail 1
The musical remix is a tricky thing. Occasionally you hear a reworking that deconstructs an original piece of music and makes something new and interesting out of it, but much rarer are the examples that actually improve on the original.

Let’s face it, though: most remixes are nothing of the sort. They’re more often shoddy, phoned-in efforts in which a jobbing DJ has sped the track up and stuck a Euro-cheese back-beat to it. Cut, print, Now That’s What I Call Bilge.

So it’s with some trepidation that we approach Pac-Man Remix. Here, after all, is a series that hasn’t been afraid to repackage itself in the name of a quick buck over the years.

Nonetheless, there’s a glimmer of hope in the shape of Namco's other recent remix project. Pac-Man Championship Edition on mobile (and soon to be on iPhone) was a hypnotic re-envisioning of past glory, keeping everything we know and love about the original while dragging it kicking and screaming into the 21st century. Does Pac-Man Remix even compare?

No, it doesn’t. Now we’ve got that one out of the way, let’s discuss what Pac-Man Remix has going for it.

The first thing to say is that this is still essentially the Pac-Man we all know and love. This is no ill-advised detour into platforming, match-three puzzling or (shudder) kart racing. You play as Pacs, you gobble pellets, you dodge ghosts. In that respect, nothing’s changed.

What has been added is a bunch of colourful arenas, a 2.5D view and a whole host of gimmicky features.

The first addition - the colourful arenas - is a mixed blessing. While it’s nice playing through some more varied levels, the day-glo style won’t be to everyone’s taste. It could even be accused of being a little bland, and Pac-Man CE’s use of subtle lighting is a far more successful re-imagining of the Pac-Man universe.

The gimmicky features meanwhile come in the form of doors, teleporters, and speed-up arrows, among others. Again, they’re successful insofar as they add some welcome variety to proceedings, but their impact on the core gameplay doesn’t seem to have been considered. They actually serve to slow the pace and rhythm of your dot-munching, ultimately diluting the experience.

And a slowing of the pace is the last thing it needs. Compared to the original, Pac-Man Remix appears to be walking (hovering?) through mud. There’s a reasonable explanation for this, but unfortunately this leads to another unsatisfactory element: the controls.

Whether you opt to use an on-screen D-pad or make swipes in the direction you want to go, neither is wholly pleasing to use. The D-pad is the most reliable, but the enlarged size and awkward positioning of the controls render split-second changes extremely difficult.

Swipe control, on the other hand, allows for swift fluid movement that isn't wholly reliable. Too many times I ended up steering into Clyde and co. when I actually wanted to go in a completely different direction. Neither method, it should be stressed, is unworkable. It just doesn’t feel quite like it should.

It’s a problem that runs throughout the game as a whole. There’s nothing inherently wrong with teleporters, boss levels (where you have to split a giant ghost up into lots of little ghosts in order to gobble them up) and a more sedate pace. It’s actually pretty good fun.

It’s just that, for all its tinkering, Pac-Man Remix doesn’t improve on the original in any meaningful way. iPhone users will probably have to wait for Championship Edition for that to happen.
 
Pac-Man Remix
Reviewer photo
Jon Mundy | 12 August 2009
A fun re-imagining of Pac-Man that fumbles the general flow of gameplay with ill-advised gimmicks and unsatisfactory controls
 
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