Pac-Man is present in the App Store once more in a new game called PAC’N-JUMP. Fans of the Pac-Man games expecting a new top-down version of our favourite ghost eater look away now, because Namco has shaken things up a little bit and created a game very similar to the amazingly popular Doodle Jump.
Players have to control Pac-Man as he repeatedly bounces up and down, moving him from left to right in order to land on platforms, with the aim being to jump as high as possible to progress to the next level. To assist Pac-Man, there are some typical boosters in the game such as PAC-DOTS and POWER PELLETS, as well as Fruit, which when eaten, give Pac-Man a boost in order to jump higher and faster.
Jumps are measured in Dots, and players progress to the next stage by either accumulating enough Dots over several attempts, or for the super talented types, by reaching a set height on the specific stage. The concept is that each stage is a hole that Pac-Man must escape from, taking on familiar enemies along the way. Currently there are four stages in PAC’N-JUMP, and while this may not seem like much, the addictive nature of the title will have players frequently going back for more. The inclusion of Game Center leaderboards will ensure that competitive types return to retain the number one spot in the rankings.
Players control Pac-Man using either the accelerometer or via an on-screen virtual keypad. The accelerometer works best; when using the on-screen controls, players will often find it a major obstruction to the screen, and PAC’N-JUMP is not the most forgiving of titles—one mistake and Pac-Man will plunge to his end, and players will have to start the stage again.
It’s Pac-Man for crying out loud! Anyone that has any kind of affection for retro gaming in general would be a fool not to at least try this game out. Namco seems to have taken a leaf out of smaller developers’ books by following a simple formula for success—a basic game mechanic, attractive graphics and catchy background music to accompany the challenge.
It is very similar to Doodle Jump. It could be considered by some to be the same game, just with a new face on it. Also, the unforgiving nature of PAC’N-JUMP could perhaps lead some people to become bored quickly—all the fun stuff happens when players reach the highest parts of a stage and the less skilled gamer could miss out on that fun. PAC’N-JUMP is a universal app; however, playing on the iPad is far from the best way to enjoy this game.
I think this is a solid outing for Pac-Man and enough of a reinvention to please fans, both old and new. The similarities to Doodle Jump are inescapable, but PAC’N-JUMP is different enough in its look and overall feel to stand alone as an accomplished, fun arcade game for iOS devices, especially with a $0.99 price tag. The challenge of getting to the top has been enough to keep me entertained for hours on end—and I’ve only had the game for a day.
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