The game I had intended reviewing was unexpectedly pulled from the App Store temporarily, so I’ve drafted in Pac-Man as an eleventh hour substitution. Yep, as in plain old Pac-Man. No “Remix”; no “Championship Edition”; just Pac-Man, a game that’s older than yours truly.
Currently “App of the Week”, version 5.0.1 has gone free to play on the App Store. Well, sort of. See, you’ll still have to fork out if you want to unlock the entire game. Hmm.
For those unfamiliar with the Pac-Man concept (say WHAT?), you control a little yellow guy, and the aim of the game is to guide him around a maze, collecting pellets – or, eh, Pac-dots – as you go.
The level ends when you collect all the pellets, but there are little enemy ghosts floating around looking to eat up your lives by colliding with Pac-Man.
Thankfully, there are helpful power pellets in each of the four corners. Consume a power pellet and the ghosts a) change direction, b) slow down, and – most importantly – c) can be eaten by Pac-Man.
As you ascend through Pac-Man's levels, the game gets faster, and the power pellets have less of an effect on the ghosts (in the sense that they’re vulnerable for a significantly shorter amount of time).
And that’s Pac-Man in a nutshell. But you knew all that, right?
Download Pac-Man from the App Store for free and you get access to the Classic maze, and all 256 levels thereof. Yep, 256 levels. Don’t worry about blasting through all 256 in one sitting; you can choose to start where you left off with a fresh batch of continues.
Unfortunately, that’s pretty much all you get access to in Pac-Man without forking your wallet out.
The eight additional Pac-Man mazes (Windmill, Turtle, Ship, Roundabout, Target, Anaconda, Fountain and Minty) each demand a further 69p. That’d be £5.52 snapping them up individually.
Mercifully, you can currently grab all eight mazes in one fell swoop for the discounted price of £1.99 (62% off), and you can always try before you buy.
Fair play to Namco, as it’s been proven time and again that there’s money to be made by letting players in for free and asking for a donation once they’ve had a taste. And heck, £1.99 for nine Pac-Man mazes is arguably pretty good.
If you’d rather save your pennies, go check out the free – and completely over the top – endless runner Pac-Man Dash.
- It’s Pac-Man, man
- Er, 256 levels per maze
- You can at least trial the additional eight mazes
- The freemium stuff
- It’s really samey after a while (it's 33 years old, to be fair)
- Is £1.99 for nine mazes a bit much?
Summary: It’s Pac-Man. Eat pellets, avoid ghosts; eat power pellets, eat ghosts. Repeat.
Developer: Namco Bandai
Price: free @ App Store (i.e. £1.99 for the full game)
Compatibility: Requires iOS 4.3 or later. Compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. This app is optimized for iPhone 5.