It looks like Namco Networks America is looking to reignite Pac-Man fever on iOS. Appearing on our top paid iPad apps list this week was the game PAC’N-JUMP, a game that takes the entire retro-arcade feel of Pac-Man and puts him into a Doodle Jump style world. Available on both iPhone and iPad, the game has initially done well (it was #27 on the top paid iPad charts), due to its launch sale of $0.99 for both devices.
The game is Doodle Jump meets Pac-Man, yet it’s not limited to such. Spanning other classic arcade games, players attempt to acquire high scores within this twitchy, retro platformer. Providing a different feel for classic video games, the title still holds a quality amount of nostalgia — which the early successes of Atari’s Greatest Hits has proven to be most potent — even if the core play is a bit repetitive.
If it isn’t clear enough by the name, players are taking control of Pac-Man as they attempt to jump to as high a point as possible before falling. While constantly leaping, players must tilt and turn their device (controls can also be set to sliding or digital directional buttons as well) to steer Pac-Man up a vertical maze, avoiding enemies and collecting classic “pac-dots.”
With each dot collected, Pac-Man will launch himself higher and higher, with extra boosts provided by fruit or the larger power pellets; the ones that turned ghosts blue in the original Pac-Man. In fact, these power pellets also allow users to “eat” enemies that pepper the level as well, which also sends players skyward. Interestingly enough, should the player touch the top of an enemy, while not under the influence of a power pellet, they will not die. This only occurs should they touch the bottom or sides, or fall a certain distance.
As with its predecessor Doodle Jump, it’s hard to get used to the game at first. Since Pac-Man is constantly jumping, he’ll often hop right into an enemy before the user can think about their next move.
As players score more points (which are measured in “dots” that equate to height), they will be able to compete with one another via Game Center leaderboards. As they earn more score dots, players can unlock three other arcade-game levels including Dig Dugg, Rally-X, and Galaga.
The initial Pac-Man-themed level contains ghosts and fruits and while other arcade-game levels have different, appropriately-themed enemies. One enemy from Dig Dugg is a lizard that periodically breaths fire. In addition to this, each level will come with a new look, sound, and effects (such as more limited vision in Dig Dugg).
Individually, each level has a pretty good progression curve as the platform changes quite a bit as users get higher with more enemies, spiraling platforms, or areas with only pellets, or platforms that disappear after being hit. Moreover, the levels are never appear to be the same twice.
As for any downside, the game is still, for all intents and purposes, Doodle Jump. Additionally, there are only four different levels at the moment and they still feel about the same. Moreover, players have to score a fairly high amount of points in order to unlock each level so the repetitiveness can wear on the user.
Of course, repetitive, high-score-based games like PAC’N-JUMP are not necessarily a bad thing. Their attractiveness is all a matter of opinion, and with that said, Namco’s new title can be quite fun in the right hands. While the game is not wholly original and the concept is repetitive, the app does have nostalgia and style. At the very least, it’s amusing to see how the arcade classics of yesteryear get translated.