Pacman 2.0 Borrows Much from the Original

I never thought I’d open a review with “I miss the dancing fruit,” but here we are. Pacman 2.0 by Unit 501 is the Facebook adaptation of the classic arcade game. This isn’t a simple ROM, but instead an independently built game with different levels, difficulties, and (sadly) a lack of dancing fruit.

Like New Coke and the latest Indiana Jones flick, people don’t seem to like it when their classic icons are changed and “improved.” We didn’t really need a “new” Coke. Pacman without the dancing fruit, the levels where you can teleport to the otherside of the map by going through one side, and the classic levels is a change not for the better.

As Bret Terrill notes, one of the easiest ways to build a popular game on Facebook is to appropriate someone else’s intellectual property. With 1.2 million monthly active users, it looks like that’s what Pacman 2.0 has done very successfully here.

As a social game, it’s not bad. It has all of the features we’ve come to expect from Facebook apps- invites, leader boards, friend challenges, etc. The game is challenging – more challenging in fact than the original, but it’s a shallower experience and unlikely to attract more than casual gamers.

Game play: 5

Development: 6

Room for improvement: 7