Pac Pix #2 Review Nintendo DS Review
Many of you may remember your first look at Pac Pix way back at E3 2004 where it was revealed along with the world’s first glimpse of the Nintendo DS. It seems as if that version of Pac Pix was just a tech demo of what Namco believed Nintendo’s new system was capable of, but it was also one of the demos that really grabbed people’s attention during the show. Shortly after E3, Namco began molding Pac Pix into a full blown title and now after one full year, one Pac-Man is making his first DS appearance. The game is still named Pac Pix but how good is it?
The basic concept at the heart of Pac Pix is drawing your way to victory. Once you correctly draw the outline of Pac-Man on the bottom screen of the DS, he will come to life and start moving across the screen, eating whatever stands in his pill-munching path. To make Pac-Man turn you must draw a wall. Sounds easy but on some of the later levels (there are twelve of them) it can get somewhat confusing. The first time you do this you will probably say “oh, cool” and possibly break a smile. The second time you do it the smile will flatten out a bit before promptly turning upside down into a frown. Yes! Sadly the main aspect of the game can turn into somewhat of a chore in under 30mins if not sooner.
You must strive to keep Pac-Man on the screen by creating walls. If he munches his way off the screen you must create another one from the limited number you have available. There is also a time limit so you must watch out for that at all times too! Throughout the game you will face trickery puzzles that will make you draw other objects (arrows, bombs with fuses) to progress and you will also face some boss characters as well.
Graphically Pac-Pix is not awe inspiring but does have a certain appealing charm to it. The style Namco went for seems to be book-like, resembling cartoons drawn on parchment, and they pulled it off well. The line and “scribble colouring” use to created the ghost looks really good, and although there is not much animation used they still look respectable on the DS screen. The only other animations you see on the DS screen is your Pac-Man coming to life and moving along the screen, and as I said before this looks very impressive at first but can get old very quickly!
Remixes, lots of remixes make up Pac Pix soundtrack. For anyone that has played older Pac-Man games (is there anyone left that hasn’t played it at least once) should notice at least one of the tunes they will hear coming from the DS’s speakers. The sound effects also have that old school feel to them, You will almost have a feeling of déjà vu while playing the game. You will know you have heard it all before but it sounds just that little bit different to make it stand out from it’s old school roots.
Namco increases the replayability of Pac Pix by offering gamers the ol’ “collected everything to finish the game 100%” trick. After finishing all the challenges you face in each chapter, the score is added up and you are given a grade letter. The highest of these grades is a “S” and to achieve this you will have to play the level a good number of times. To get a “S” rating on the latter levels (9 to 12) is a task that could take a number of days to complete. There are no other features in Pac Pix to compel you to play the game other than this “card mode” so sadly the lifespan is very short. There is also no multiplayer mode included, but given the style of the game I am not sure how it could have been included.
For a game that started out life as just a tech demo on a E3 show floor, it managed to turn into something very playable but lacking in long-term appeal. The latter stages of the game are the only really challenging ones. Chapter one through five should pose no challenge to most players.
With the slight lull in major DS releases at the moment Pac Pix could be seen as a title that could have tied you over till the end of the summer when the bigger game hit. It is one of those pick up and play titles that can be played anywhere. Sadly, the title will end up on your game shelf gathering dust within a month if not sooner as there is not enough included on the cart to keep your attention. Good but not good enough, must try harder Namco!