Pac-Man Championship Edition proved that there’s still life in the pellet eating, maze navigating genre, and Forget-Me-Not manages to squeeze even more out of the classic formula. It blends elements of Pac-Man and rougelike RPGs, and throws in a few new twists to create an incredibly addictive, unique, retro-style arcade experience.
You play as a tiny little block that automatically shoots beams from its face. Just like in Pac-Man, you’ll be navigating mazes and collecting pellets. There’s also a key in each stage, and once you’ve gathered each and every pellet a locked door will appear. Go to the door while holding the key and it’s on to the next stage.
Of course it’s not as simple as that. First off, the stages are procedurally generated, so they’re different each time you play. They also occasionally change their structure, much like in the recent remakes of Pac-Man. And then there are the bad guys. Each stage is littered with enemies, but these aren’t passive ghosts that try to bump into you. Some can fire shots, while others are giant snake-like creatures that seem almost indestructible. There are also fireball-wielding wizards and plenty of other foes to deal with. You even have to be weary of your own firepower, which can come back to shoot you from behind if you’re not careful.
A devotion to realism.
Your character moves automatically, putting you in control of steering it in the right direction. This can be done with a simple swipe. The controls generally work well, though when you need to make a tight turn they aren’t always responsive enough, which can put you in some accidentally perilous situations.
The main game mode has you playing through a possibly never-ending sequence of stages, with the only incentive being high-score bragging rights. And like plenty of other classic arcade games, that incentive is strong. Because the stages are relatively small, Forget-Me-Not creates that always dangerous ‘just one more turn’ mentality that will keep you playing for hours. There’s also a survival mode where you attempt to get as far as possible on just one life, and a shuffle mode where you play through the stages in random order.
Rounding out the package is the game’s decidedly retro presentation. A first glance Forget-Me-Not barely looks like a game from 1985, let alone 2011. But the simple, pixelated graphics are accompanied by some colorful special effects that really lend the game retro charm. And the soundtrack is just as old-school, with bleeps and bloops that will make you wish you were playing the game on an actual arcade machine.
Retro-style arcade games are plentiful in the App Store, but even still Forget-Me-Not stands out. It manages to combine elements from two of the most addictive games of all time into a pixelated package that feels new and interesting. It’s the kind of game that you can play for just a few minutes at a time, but you won’t want to. Forget-Me-Not will eat your hours, like so many pellets in a maze.