Every so often, videogame mascots are due for a comeback. Pac-Man made his last comeback with the release of Pac-Man Championship Edition, but that release didn’t have toys and a television show to accompany it. Pac-Man Dash! is part of Namco’s plan to bring this character back into public consciousness. The universe and the characters are all based on the “Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures” television show that debuted last month.
But this isn’t a standard Pac-Man game. Instead of gobbling your way through a maze, Pac-Man sprints through open levels. The game is bright and colorful, and Pac-Man controls very smoothly, which is exactly what you want an endless runner. As I kept playing the game, I started getting more and more comfortable with the idea that Pac-Man isn’t in a maze eating ghosts and fruit.
The game is broken up into five different zones, where you have a time limit of 30 seconds– although you can increase your time limit by eating ghosts, and collecting certain power ups. You also have goals, like collecting 300 cookies, eating red ghosts while dashing. Most of the goals are pretty easy to achieve, but that may be due to making sure the game is accessible to everyone who plays it.
After each mission you’ll collect bonus cookies or power-ups. The cookies can be used in the in-game shop where you can purchase toy figurines that give you different abilities. If you purchase any of the real toys, you can scan in the barcode to unlock the in-game figurine as well. There are also reasonably priced in-app purchases that give you a permanent cookie doubler, stage unlocks, and one time use items (extra time, double cookies, and a stamina increase). Since this is a freemium game, in-app purchases are to be expected, but it’s always nice to see that the game can be played in it’s entirety without having to spend a lot of money.
There’s not much to complain about, as far as the experience goes. Some folks won’t like the stamina system, which costs a stamina point when you play a level. I didn’t really feel this was a problem. After using the 10 points, I had played the game for 30 minutes. This isn’t a game you need to fly through, since the missions are pretty simple it’s meant for short bursts.
Pac-Man Dash! doesn’t offer anything new, but it looks and plays great. For the price of free, why not give it a try?