We admit that we were skeptical when we heard Pac-Man was getting his own Match-3 game. Generally speaking, characters from a lot of gaming classics don’t do well when taken out of their comfort zones. Pac-Match Party is, as we feared, an obvious cash-in with little substance. This is disappointing, but what really makes the game one to avoid are the game-breaking bugs when played on iOS 4.0.
This Bejeweled-style Match-3 game is just like any other. You swap adjacent objects to create matches of three. To pass through each of the 30 levels, you must create matches on top of specially colored tiles. However, a bug in the game prevents anybody running iOS 4.0 from being able to see these special tiles. This means you’ll be blinded and unable to progress.
Never tell Pac-Man the odds.
Pac-Match Party’s gimmick is that creating matches allows Pac-Man to chomp pellets around the border of the screen. If you don’t swap tiles fast enough, the ghosts chasing him will catch up and you’ll lose a life. However, the ghosts tend to be slow, so this never becomes very important.
The most interesting part of Pac-Match Party is how it goes about awarding you power-ups. When you match gifts, a power-up will appear in the column to the right of the screen. By dragging them onto the board, they have different effects on the tiles. For example, one removes all the objects in a row, while another allows you to place Pac-Man on the board and draw a path for him to follow, eating any tiles along the way.
Noticeably, Pac-Match Party doesn’t contain any online leaderboards, something which is crucial to adding replay value. With so many free options out there, there isn’t much of an excuse not to include them.
We still tip our hats to this dot-chomping circle’s 30th birthday.
There is also an iPad version of Pac-Match Party available with a larger grid to use. While it doesn’t have the iPhone version’s iOS 4.0 bug, another bug comes into play. After passing the first few levels and reaching the birthday cake animation, the game crashes. We tried this multiple times and it continuously crashed at the same spot.
We’re sure these bugs will be addressed in the future. If and when these critters get squashed, we’d recommend iPad owners buy the HD version, since it enhances the game a bit and costs the same as the iPhone version. Until then, though, stay away from Pac-Match Party.