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Pac-Pix Review

Pac-Man has seemingly been around since the beginning of time, well, maybe more like the beginning of the video game craze, it�s kind of like the same thing. Pac-Man has starred in countless games, made hundreds of millions of dollars from said games. He had his own cartoon, and even had a hit song written about him, so of course he�s got to make his way into the hands of a new generation of gamers to maintain his legacy. Pac-Pix for the Nintendo DS is that game, and it makes good use of the touch screen capabilities and still maintains a bit of that �old school� arcade Pac-Man feel to it.

Pac-Pix has you as the star, not really as Pac-Man so much, as you are the only possible savior of Pac-Man. You use your stylus to draw various Pac-Man iterations to chase ghosts and various other creatures around the dual screens. It�s very similar to the original in a sense except there are no walls, and you lose a life by leaving the screen. In order to progress it�s up to you to draw your tools such as arrows and bombs to blow up obstacles and shoot down ghosts from the upper screen to the lower screen for chomping. It�s Pac-Man reinvented or redrawn if you prefer.

The graphics in Pac-Pix are standard Pac-Man stuff only slightly updated for the Nintendo DS. The cool thing about Pac-Pix is that Pac-Man is exactly what you make of him. You draw Pac-Man and no matter how weak your artistic abilities you get exactly what you draw. It�s actually fun to draw Pac-Man as big or as small as you can. That�s part of the charm of Pac-Pix because the graphics are at the same time the main draw and not the main draw, if you get my drift.

While Pac-Pix delivers some very arcade style audio reminiscent of the original Pac-Man, it�s not the stuff of greatness one might be hoping for. Gone are the �wa-wa�s� and even worse, the music for Pac-Man�s demise is gone, and you know you want to hear it, too. In its place is a bunch of carnival type stuff that does a good job of giving you that retro feel of playing the original Pac-Man, but it�s just not the same. Maybe a remix or two would have served a little better? Most of the time you probably won�t even hear the music as your brain is too busy processing the dual screen action, while drawing and keeping tabs on the timer as well. The music and sound effects in Pac-Pix are serviceable, though not the kind of stuff that�ll make you remember it some 20 years later like we do the music of the original Pac-Man.

The big selling point of Pac-Pix is the touch screen capabilities that only the Nintendo DS can offer. You draw Pac-Man (up to three if you�re sadistic) and the direction his mouth faces is the direction he travels, his speed is determined by his size, the larger he is the slower he moves and conversely the smaller he is the faster he moves. In order to make him change direction you use your stylus to draw walls, the direction you draw the line is the direction you will send Pac-Man. If it sounds easy, it�s not. There are various obstacles in the way which can turn him around and send him off the screen obligating you to draw another Pac-Man. Add to that, the fact that you�ve got a second screen to contend with other ghosts that need to be dealt with in different ways and a timer and you�ve got a hybrid of a puzzler and arcade game that�s quite the challenge.

Pac-Pix does a good job of providing a decent amount of replay value. There are cards to collect depending on how well you do on each chapter of the game and there is always the competition for highest score to drive you if that�s the type of thing that motivates you. Each card gives you a little fact about certain characters or objects in the game. While it�s certainly nothing major it�s at least worth mentioning since it does add a bit of value to the game for those who feel the need to complete every game they own. Along with that there is a second set of more difficult levels that opens up upon completion in case you couldn�t get enough ghost-chomping action. While it�s not the most replay packed game you�ll ever play, it is sufficient enough to keep you entertained for quite a while.

The main complaints with Pac-Pix will come from the length of the game, and while there is a second book that adds a second selection of levels to the game it may not be long enough for many. The benefit to the brevity of the game, however, is that you can pick it up for five minutes, beat a chapter and then just turn the game off. It�s the perfect example of pick up and play while you wait for a bus, a friend, a coffee, or whatever. In that respect, it�s great. The difficulty slightly builds as you progress, though it�s never anything beyond a frustration that makes you want to tackle a certain chapter over again. The other complaint would be from symbol recognition, the game does a great job at recognizing the symbols you draw, but at times it gets a tad touchy and won�t recognize your efforts at drawing bombs or even Pac-Man for that matter and that in itself will lead to frustration. Luckily, there is a tutorial that shows you how to draw each new command as you unlock it. Pac-Pix certainly isn�t the greatest handheld game we�ll see this year, but it is a bold step in a bright, new direction for a franchise that is in need of change.

Final Verdict

Pac-Pix shows a lot of promise, both for the franchise and for the Nintendo DS hardware. Pac-Pix is highly innovative and goes to show that developer�s willing to take the time to think outside of the box can make a game that�s entirely different from all the cookie cutter clones that are currently out there cluttering store shelves. That alone makes Pac-Pix worth a look. It�s certainly a challenge and pretty fun to boot, which makes Pac-Pix better than a lot of games. Pac-Pix is one of those games where innovation takes a turn for the better. If you�ve got a Nintendo DS you may want to consider adding Pac-Pix to your collection.

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Pac-Pix Review

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Posted by: Redeema
Date: July 22, 2005

Categories: Nintendo DS Reviews, Nintendo DS, Reviews

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