We all remember Pac-Man as being one of those highly addictive early games that you still play to this day. Recently he has been going through some changes, there are now several 3D adventures and a Mrs Pac-Man . Pac-Pix sees Pac-Man back on a 2D plain but this time the rules have been changed, no more dots for one! The typical maze style labyrinth’s full of ghosts have been swept aside for an incredibly simplistic design.
Pac-Pix is set inside a magic book where there are ghosts inhabiting the pages. With his magic stylus Pac-Man must draw himself into the book and eat those pesky spirits, it’s as simple as that really.
Each level is the same at core, they all follow a simple structure but as obstacles are slowly added it becomes more detailed. The bottom screen is just a plain white page where you can draw and control Pac-Man, there are no boarders on the page so if Pac-Man goes off the screen he is lost forever. The top screen has an extension of the lower in form of a path that goes around the edges, you can access this via the top right or top left corners. This path can contain switches, ghosts and even fruit but you mainly will use it to keep Pac-Man safe while you sort the bottom screen out..
Pac a size, any size.
The great thing about this instalment of the franchise is that you get to draw Pac-Man… any size that can fit! It is a clever system behind the drawings because if you draw a huge Pac-Man he will be able to eat multiple ghosts in one swipe but he will be slow and avoiding obstacles will become hard. On the other hand a small Pac-Man will move about like a 4 year old on Haribo, dodging obstacles is easy but eating ghosts is harder and he can move too fast to control. There will be different situations when different size Pac-Men will be better to use, there is even the option to have 3 of the blighters on the screen at one but that is very hard to control. Some drawings turn out to be some seriously demented Pac-Men and if your not careful it gets hard to tell what end is what.
So you have drawn him, now what? ...Controlling of course Sherlock! Pac-Man moves whatever way he is facing at a constant speed that is a direct result of his size (remember, big= slow and small= fast). To change his direction you simply draw a line in front of him, there are only 4 directions that he moves in so it isn’t too complex. If you want him to move left draw the line in front of him from right to left, the opposite (left to right) will make him move right. Whenever he moves onto the top screen he follows a linear path so you don’t need to control that yellow blob, this fee’s up the bottom screen for the other actions.
There are 2 other actions that you learn later in the game, these are the arrow and bomb. The arrow is a projectile that you use to hit switches and pop the bubbles that surround some ghosts otherwise inaccessible to Pac-Man. The bombs, my personal favourite, are useful for getting rid of enemy shields, destroying obstacles and stunning ghosts. A bomb needs to be drawn and the player creates a fuse that has to be lit with fire.It doesn’t seem like much in the way of variety but once you have to use it all at once you will wish there was less to learn.
Adding to this is a barrage of new spooks with different properties that require work to capture. Bosses appear at the end of some Chapters, they are great fun and require several different tactics. In one you have to draw a huge Pac-Man in order to eat it, the Pac-Man literally has to fill the lower screen. Others require you to explode a boss into bite sized chunks while another one drops objects down that you have to avoid.
Levels are scored with the typical arcade style S/A/B/C/D rankings that indicate your ability. Collecting all items in the fastest time and loosing no Pac-Men gives you the best result. Once you complete the chapters an identical book is made on the menu screen and in this one the ghosts move faster, making a new challenge for those adept at the game. Improving your score is what keeps you playing this game, but there is no ability to assign names to scores and that is a slight let down.
This is essential for those who like arcade games and worthwhile for fans of Pac-Man. The main game is relatively short to get through but to get Rank S will take you a while. This is one of those games you can pick up and play when time is limited. Be warned that you will also need to play this game on a hard surface so it’s not the most portable of games, also get screen protectors on your DS before you butcher it with a stylus!