Game Review

Pac-Man & Galaga Dimensions Review

USA USA Version

Posted by Jon Wahlgren

Waka waka waka

Pac-Man and Galaga have provided 30 years worth of entertainment, coin shortages, hit songs and waka-wakas across the world, and to celebrate Namco has cooked up a number of presents for fans. One such present is Pac-Man & Galaga Dimensions, a six-layer cake iced with 3D. But instead of a tasty bakery delight, some dead bugs have crawled their way into the cake and the icing does little to sweeten the deal.

Included are ports of arcade originals Pac-Man and Galaga, ports of XBLA/PSN games Pac-Man Championship Edition and Galaga Legions, as well as two new games for this compilation: Pac-Man Tilt and Galaga 3D Impact. Sadly these aren't hits across the board.

The XBLA/PSN ports are undoubtedly the stand-outs here and both provide gripping new spins on their respective elders, taking the core of each game (chase and power dynamics in Pac-Man, shooting ridiculous amounts of space bugs in Galaga) and rejiggering gameplay to maximize the excitement. Console players who got hooked on either of these in downloadable form may cherish the portable nature and irrelevant-yet-neat 3D of this package, and those who revel in fast-paced, arcade-style gameplay will have a tough time not adoring these two.

As for the new games, well, they're a bit mixed with regards to quality. Pac-Man Tilt is a platformer with Sonic-style level design, filled with flippers, springs and other contraptions riddled about as you munch dots and chomp ghosts. The gimmick here rests in the title: using the gyroscope, you need to tilt the handheld in order to manipulate and navigate the environment to gain speed, climb walls and whatnot. Tilt may sound interesting but playing it is anything but; the gimmick wears thin quick and gameplay is only tangentially related to what people like about Pac-Man. What you're left with is a mascot out of its element, floating about in an aimless platforming fashion.

On the other hand, Galaga 3D Impact at least has an idea of why people enjoy the series as it mostly comes down to shooting a bunch of stuff. You're essentially the gunner of a ship and follow a set path around each stage while blasting away the Galaga, only now you have a few more abilities at your disposal than standard blasters. Using the tractor beam on enemies allows you to absorb their specific power, and continually absorbing bugs upgrades said ability. Galaga 3D Impact isn't worth the price of admission alone, but it's miles better than Pac-Man Tilt and fills a certain shooter niche that Legions and the original overlook.

Speaking of the arcade originals, retro fans will be pleased to see that both Pac-Man and Galaga come complete with tabletop and cabinet art to fill in the sides of the top screen — although if you prefer a more pure screen then you can play without them too — as well as an optional stereoscopic presentation akin to 3D Classics on the eShop. That's all fine and dandy, but the one option we'd put money on that retro fans would have loved to see is the ability to play these games in their original tall aspect ratio — the screen is wide after all, and cradling the handheld like a book would appear to be an ideal solution. This option is sadly absent and the games are instead vertically shrunk to fit the height of the screen. In short, the games look tiny. It's almost comical how small the field is and unfortunately makes playing the originals a tough sell in this form. Of course, holding the 3DS on its side would ruin the screen's stereoscopic effect, but if Namco is comfortable disabling the 3D slider due to required movement in Pac-Man Tilt then we can't see why they couldn't make this work.

There are a few more questionable decisions about this package, including the meager local leaderboard that only tracks your one top score for each game. Online leaderboards that let you compare your standing among friends and the general player population are welcome, but it seems like such a silly oversight to only allow one local score since, for instance, you can't track your own skill progression or compete with friends on the one cartridge. Also questionable is the inability to reset save data — had scores been the only data saved then it wouldn't be too notable, but several of the games include achievements and other progression that inexplicably can't be wiped. UPDATE: According to a Namco representative after this review was posted, save data can in fact be erased through a button combination upon booting the game.

Another issue of note is the framerate in the modern Galagas: the 3DS sweats when things get too hectic, and those games' very nature is hectic. It's not enough to ruin the games for you but it's quite noticeable.

And we'd be remiss not to mention the utterly bizarre Pac-Man 30th Anniversary CGI cartoon tucked away on the cartridge that really must be seen to be believed. It's as if Namco looked at the trajectory of Sonic and learned nothing.


Pac-Man & Galaga Dimensions is a decent stab at compiling a pleasant little arcade package, but a few iffy games and questionable decisions like squashed playing fields and meagre high-score tables drop this from "must have" to "it's complicated." There's undoubtedly a lot of fun to be had with about half of the games here, but your mileage may vary on whether that's enough to shell out for the whole shebang.

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User Comments (83)



JimmyWhale said:

Another game with unerasable save data? Lame

I might pick this up when it becomes a budget title.



bro2dragons said:

Doesn't sound like shovelware at all. Just sounds like something that shouldn't be picked up by most people for anything over $20.



SquirrelNuts said:

Doesn't sound like shovelware at all. Just sounds like something that shouldn't be picked up by most people for anything over $20.




zeeroid said:

I'm more than willing to fork over a few bucks for a portable version of Pac-Man Championship Edition... but not for $40. It'd be nice if Namco stuck it on the eShop.



Retro_on_theGo said:

I was planning on getting this, but now I think I won't. I'll just get it later at a much lower price. Thank you for saving me the money Nintendolife.



WolfRamHeart said:

It doesn't sound like I will be missing much by not purchasing this. Thanks for the review Jon.




Ah, that's a disappointment. ALL the games have issues except for Pac Man CE. The retro games are too small (though very interestingly emulated), Legions and Impact have framerate issues, Tilt gets old fast...aarrrggh. I was going to buy this, but it just has too many negative niggles for a retail purchase. I'd download some of them as 3dsware though.

(I've played Legions and CE but thought Legions was a bit overrated as well...)



Link977 said:

been on my list since I first heard about it, after reading this review, well... still is



WesFX said:

So easily worth $30 if you haven't spent considerable time with the 4 older games before. Grab it now while the sale is still going on.




TBH, the price may decrease rapidly as I heard it didn't sell well in Japan. it may not sell very well anywhere...



Rebel81 said:

No leaderboards and only 1 high score sucks, if they added it i would have bought it (also due the lack of intresting games, i have played more ds-games then 3ds on my system)



ooofooo said:

Hell yes we need a 3d version of Dig Dug someone please message nintendo and tell them to put it on the eshop



greensacs1 said:

I purchased this for $29.99 and I am very pleased with it. Its exactly what I wanted it to be. Quick play game that is fun.



Raylax said:

"And we'd be remiss not to mention the utterly bizarre Pac-Man 30th Anniversary CGI cartoon tucked away on the cartridge that really must be seen to be believed."

Youtube plz.



Supremeist said:

Really.. a six? I bought this game and I think It's great. I've had no framerate issues with any of the games. The retro games are a little bit smaller, but they look fine! I'm beginning to realize how judging some of the Nintendo Life reviewers are. Just because it doesn't have the option to delete save data, doesn't make it a bad game. It's really not that big of a deal. Pacman Tilt is awesome and doesn't get old fast, Legions is spectacular, Impact has no framerate issues at all. Appreciate a game for once, don't pass this because of someone elses opinion on it. I'd give it an 8 or a 9. All the games are fun.



Birdman said:

Decided a little while ago that it would be nice with a price drop ... and it looks like it still will be.

@ryanthehedgehog - You may want to check this site's scoring policy. It's a little different from others.



warioswoods said:

I may have to pick this one up, just for the classically reproduced cabinet games and CE / Legions all in one package. That's very appealing without even taking the new games into consideration.

The complaints about the size of the game screen on the "classic" games don't dissuade me in the slightest, given the fact that one of my favorite experiences on the 3DS thus far is playing classic Game Boy games in their native resolution with the subtle 3D effect and frame; it feels wonderfully authentic. I never play the GB or GBC games on it in anything but the "tiny" mode, and the size doesn't bother me a bit... and these games actually fill even more of the screen than those.

I would like to hear more about the ports of CE and Legions, and exactly what 3D effects have been applied.



liammiller18 said:

I did not like this review. Not because you gave the game an okay score, not because I didn't like the writer, but because the writer attributed some of the game's failures to it not having an erasable file.



Hyperstar96 said:

Aww, this was a "must-buy" for me...

Oh well, I'll get it if/when it drops down to $20-25. Maybe $30...



emiru69 said:

A must buy if you like the classics, 6 games in 1, excelent gameplay and perfect controls/3D.



SilverBaretta said:

If anything, I'd say an unerasable save file matters even less in this game than in RE: Mercenaries. Still a fine review, though, looks like a price-dropper on my end.



warioswoods said:

It might help to start printing the scoring policies just under the number, so as to avoid misunderstandings.

6 - Not Bad This game is not good enough to rush out and buy without doing your homework. Whilst you should approach with a degree of caution you might still really enjoy this game.



Supremeist said:

I still don't think it deserves a 6. I know the save file thing is a bad thing, but that shouldn't stop anyone from enjoying it. I would pay $50 for this game, that's how good it is. I think it is a go out and rush and get it game. I'm addicted to it, haha.

But reminding you that this is all just my opinion. Pacman: CE is beautiful with the 3D effect and It's super fun.

This is worth buying at full price guys, trust me!



CrazyOtto said:

Since they already put their 2 most popular games in this collection, I wonder what they'll put in the Namco Museum they'll probably make for 3DS next year. (They've put Namco Museum on pretty much every system since the 5th generation.)



SwerdMurd said:

oh no! un-erasable save a....pac-man game.

eat that, used game buyers.

thanks for driving up the price of games game companies make almost as much money from you guys as they do from piracy...this stuff's been a long time coming.



Teh-Ray said:

I'm not surprised.

Not of the game getting a six, but of how the review was written. I can't help but think that this reviewer didn't like the game solely because the one-save file.

I'm in the boat with ryanthehedgehog and liammiller18 on this one.

Also, @warioswoods, both ports are pretty much exactly like their XBox Live counterparts, and the 3D effect is basically just layered sprites. Still looks great, though!



alLabouTandroiD said:

From reading the review i got the impression doesn't deserve more than a 6 / 10. And that was before i read about the undeletable save file.

Will most likely get the game for cheap since i like the original Galaga and have never played the XBLA/PSN games.



Tate24 said:

i still wanna get it!

not bothered by not beening able delete scores behonest?

6 games and online leaderboards sound good to me though:)

Am high score chaser!!



tovare said:

Almost a month until I can get this. I could have guessed that the two dimension games was a bit crapola, so the review score isn't a surprise and it is a shame about the high-score issue, getting the number two score is a nice consolation when you have a nice run.



BulbasaurusRex said:

@29 I don't care much about the overall size. For me, the issue is that they ruined the aspect ratio. If it weren't for that, I'd consider this game at a budget price. (Well, at least that's what is implied in the review. Am I mistaken with this?)



Azikira said:

Luckily I only pay $35 for new 3DS titles. I find it to be a lot of fun, if not totally original. I agree with Pac-Man Tilt being so-so, and im a little disappointed Pac-Man Championship DX wasnt chosen over the original championship, but still it is a decent little game. :3



JoeDiddley said:

@Azikira I'm also disappointed it's not the DX version. If it was I would have bought the game no matter what (I don't have an xbox or ps3). So as I'm not excited by the other games on the compilation I wont bother. I'm going to get the psp mini Pac-man CE game for £3.50 (/$5) instead.



Chris720 said:

Maybe when it decreases in price, but for now... where's my Luigi's Mansion 2?



littlebigplanet said:

I think this game is great! I don't get why having to delete files in an ARCADE STYLE game is a big deal?! This game has no reason whatsoever to delete files. I'm having loads of fun with PacMan tilt!! I actually got this game for $30, I used a coupon from Gamestop's Powerup rewards. But after playing it, I gladly would've payed another $10. Keep it up NamcoBandai!!! cant wait for Tekken on the 3DS!!!



Azikira said:

@powderedtoast: I currently hold Top 73rd score for Galaga Impact, and 158 for Galaga Legions. Im having a wild amount of fun with this game, and cant wait to see more from Nyamco~ (They will get the reference ;D )



littlebigplanet said:

Nice, I'm pretty far down the list xD.But, you know what just hit me about this site... Besides an unfair review system, they are failing to keep up with the most recent 3DS news. Golden Sun 4, Pokemon Ruby/Saphhire remakes, and 2 Kirby games are already in the works (theres more) and I have seen NO info whatsoever on this site... unfortunate, really.



Azikira said:

@powderedtoast: I don't think the review system is unfair on this site. Like the review says, it IS a fun game, but I agree with most of the negative things they commented on, too. Still, each person has a different taste in games, and they are entitled to their opinions.
It's FAR better then IGN's system that compares every game to Call of Duty, and if its not the same, they give it -5 from the get-go.
And I havent seen that news ANYWHERE, but im thoroughly excited to see a 3DS Pokemon game, ESPECIALLY Sapphire <3



BulbasaurusRex said:

@57 If you buy this game used, you're stuck with the previous owner's high scores and don't get to personally unlock the unlockables already obtained by the previous owner.

I looked at the other reviews, and they don't say anything about changing the aspect ratios of the Arcade originals. In fact, GameSpot gave it a medal for accurate emulation. They're just a little small by being limited to the top 3DS screen, but that's just fine with me. I'll be keeping a lookout for this at a budget price now, just for the Galaga games. (I don't care for Pac-man.)



Henmii said:

So this game isn't very worthwhile. It's nice to see that you guys take the "eternal save-file" into account yet again. Keep doing this untill developers finally realize this is no good!



Azikira said:

@Henmii: The review has been corrected, showing there is a way to delete save data. Still, I truly think a 7 suits this game just a little more. The Galaga games are by far my favorites (Seeing as how im so high up on the leaderboards for them XD) but they are all pretty fun.
Like I told one of my co-workers, "This is a game for kids with ADHD."
XD Meaning me...



Supremeist said:

Wow, they amended the review and still haven't brought it up a point? Unfair review. I find it a bit too judging and up to the reviewers opinions. Sad.



Henmii said:

"The review has been corrected, showing there is a way to delete save data"

Yeah, it has come to my attention. Good work!



-DL- said:


This game was meant to celebrate both Pac-Man and Galaga's 30th Anniversary. I think Namco wanted to keep it even by just using the original CE because Galaga Legions DX wasn't out. It is now, though. So perhaps you can except both Pac-Man and Galaga DX to hit the 3DS eShop!

Also, congratulations on having a high rank on the leader boards. I know that feeling. :3 I'm 53rd out of 48,000 overall on Pac-Man Championship Edition DX last time I checked. So, I think I might be good at the original Championship Edition if I practice.

Anyway, I think this game deserved a 7. I'm still getting it, regardless of it's somewhat negative reception from IGN.




James said:

@powderedtoast Hey, show me legitimate sources to those stories and I'll check them out. However news like Pokémon remakes for 3DS would have spread around the Internet like wildfire, so I'm hitting the BS button right... about... now.



Will-75 said:




tovare said:

A nice game, It was cheaper than full-price at release day here. Considering the 3DS screen size, I think that the arcade-cabin was brilliant, both pac-man and galaga is very playable. Pac man championship edition is a lot of fun, as is Galaga Legions. Pac-man tilt was surprisingly fun. The only game I really didn't like is Galaga 3D impact,



rachelthehedgehog said:

I honestly think this game deserves more than a 6. I don't have it myself, but have played most of the games on it, and I think it deserves at least an 8.
I agree with @pizzacore,
they are very picky sometimes



grumblegrumble said:

I just purchased this today on a whim and I am currently loving it. It helps that I'm an AVID retro gaming freak, though. If you LOVE Pac-Man and/or Galaga, I think you are going to LOVE this game. Great graphics, setup, sound, no problems here. 3-D is great! 9/10




Its a decent package, but very inessential. They feel like 6 download games put into a cart to me. All of them are decent, but Pac Man CE is the only one that is 9/10. The others are all 7/10 - likeable, but you get bored of them after a fair few hours of play on each. Trading mine in, sadly.

The 3D table and cabinet representations of Pac Man and Galaga are actually quite nifty and quite neat.

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