Pac’N Roll Review

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Developer: NamcoPublisher: Namco
Release Date: August 23, 2005Available On: Nintendo DS

Pac-Man is a property from Namco, their signature mascot, that they are just not willing to let go, twenty-five years after his original arcade debut. He has appeared on practically every platform, including the, believe it or not, Palm OS/Tapwave Zodiac. Pac ‘N Roll is the second Pac-Man title for the Nintendo DS, which were released just four months apart.

Imagine Pac-Man in Marble Madness or Super Monkey Ball and you have, with the addition of ghosts and boss fights, Pac ‘N Roll. Pac ‘N Roll is of the 3D platformer genre, though not a traditional platformer. In Pac ‘N Roll, you assume the role of Pac-Man, who has been turned into a ball by aliens. You roll around levels, which are more open mazes than they are a conventional platformer level.

Using a 3D engine, Namco managed to pull off a virtual world, set in the Pac-Man universe, fully immersing the gamer in the experience of Pac-Man. The levels are all well-detailed for the handheld system that they are on. The environments themselves will vary from level to level, with numerous types of obstacles, traps, ramps, and destructible objects.

The game modes include the Story, Time Attack, and Challenge. Story is where most of your time will most likely be spent, just as in any game of this type. The objective of each level is to collect all the pellets, then reach the goal. There are side goals, such as collecting jewels, and you obviously want to eat blue ghosts. The only requirement is that you reach the goal without running out of lives. Jewels are bonuses that will help unlock challenges and bonus material (i.e. the original arcade Pac-Man).

Time Attack is a game mode in which you will need to reach all the checkpoints, and finally the “goal” in a certain amount of time. If you miss any checkpoints, you are not allowed to end the level. In Challenge mode, you have to complete certain objectives, such as eating 8 ghosts and reaching the goal in under 3 minutes. There are several different challenges, and each are completely unique from the Story experience, so you are encouraged to complete these if you want to claim you “beat” the game.

Each level is setup as a maze, with you rolling around as Pac-Man, collecting pellets, fruit for health, and eating ghosts. You will need to maneuver Pac-Man around hazards, including lava, pits, cliffs, etc. Pac-Man can acquire power-ups to help you succeed in each level. For instance, you can don knight armor, which in-turn will submerge you under water, or you can get the wings hat, which helps you glide.

These power-ups play an important role in the game. They are not here to just help you if you need it, because they really serve no purpose other than helping you either breaking a metal crate, which you can only do in the armor, or glide from one ledge to another with the wings. If you need to collect things at the bottom of a body of water, you will need the armor to sink. If there are pits at the bottom, you will want to float on top of the water to collect items with the wings hat.

The controls are easy to adapt to, after you play the game for a few minutes. To navigate the menus, you will need to use the touch-screen. Tap a box to highlight it, click it again to select it. Select Story, Time Attack, or Challenge, then click it again to enter the game. Once in the game, you move Pac-Man with the stylus, turn the camera with X/Y or left/right on the control pad. Stroke the screen fast in one direction to make Pac-Man go fast. Stroke in the opposition direction you are moving to brake. To break boxes and reach high places, move Pac-Man opposite the direction you want him to go, then quickly swipe in the direction you want to go until you hit the side of the screen.

As far as replay value and multi-player go, you should find yourself occupied with the single player for several hours. The Story mode does not last all that long, maybe 5-7 hours, if that, mainly extended by the difficulty of World 5 (lava level), but the Challenges and Time Attack are worth playing through. You can also play the original arcade both by yourself for the high score and with friends. In conclusion, Pac ‘N Roll is not a game that you should buy a DS for, though if you own the system, you should look into it. For those looking to buy Nintendo’s dual-screened system, Pac-Man’s new adventure just might be another reason to buy it.

Replay Value/Game Length:8
Written by KyleReview Guide