Pacman returns yet again, this time in a runner type of game. Developed by the Japanese company Namco-Bandai, Pacman DASH! blends in the agility of Sonic, gathering mania of Temple Run and side scrolling view of RUA.
Immediately after launching the game I was offered to use Google Drive to store my save data. A commendable move that I would certainly like to see implemented in more games. Pacman DASH! offers 4 different save slots, so theoretically you can give your phone / tablet around and let other people play too, keeping your scores intact.
The primary goal of the game is to eat the dots (or cookies?) while also chasing the objective given on each level (mission). Objectives usually involve traveling, jumping or eating certain number of things until the time runs out. To extend the time and add precious seconds, you can eat the famous ghosts, that this time do not require special power-up to turn blue. Other than the time itself, you don’t have any other nuisances to worry about, meaning you can’t get killed or otherwise lose your life.
You will test your skills across 75 levels divided in 5 worlds, each offering different scenery setting, different objectives and rewards. The cookies you eat accumulate and you can spend them in the shop to get new equipable items that will help you during your missions in various ways.
Word-Two about the freemium model
Pacman DASH! uses quite unique way of getting you to spend money in the in-app store. Apparently our yellow friend gets tired from all the running and needs to rest from time to time in order to restore his stamina points. Starting each mission will use 1 out of 10 points whether you win or fail the level. Upon using them all, the game politely offers one freebie in form of “Stamina Recovery” that will instantly regenerate the bar, an item that usually costs .99 cents and can be bought as an IAP.
Luckily, stamina points regenerate over time. It will take 15 minutes to recharge one, or 2 hours and 30 minutes to fill them all, regardless if the game is running or not. Apart from the “Stamina” item, the store offers lots of permanent and temporary upgrades, ranging from double cookies to extra time and more.
Graphics, controls and gameplay
Comparing this game with Sonic may seem awkward at first, but the dynamic gameplay, all the ramps, launchers and the sheer amount of speed give an irresistible feeling of playing some older Sonic title. I often found myself worrying about hitting something and losing all my rings…. ahem cookies. In other words, gameplay is fast, fun and addicting.
Graphics, while nothing spectacular, suit the gameplay perfectly. Colors are vibrant, pleasant to watch while animations are butter smooth. You won’t see any lag or jerkiness while playing, a detail of great importance in this game since every second counts and precisely timed jumps make the difference between winning or losing the mission. The jumping button is one of the controls at your disposal, while the other one is situational depending on the item currently equipped. Some items, like “dash” will require manual activation, while others will trigger themselves once you meet the criteria. The third button is pause and I believe it doesn’t require special introduction.
Pacman DASH! is highly polished platform/runner game that aims to bring something fresh in the genre. Namco-Bandai did a great job combining couple of different style, resulting in all around solid game. The timed gameplay freemium model may discourage potential players from even trying the game but, then again, the game is new and developers may as well change their mind and increase the stamina tokens to at least 20, or reduce the recharging time by half.
|Amazing runner||Playtime restricted model|
|Cute graphics||Can become repetitive|