Developer: Tametick
Price: $0.99
Version Reviewed: 1.0
Device Reviewed On: iPad 2, iPod touch 4

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★★☆
Game Controls Rating: ★★★☆☆
Gameplay Rating: ★★★½☆
Replay Value Rating: ★★★½☆

Overall Rating: ★★★½☆

Cardinal Quest developer Tametick is back with a new game, Pakkuman's Defense, that is remarkably familiar yet brings in plenty of new elements to feel original. Players control the yellow Pakkuman, who is constantly trying to out-run Namco lawyers ghosts that are trying to devour him. These ghosts can't be eaten, because ghosts cause indigestion, but they can be killed. See, Pakkuman is a master tower-constructor, which officially makes this a hybrid of Pac-Man and the tower defense genre. Collecting pellets gives money, which is then spent on building towers that are constructed on the sides of the maze. Powerups for shotgun blasts, enemy confusion, or enemy freezing, can be picked up at random.

This is an extremely clever fusion of a classic arcade game with a modern genre that has taken root in the past few years on mobile. It’s an exciting feeling to be running away from ghosts down a corridor, only to watch as a cleverly-placed tower zaps them out of existence. The game has plenty of levels to check out, as well, and though it will take a while to open them all up, they are there for the playing. The game features a retro computer game aesthetic that resembles the days of Atari; it’s just a great look.

The concept of Pakkuman’s Defense just doesn't seem fully-realized yet. First off, perhaps in keeping with the 80s computer game graphics, there's no lightning-fast reflexes, as Pakkuman generally has to make his way to a whole tile on the board before he can turn back around. This makes it difficult to quickly escape ghosts suddenly in the way. Next, the controls aren't really scaled for the device they’re on. The game appears to have been designed in a cross-platform framework as it’s available on iOS, Android, and even on BlackBerry simultaneously, but the directional controls don't scale at all for screen size. So, bigger the screen, the harder it will be to control.

Also, the game is just absolutely unforgiving. There’s only one life, and given the difficulty in movement, this means that it’s best to play so conservatively that the Republican Party will be proud. The high score table appears to be based solely on level progression, not oon any other factor; if it wasn’t possible to start at any level, this wouldn’t be an issue.

I think this is a very interesting start to a concept that if fleshed out more, could be incredibly engrossing. As of now, it’s worth checking out if curious, but I think it’s a few steps short of being great.

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