Hipster Whale, the minds behind the rather popular (and rather great) Crossy Road, have teamed-up with Bandai Namco to create PAC-MAN 256: an absolutely bonkers looking maze runner chaser thing.
The new game turns a bug from the original PAC-MAN (and other early games in the franchise) into a feature by having players make a mad dash through an endless maze - with the infamous glitch in hot pursuit. Along with Inky, Pinky, Blinky, and Clyde of course. Coins and power-ups will also be available to help even the playing field a tiny bit (but not too much).
PAC-MAN 256 will be available on the App Store later this summer as a free download.
Players will be able to race around two new courses - the Seacrest District and Surfside Resort - and get behind the wheel of four new Class 1 cars - the Kamata Synci, RC410, Lucky Wild Evolver, and Soldat Rauna. Players will also have the chance to unlock some new achievements and compete in new races, battles, and Masters' Class 1 career mode challenges.
Ridge Racer Slipstream is available to download from the App Store now for free.
At their recent Global Gamers' Day event, Bandai Namco was largely focused on their console and PC offerings for the upcoming year. However mobile still had a small presence, with some upcoming titles revealed by the company - though few were in a playable state at this time.
Windows screenshot, may not be representative of iOS gameplay
The biggest announcement might just be Pac-Man Championship Edition DX+ coming to mobile later this year. The follow-up to the popular take on Pac-Man, which features dynamic levels that change every time a fruit is collected, will feature new game modes, characters, and level designs to try and survive. But it's still an eat or get eaten world. Expect this one this fall, though it was not playable at the event. Still, the game's set up for touch controls already on Windows, so it should be a similar experience.
Outcast Odyssey is another upcoming game, though shown only in trailer form. This one resembles Evilibrium's tile-uncovering gameplay, and dungeon-crawling is promised, but few details are known beyond that.
Project Unstoppable (working title) is another game that Namco announced with few details available. Check out the teaser trailer below.
Also on tap for the future from Namco include a game called Soul Calibur: Unbreakable Soul, though no details are available for it at all beyond the name. TNA 2, a head-to-head wrestling game based on the Total Nonstop Action Wrestling organization, is expected later this year.
Additionally, Namco is working with Invictus to bring some casual games to mobile under Namco's label. Froggy Jump 2, already released, is part of this. Froggy Splash 2, a game similar to Burrito Bison and Jumping Finn Turbo is also in the works. A puzzle-RPG called Jewel Fight is also being created by Invictus for publication by Namco, though this one won't involve cute frogs but rather warriors battling it out by matching gems by twisting around blocks of four gems, similar to Bejeweled Twist.
While details and playable gameplay were sparse at the event, Namco does appear to have a variety of titles planned, and this may not be all - these titles are under the wing of Namco's American mobile studios, and other international branches may have their own worldwide releases down the road as well.
It looks like the lovelorn Rakoo is finally going to catch a break. Rakoo's Adventure has just been updated with a whole new Valentine's Day world, and chances are good the poor little guy is finally going to catch up with Rakoonette.
The update also includes an enhanced pet system, new achievements, more hats, brings the total level count up to 64, and has gone free. Yup, you can now download Rakoo's Adventures for free. Get to it, lovebirds!
Since the App Store launch in 2008, Namco and now Namco Bandai Games has published over 100 apps. The company was there at launch with Ms. Pac-Man (and Pac-Man) and continues to be there today with both favorite franchises and new properties. We took a few moments to speak with Alex Adjadj, the Director of Strategic Development, Mobile Sales and Marketing at Namco Bandai Games America, Inc.
148Apps: How has the App Store changed the way Namco Bandai does business?
Alex Adjadj, Director of Strategic Development, Mobile Sales and Marketing at Namco Bandai Games America Inc.: The video games industry is currently going through challenges on different fronts. Hardware transition on the console side. Exponential user and device fragmentation as well as standardization of development tools and fast growing marketing costs on the mobile side. It's exciting, challenging and requires more attention to planning and execution.
The App Store has accelerated and accentuated these challenges. When it comes to a major publisher with thousands of employees, it's always a bigger challenge because of the scale involved. But Namco Bandai Games knows mobile well, and has started doing mobile games with Apple back to the early days of the iPod Click Wheel (remember PAC-MAN?). It's been great to have had their support to improve the quality and market relevance of our creations along those years.
148Apps: If you have one single success within Namco you'd like to highlight from the past five years on the App Store, what would it be?
Alex Adjadj: We've had highs and lows. As I said, for a bigger publisher it's just a question of more time, more planning, more investment, more internal communication. But there's one thing that only a very few other publishers have today, it's market knowledge and capacity to increase product development and segmentation without compromising on quality. In 2008, we were all about cost-conscious developments, with most of our releases being good ports, but also not taking full advantage of the iOS platform and hardware at the time. Fast forward 2013, we've got universal games that play well on iPad and iPhone, that are visually extraordinary thanks to Retina Display, that are fun to play with friends on Game Center, and that offer great value for money for gamers willing to pay or play for free.
148Apps: In the five years since launch, the App Store has gone through considerable changes. The number of users has skyrocketed along with downloads, prices for paid apps has stabilized way lower than many expected, free to play has dominated the top grossing charts. If, knowing what you know about the App Store now, you could go back and influence the path of Namco Bandai five years ago, what would you say?
Alex Adjadj: Actually I personally did contribute back in the summer of 2009 by further evangelizing in Europe and the US teams about the benefits of bringing dedicated products rather than ports to App Store. It changed a lot of perceptions back then, especially since we were still strongly driven by our feature phone business in overseas (i.e. Non-Japan) territories.
148Apps: What have you seen on the App Store, outside of Namco Bandai, that has surprised you most?
Alex Adjadj: It's been a challenging, but a logical and relentless organic evolution. Apple has changed the world of digital content distribution and mobile gaming by annihilating barriers to entry, cutting a lot of (often, but not always, useless and costly) middle 'men.' By imposing its own standards, it has accelerated the growth of a young mobile video games industry, it has made it possible for the unveiling of incredibly successful and clever small production houses, and changed the perception of mobile gaming with the masses. My biggest surprises are the very little opposition Apple have faced from pre-existing market entrants, the incredible success it went through and the time it took for their competitors to come up with relevant hardware and retail ecosystems.
148Apps: Any predictions for what the App Store will be like five years from now?
Alex Adjadj: Personally, I can perceive further device fragmentation in the iOS hardware line - very similar to what's going on with Android right now. Device fragmentation will increase differences in usage and accordingly product & genre segmentation, a bit like what the iPad has done in terms of 'console quality gaming for mobile.' Following smartphone penetration growth in emerging markets, I also see further challenges to properly address consumers around the world, in terms of UX, billing, the relevance of content offering and the risk, already present, of content saturation and chart stagnation. I see 3 ways where this might go: first Apple might need to customize their App Store UI a bit differently per region, so that non-local publishers still get a chance to, at least, show their best content in new markets, without occurring prohibitive production costs. The second route must be to introduce more flexible billing routes so that all users can pay for content the way it fits their spending culture. The third, though unlikely given Apple's necessary but very tight control on its ecosystem, would be to allow the 'best' publishers to get more control of how their content offering is tailored to end users.
Alex Adjadj wishes to add the following disclaimer: Mr. Adjadj speaks of his personal experience and opinions, and while being a full time employee of Namco Bandai Games America Inc., Namco Networks America Inc. and Namco Bandai Networks Europe since 2006, this article isn't meant to be read as general consensus across other divisions of Bandai Namco Holdings. Alex is currently Director of Strategic Development, Mobile Sales and Marketing at Namco Bandai Games America Inc., San Jose, California.
When Street Fighter x Tekken was quietly announced at E3 this year, many were relieved. It had been rumored for a while, but it was there, in the flesh (or silicon) and it was real. Demos started at PAX earlier this month. And we just got our hands on a build. Take a look at the video below to see what to expect.
Full details are still to come. But from the build we can get a sense of what characters we will be able to play, though others are likely to unlock as you progress in the game. In our early look it seems like the controls are pretty well done. As expected as the controls for Street Fighter IV also from Capcom were exceptional for a touch screen button masher like this.
Global multiplayer system will be included in the game. We were unable to test that in our version, though. It could add considerable interest to the game if it works well.
Look for Street Fighter x Tekken later this year, perhaps sooner, perhaps later. If we had to guess, from this build we would say sooner. But Capcom are being particularly cagey about this game. We hope to know more soon.
Namco has released a new app that is a collection of several of their arcade games compiled into one app, appropriately entitled Namco Arcade. The games included come from Namco's vault of 80's arcade titles: Xevious, The Tower of Druaga, Motos and Phozon.
Xevious is a shoot ‘em up that has players shooting enemies not just in the air, but on the ground by using bombs. The Tower of Druaga is a proto-action-RPG that has players navigating mazes, killing enemies, blocking magic, and trying to collect a key to unlock the next levle of the tower. Motos has players controlling a bumper car in an arena, trying to knock their enemies off without falling off themselves. Finally, Phozon is an action-puzzle game where players collect items called moleks in order to try and match the shape in the center of the level, while avoiding the hazardous Atomic that kills upon contact.
The games can be played in one of two ways. First, they can be bought with in-app purchases outright, for prices from $1.99-$4.99 depending on the game. This unlocks them permanently, and unlocks their leaderboards and achievements functionality. The other way is to play them with Play Coins. This is similar to an actual arcade, where one coin gets one play of the game. Thankfully, Play Coins are going for less than quarters are nowadays, as $0.99 buys 10 coins. The player also gets one free Play Coin per day that can be spent on any game. This setup is similar to an app that Capcom put out last year.
While these aren't exactly games that are the pinnacle of Namco's arcade catalog, these are games that have been reissued at times in other collections, including the Namco Museum series of games on the consoles. There also is the potential for more games to be added; the requirement for 4th generation devices or later seems to indicate that these are straight-up emulations, not port jobs, which would make adding new games a hypothetical breeze. This is also a universal app, unlike the Capcom app. Namco Arcade is available now as a free download.
Namco has brought Load Inc.'s arcade-style racer Mad Tracks to iOS. Initially released for PC in 2006 and Xbox Live Arcade in 2007, this racer has players controlling miniaturized cars through environments like mini-golf courses, and those Hot Wheels tracks with the crazy loops in them. As well, players can use powerups like turbo boosts, shields, and missiles to help outrace their opponents most effectively. The game also supports live multiplayer for up to 4 players simultaneously, either through local wifi or over the internet. As is all the rage in mobile gaming business models these days, the game is now a free to play title. Players earn "Mad Points" for succeeding in races and for completing challenges. These points can then be spent on unlocking new tracks, cars, and race powerups. Of course, the Mad Points can be purchased with real-world money outright as well. Mad Tracks is now available as a universal app.
When Katamari Amore released, it came with the promise that more content would be added to the game beyond its intital level pack. I am proud to report that Namco are not liars, as a new level pack will be made available on Thursday, October 27th. The Time Trip pack features levels that send the Prince throughout history to collect thing for the ever-demanding King of All Cosmos. Six new levels are playable in Time Trial, Story, Exact Size Challenge, and Eternal modes. The pack will be available for $3.99, identical to the first pack, with one level's Time Trial mode unlocked for free. As well, this pack will also feature a bonus mode based on a Namco game, and instead of another Pac-Man level - this time a Tekken-themed level is available. It's something of an unexpected choice; what could be next? Soul Calibur? Mappy? Tower of Druaga? Toy Pop? The long-lost Pac-Man 2 game for 16-bit consoles? A Splatterhouse level? I don't think I would even want to see that.