Ms. PAC-MAN for iPad
iPad App
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Ms. PAC-MAN for iPad

Our Review by Timothy Smith on February 15th, 2011
Rating: starstarstarhalfstarblankstar :: MS. DIRECTION
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Namco tries to revive the popular Ms. PAC-MAN franchise on the iPad. It isn't perfect, but it certainly serves up some nostalgia.

Developer: Namco Bandai

Price: $4.99
Version: 1.0.0
App Reviewed on: iPad

Graphics / Sound Rating: starstarstarhalfstarblankstar
User Interface Rating: starstarstarblankstarblankstar
Gameplay Rating: starstarstarblankstarblankstar
Re-use / Replay Value Rating: starstarstarstarblankstar

Overall Rating: starstarstarhalfstarblankstar

I love Pac-Man; I was born in the 80s. Of course, I was a little late for the Pac-Man craze that swept the nation, but I still did my fair share of pellet munching when I was a lad. Now, every time a new Pac-Man game comes out I have to try it. There is just something magical about the "easy to learn, impossible to master" aspect of the game. Pac-Man is a timeless classic that's synonymous with gaming.

Ms. Pac-man for iPad technically isn't a new game in the series, but it is a fairly accurate emulation of the older arcade. The game has three difficulty settings (easy, normal, and original) that adjust the speed of the game and the amount of lives you're offered. There are also three control methods which I will give an in depth breakdown of in a bit. Other than that, you just have basic options and help. It is a pretty bare-bones recreation of the classic title.

The graphics are a faithful representation of the source material, and while you can only play in portrait mode it works out because there is a simulated arcade cabinet surrounding the action. The minimal sound and pixelated graphics are spot on, and the simulated cabinet attempts to bring an arcade feel to the game. However, you won't feel like you're at an arcade. Unless it is an arcade with a busted joystick.

This is where I give you the in depth breakdown. Two of the three control methods are broken in my opinion. The simulated joystick mode seems like a good idea, but it is poorly executed. It is nearly impossible to play Ms. Pac-man without keeping your eyes on the action, and with the joystick mode you have to keep looking down to make sure your thumb is in the recognizable area of motion for the joystick. The second of the broken control methods is the tilt to move feature. Ms. Pac-man is constantly moving and your tasked with tilting the iPad to make her twist and turn through the mazes. This might work on a smaller device, but on the iPad it was a pain. I couldn't get her to move intelligently without swinging my iPad all over the place. Needless to say, it was headache inducing.

The final control method is the games saving grace. It is a swiping control that works on any area of the screen. I was able to play through several mazes with relative ease just by holding the iPad up and flicking my thumb in the different directions I wanted her (Ms. Pac-man) to go. I did miss a few critical turns, but I blame myself for not performing completely accurate swipes in the heat of the action.

Ms. Pac-man doesn't offer much else in the way of features, but if you ignore the two experimental control methods, and you're a fan of the classic arcade, then you should have a pretty good time with the iPad version. I have noticed a lot of people rating the game low on the App Store due to technical glitches. I didn't experience only hang-ups or freezing, but as with all new game installs, I always reboot my iPad before playing.

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iPad Screenshots

(click to enlarge)

Ms. PAC-MAN for iPad screenshot 1 Ms. PAC-MAN for iPad screenshot 2 Ms. PAC-MAN for iPad screenshot 3
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