Review by mfspectre_basic

Reviewed: 09/07/05

Super Duper Pooper Underrated

I hate Pac-Pix. HATE. I have an obsession with hating that game -- it's just so shallow and incomplete-feeling that I love to cite it as a fun-for-five-minutes gimmick any chance I can. Hey, I have to save people from buying trash.

After that crash and burn and explosion of crap, Namco gave Pac-Man yet another "innovative" DS game a few months later. I wasn't ready to buy it, and I feared doing so would end up in the destruction of my spotless touch screen (by furiously attacking it... with a spork).

But being a good little boy, actually, man, ahem, I got some money back from my parents (they owed me!) and bought the thing. I wasn't really thinking, and actually purposely numbed my thinking processes so I wouldn't dwell on the potential mistake I just made. Shelling out thirty bucks for a gimmick was like shelling out thirty bucks for a plate of steaming dog poo-poo with a side of acidic sauerkraut.

BUT LO AND BEHOLD! Or something of that sort! Pac'N Roll is AMAZING!

In it, you move Pac-Man around by using the touch screen like a track ball, which works surprisingly well. You'd think someone at Namco would think twice after witnessing the horrid crappish-ness of Pokemon Dash, but what can I say? They did it right.

The story is really quite awful, and the lengthy and repetitive storybook sequences are obviously the low point of the otherwise great game. Each line of dialog crawls by at an alarmingly snail-like pace, combined with baby gurgle speak that just threatens to lower your IQ.

Onto the crappy story: a rock'n roll alien from outer space (sigh) comes to Pac Land and transforms everyone into spheres. He then sucks them into a vacuum or something and Pac-Man is the only one to survive. To save the day, he has to go through a lot of levels for no reason.

But thank God the levels are actually FUN! Like said elsewhere, it's like a healthy combination of Mario 64 and Marble Madness, with a heavy emphasis on the former. Controlling the track ball Pac-Man on the bottom screen is easy, and the many splendid environments suit the controls very well.

There are five worlds with a great end boss battle. Each of the five worlds consists of at least three to four levels, and a separate boss fight.

Also, the levels are designed very beautifully. Yeah, they're the standard platformer archetypes, but who cares: jungles, lava pits, castles, a "candy land." Great stuff.

Each level consists of you eating up pellets and disposing of those pesky (and surprisingly intelligent!) ghosts by using power pellets.

The big downside to all this is that the game is incredibly short -- and considering how consistently fun it is, it makes the experience as a whole a bit underwhelming.

But the replay is there -- you have to beat virtually every level excluding the boss fights three times to get a completely finished game. And since the levels are so damn fun, it's definitely worth going through a few times.

GRAPHICS: 8/10
While not necessarily detailed, the crisp 3D graphics are still sharp and colorful. Also, the camera is unobtrusive to the gameplay experience -- rare is a bad angle. And you can always adjust it.

SOUND: 8.5/10
Actually somewhat decent. The tracks are hummable and catchy.

CONTROL: 9/10
Moving the newly spherical Pac-Man is never tiring nor a hassle.

GAMEPLAY: 9/10
Like platformers? Then you'll like Pac'N Roll. It's easily one of the best 3D platformers on the system as of now, and will likely be that way for quite awhile.

Here's hoping for a sequel that's longer. ^_^

Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

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