Game Review: Pac-man is back in PAC-MAN POP!
Almost a year ago we reviewed a new PAC-MAN game, “PAC-MAN 256” (you can read the review here) which took us all in a nostalgic trip to the past with its retro style and original game’s roots, only in its endless-arcade form. Now, Bandai is back with a new installment in the famous franchise that takes a different but equally enjoyable approach to the original story. The new game is called Pac-man Pop! and it is a match-3 arcader that brings together the classic arcade with the bubble shooting puzzles that we all love.
In this new adventure Pac-man needs our help to save his cute little pets that have been trapped in bubble traps by the usual suspects, the ghosts Inky, Blinky, Pinky and Clyde, together with the fruits of Pac-land. Now Pac-man must free his friends and restore the harmony on his land.
The gameplay is simple and similar to other match-3 games out there, but of course with some unique elements as well. Your job is to tap and hold with your finger to aim, and release to fire the bubble. If you can’t aim at same color bubbles because of their position, you can aim at the screen walls to make the ball bounce and find its target. You can decide upon two bubbles each time so make sure to pick the color that will score you the most points. There are various colors some of which start appearing after a few levels e.g. pink. When you free all pets then the level is over and the remaining bubbles fall on top of the four ghosts that are at the bottom of the screen. A perfect score rewards you with 3 stars and there is a point meter at the top of the screen.
Apart from the pets you will also come across levels where you will be asked to to hit the ghost that hides in the middle of the bubbles. At first the ghost is huge but after defeating it once it gets smaller and smaller for another two rounds so it will take longer to to find a clear opening to hit it. Obstacles such as spiked bubbles are also there to make things harder for you.
There are plenty of boosters revealed as you advance such as the Super Blast that explodes in a large radius and destroys all bubbles that are caught in it, or the Rainbow that matches all the colors it touches. There are more to unlock and use to make your task easier. You can also unlock some mini-games that will help you get higher scores.
After completing a level you are rewarded with coins with which you can buy power ups and lives. The game’s shop offers a good amount of coin bundles with prices ranging from $ 0.99 for 10 coins and going up to $ 49.00 for almost 800 coins. The truth is it is not easy to increase your coins in-game but I hardly felt the need to use them up to this point especially for lives. I never run out of lives and you get a new one every half hour. Coins are more important for the power ups and you need to spend both wisely.
Graphics & Sounds
Pac-man looks as adorable as ever and even the ghosts are cute with their angry expressions and bright colors. In fact the whole game is like a big rainbow with the color variations that it has. It is very pleasant to the eye and the same can be said about the level map that changes themes the more you advance. The BG music is cheerful and needless to say, the sound of popping bubbles is more addicting than anything else.
All in all, Pac-man Pop! is an enjoyable game without exaggerating levels of difficulty and perfect for all ages and types of players. You don’t have to be a pac-man fan to enjoy it but if you are, it certainly makes the game even more fun and unique. All your favorite characters are in it, with slightly different purpose to make things more interesting. It is hard to put your phone down once you start playing and I consider that a plus. Let us know your thoughts and impressions in the comments below.
Pac-man Pop! screenshots (above) and trailer (below)