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Ms. Pac-Man

Score: 80%
ESRB: Everyone
Publisher: BANDAI NAMCO Games America, Inc.
Developer: BANDAI NAMCO Studio Inc.
Media: Download/1
Players: 1
Genre: Classic/Retro/ Action/ Arcade

Graphics & Sound:

Ms. Pac-Man for the Xbox One is a nice, solid port that not only reproduces the classic arcade game, but also adds enough control over the game's look and feel to try and replicate that favorite arcade machine that you might have spent too many hours on during your misspent youth.

The basic visual and audio aspects of Ms. Pac-Man are all in the game to help put her best high-heeled foot forward. This includes the classic 8-bit music, old-school graphics, map layouts, and of course ghosts, fruit and Ms. Pac-Man herself.

Ms. Pac-Man's Xbox One version doesn't really stop there, though. The game provides a fairly wide range of modifications you can make to both the audio and graphics. These changes range from adjusting the scanlines to fiddling with the reverb values to make the audio sound more tinny. While I personally enjoyed playing the game in its cleanest form, I can see someone who is trying to replicate a specific arcade cabinet wanting to tweak these details in order to get the look and feel of the game just like how they remembered it.


Ms. Pac-Man's gameplay isn't all that complex, and there aren't that many changes between it and the original Pac-Man title. As with most Pac-Man games, you run your character around the maze with the goal to collect each pellet that can be seen. Roaming around the maze with you though, are four ghosts who can end your run with a single touch. Of course, when you pick up one of the bigger dots, Power Pellets, those ghosts turn blue and can be eaten by Ms. Pac-Man.

One of the few gameplay changes that Ms. Pac-Man introduced was the moving fruit. In Pac-Man, when you've collected a certain amount of pellets, the fruit would appear under the ghost box and just sit there. In Ms. Pac-Man, the fruit appears out of a warp tunnel and marches around the board making you chase it. If you take too long to get to it, it will exit the map via another warp. While it might not seem like a big change, it is another sprite on the board to keep track of while you are dodging ghosts and collecting pellets.

One aspect I always found interesting about this game was that there were only four different mazes, but changes in color, how long power pellets last and the overall speed of the game makes each level noticeably harder than the previous.

Ms. Pac-Man also plays out a story about the two yellow characters meeting, falling in love, and having a little Pac-Man between rounds. While it isn't the epic tale that other games might tell, it is still a fun diversion as you get ready for the next level of maze running.


Ms. Pac-Man's default settings make it a game that can quickly get too fast and too hard to progress. I found that I could generally get through the fourth or fifth level before all of my lives were used up, and that was because I generally earned an extra life somewhere along the way. Mind you though, this was a game designed to get players to keep sinking quarters into it. It is made to get harder and harder in the hopes of making you mess up and put another coin in the slot.

But, for those experienced gamers that can routinely get closer to the game's final levels, there are several ways to tweak it to make it even harder. One of these is the ability to increase the number of points you need to get before getting an extra life. Like I said, the only reason I was able to get as far as I could was because of the 10,000 point extra life setting. Upping that to anything else was just asking for trouble on my part.

Game Mechanics:

Ms. Pac-Man was designed to work with a single joystick, and one that only moved in four directions at that. Unfortunately, I found that the Xbox One controller wasn't the best experience for this game.

There are two options, one is to use the Left Thumb-Stick and the other is to use the D-pad. While the Thumb-Stick helps give the joystick feel of the arcade cabinet, the fact that it isn't restricted to only up, down, left and right means that you don't always convey the command you are hoping to. Of course, you get those explicit directions when you use the D-pad, but you lose the joystick feel altogether. This issue isn't insurmountable by any means, it just adds a bit of a learning curve to the game.

Like I said before, Ms. Pac-Man is a solid port that most fans of the game will want to grab, and while the ability to tweak both the game's presentation and some gameplay options are great, the loose controls take a lot of getting used to and can lead to some frustrating gameplay experiences early on.

-J.R. Nip, GameVortex Communications
AKA Chris Meyer

Related Links:

Windows The Collider 2 Microsoft Xbox One Pac-Man

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