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Score: 90%
ESRB: Everyone
Publisher: BANDAI NAMCO Games America, Inc.
Developer: BANDAI NAMCO Studio Inc.
Media: Download/1
Players: 1
Genre: Arcade/ Action/ Classic/Retro

Graphics & Sound:

Pac-Man has been a classic since its release some 35+ years ago, whether in arcades across America (and the world) or on home consoles. Who can forget those iconic "waka-waka" sounds as Pac-Man makes his way across a board, munching dots and running from ghosts. Pac-Man is back in all of his glory and looks fantastic on the Xbox One. Everything is crisp and clear and you have a choice of two backgrounds that will wrap around the classic game board. I do wish there were more options than the two provided, one washed-out and one vibrantly colored, but alas, that's all you get. You do get the option to rotate the board, if you want, and there are lots of ways to tweak the screen and board size so that you get exactly the experience you want.

As far as sound goes, just like the visuals, everything sounds pitch perfect and just as you remember, well better actually. The classic theme song is in place, along with the various sounds of munching dots, eating Power Pellets, and devouring ghosts Inky, Blinky, Pinky and Clyde. But maybe the arcade machine you played it on back in the day was more tinny sounding and you want to recreate that. You can do it here with Pac-Man and the lovely array of sound tweakage available. You can change the reverb depth and length in increments of 10 from 0 to 100, you can change the high, mid and low frequency and several variants in between. Basically, if you want your Pac-Man game to sound like it is being played on a tin can in a deep, dark cave, you can do it. While not settings I kept, it was fun playing around with the sounds to see what effects they created.


Pac-Man was, and is, a pretty basic arcade action game. You play as the iconic yellow bigmouth, making your way around a set board, eating Pac-dots to clear the board. Trying to keep you from your mission are the aforementioned ghosts, Inky, Blinky, Pinky and Clyde. In each of the four corners of the board rests a precious Power Pellet and when Pac-Man eats it, he can then consume the ghosts, who have turned a shade of blue and will give him lots of points upon their consumption. It will also send their eyes scurrying back to their hub in the center of the board, so Pac-Man won't have to worry about them reverting back to their standard ghost selves immediately and killing him. The standard game has you starting with three lives, although this is something you can change in the Settings Menu. When you get tagged by the ghosts three times, it's game over, although when you hit 10,000 points, you are given an extra life.

There are also bonuses in the form of fruit that will appear in your levels, floating just under the ghost hub waiting for Pac-Man to chomp them. They'll also earn you bonus points. Cherries, strawberries, oranges (that look like peaches), apples, melons and more (well, non-fruit items, but anyway) - it can be a regular fruit salad in Pac-Land, if you are fast enough to snag them while they are available.

There are also tunnel portals on the left and right side of the board and Pac-Man can slide into one of these and reappear on the opposite side of the board. These are great for a quick escape, but beware since the ghosts can use them too and you could get busted by a different ghost who happens across your path as you slip out on the opposite side.


The more levels you play, the faster things go in Pac-Man, especially the ghosts and the music. It's an old school game, so it's tough. Again, you can give yourself five lives at the start of a game by tweaking the settings, but Pac-Man is still fairly merciless. I played this game to death on the Atari when I was a kid, even locking up my system because I went through so many rounds. I found that using a joystick back then was just a matter of memorizing the way through the levels and basically, letting muscle memory take over. Things are a little different using the Xbox One controller's Left Stick or D-pad, but more on that in Game Mechanics.

Game Mechanics:

Pac-Man is a game where you guide the little yellow guy through a maze, eating dots and avoiding ghosts. It's basic concept is part of what makes it so great. I did find a little difficulty in playing on the XB1 controller over the old school joystick of the Atari, and even playing on PlayStation controllers over the years with the various Pac-Man flavors that have come out.

You can use the Left Stick or the D-pad to move him around and both have their benefits and detriments. Using the Left Stick felt more fluid, but sometimes I'd find myself getting stuck in corners or going in a direction I didn't intend. Using the D-pad felt more organic, but again not as tight as using an old school joystick. Oh, and the thumb blisters. Yeah, those happened.

Overall, I love that I can play classic Pac-Man on my Xbox One and I applaud Bandai Namco Studios for the attention to detail and flexibility a player has in changing up the sound and display options. In the end, it's still just classic Pac-Man and what's there is good. If you liked playing it back in the day, it's just as fun as it was back then, only without the quarter depletion of the arcade or the instability of the Atari version. But hey, if you are jonesin' for that, there's an option to turn on the wonky level as well. In short, if you love classic Pac-Man, buy this... it's only $3.99, but if you also loved Dig-Dug and Galaga, you can just splurge with the 3-in-1 Arcade Pack and get all three for $7.99!

-Psibabe, GameVortex Communications
AKA Ashley Perkins

Related Links:

Microsoft Xbox One Ms. Pac-Man Windows Corpse Party

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