A nice collection that has some missed potential.
I’ll admit it. When I first heard of Pac-Man & Galaga Dimensions I was fairly wary of the release. At the time, the game seemed to only be a collection of the games Pac-Man Tilt and Galaga 3D Impact, and with no classic Pac-Man or Galaga goodness in sight, I can’t say I was too thrilled with the idea of perceived the 2-in-1 title. However, closer to release Namco announced that the title would also include not only the original Pac-Man and Galaga titles, but also their XBLA updates (since ported to PSN and smartphones) Pac-Man Championship Edition and Galaga Legions. So now, even if Pac-Man Tilt and Galaga 3D Impact were as terrible as I feared they might be, I would at least have portable Pac-Man Championship Edition.
Thankfully, Pac-Man Tilt and Galaga 3D Impact aren’t terrible at all.
First up: Pac-Man Tilt. Pac-Man Tilt is an interesting 2D platformer that heavily features the motion controlling aspects of the 3DS. By turning your system to the left or the right (as if it were a steering wheel), the level will tilt and Pac-Man will be able to roll into a ball and gain momentum in the direction you are turning the 3DS. Of course, the motion controls have more uses than that. For instance, in some levels you will have hanging platforms that you have to move around by turning the 3DS with the swinging of said platform so that it can gain momentum and reach a higher altitude. There are bumpers that Pac-Man can bounce off of, and by leaning the 3DS one way or the other you can shift Pac-Man’s trajectory. There are cannons that can be aimed via motion controls, bombs that need to be rolled to specific spots, and winding tunnels that you need to guide Pac-Man through. All in all, Namco made sure to put the motion controls through their paces.
Admittedly, the art in Pac-Man Tilt is decisively bland. Every level looks like a psychedelic recreation of the Casino Night Zone from Sonic the Hedgehog 2 and features bright colors prominently. Thankfully, the actual level design that went into Pac-Man Tilt is spot on. Early on I felt that the motion controls were a bit cumbersome, but the more I got used to them I really started to recognize how well put together a game Pac-Man Tilt is. The game has 30 levels (25 regular ones and 5 EX ones) with most of the early levels serving to introduce players to new concepts (so there’s a cannon level, and a level with bombs, and a level with hanging platforms, etc.). Early on, this can be a bit boring, but once you get past the preliminary (almost tutorial like) levels you really get to see the level design in the game open up. This is especially true in the EX levels, which are designed to put the skills you’ve developed to the ultimate test, and you should have said skills since the EX levels require you to get medals in order to unlock them. For the ordinary levels, you can unlock them by beating the preceding stage, but for the EX levels, you have to play well enough in the stages to get high scores that will award either a bronze, silver, or gold medal. Your score is determined by four factors: collecting pellets, collecting fruit, killing ghosts (via power pellets you find), and speed. Ideally, you will speed through a level, collect all fruit and pellets, and kill all the ghosts on one (or chained) power pellet.
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