Pac 'n Roll (Nintendo DS) Preview

By Mike Mason 25.09.2005 15

Namco seem to have been having a rummage through their archives of late for the Nintendo DS, pulling out their mascot Pac-Man in not one, but two titles in less than a year and most recently polishing off Dig Dug for a sequel. One of the aforementioned Pac-Man games, Pac-Pix, already hit Europe a few months back, and soon it will be the turn of the second, Pac 'N' Roll.

Pac 'N' Roll originally existed alongside Pac-Pix as a technology demonstration for the fully unveiled DS at E3 2004. Unlike its brethren, however, it has not come out so quickly and has remained in development for a fair while longer. The result looks to be an interesting combination of Marble Madness, Super Monkey Ball and familiar Pac-Man play mechanics; indeed, while there were no instances of pill popping in Pac-Pix, Pac 'N' Roll looks to be adorned with it. So keen do Namco seem to both utilise their retro appeal and keep a little closer to the Pac-Man formula that they have also included the original game (adapted to take advantage of a larger playing field spread over two screens) within, after it is unlocked of course.

The gameplay consists of rolling Pac-Man around levels inhabited by ghosts, gobbling up pills and fruit as you go. As in the original arcade games, you can occasionally find Power Pills, which allow you to banish your enemies to the spirit world where they belong, but this time they do not respawn. The premise is simple, but as the original shows it could prove addictive.

A striking thing about the game is the level of graphical accomplishment. Both screens display 3D, a stark contrast to Pac-Pix's fully 2D nature, with the top screen being used for the main playing field and the bottom screen used to control the action via a trackball-like system. Pac-Man is displayed on the bottom screen in the centre and movement is achieved by moving the stylus over him. Whichever direction you swipe will be the way that Pac-Man moves.

Screenshot for Pac 'n Roll on Nintendo DS

Handily, if for some reason you cannot work out what direction the yellow ball is moving, the trackball Pac-Man indicates what direction he is facing on the top screen. A key move to getting Pac-Man about is the dash, activated with a quick swipe across the touch screen, which gives him a temporary burst of speed and allows him to break through enemies and obstacles alike, wrecking ball style! The D-Pad allows camera control, but this is its only function, the game being another title that relies mainly on the touch screen.

Gameplay does not look set to become much more complicated than what has already been described, with Pac-Man needing to be navigated through a series of different settings such as jungles with underwater sections and castles, which are each bound to have environment specific perils for our protagonist. However, it could be the case of a game that follows the age old 'simple to play, more difficult to master' philosophy, with elements like friction thrown in and a few obligatory character-changing power ups - in this case, there is a suit of armour that increases Pac-Man’s weight and its polar opposite, a feather that makes Pac-Man light and puffy enough to go floating about the level for certain periods of time (although perhaps a bicycle pump would have been a better idea, with the hero inflating into a balloon-like form…).

When you have finished with the story mode, Namco have promised time trial and challenge modes. The former needs no real explanation, with players asked to steer Pac-Man around the stages as fast as possible, while the latter is likely to involve challenges such as gathering items or getting rid of bad guys.

Screenshot for Pac 'n Roll on Nintendo DS

Final Thoughts

Namco have already had one semi-successful Pac-Man spin off on the DS, so is it too much to ask for another already? We shall soon see how it fares, as it will be hitting Europe in October this year, when Cubed3 will be taking it for a spin (or, more accurately, a roll).









C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  n/a

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10 (1 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   


After playing this at the Post E3 Tour I was impressed, but left with a feeling of 'damn, wish Sega would do Monkey Ball DS'. And now it is I have lost all interest in this! :roll:

Pac-Pix is a brilliant, if somewhat limited, experience. I see this not quite living up to the same standard, unfortunately.

Nice work, again, Mason!

Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]

UNITE714: Weekly Prayers | Bible Verses

Is that a 3/10? Seems a bit low...

We'll see how it turns out though.

Previews score out of 5 :Smilie

Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]

UNITE714: Weekly Prayers | Bible Verses

Can't see myself getting excited about this pac-pix was good but got very limited and most likely it will bomb at retail 2,000units in a month in America.By the way a nice review.

Yep, as Adam said it's out of 5.

Sounds great, and the screenshots look good as well! Hopefully it'll be a classic!

Sonic isn't my cup of tea poor man's Mario

I can't for this game to come out ^_^
Haven't heard a bad word about this game yet!

TAG: That American Guy

"If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone." Romans 12:18

You will. When people wake up and release that it has nothing to do with 2D/3D maybe we could actually have some opinion that matters.

Truth is we have rediculously high standards for Sonic, and when it doesn't quite live up to the hype it's comdemned for all eternity.

Considering our standards are higher now than they were back then, added to the fact that Sonic's freshness cannot be relived, people WILL SLATE Sonic Rush.

It's impossible for a future Sonic to be better or at least on par with the classic sonic's due to our high standards.

Not surprised Anticipation is low (it is out of 10 right. If not disregard what I'm saying). This is a nintendo site, this is a platformer previewed, and it's nothing like Mario.

Anticipation is out of 5.

The reason for the high standards I hold with Sonic is the fact that he's had at least 4 classic games under his belt. I don't think it's coincidence at all that they're all 2D - Sonic Team have rarely managed to get a great grip on 3D, unfortunately.

I imagine it'd be pretty dang hard to have a platformer game at such high speeds in 3D...imo, I quite liked Sonic Adventure 2 Battle...hated some of the dialogue, but I liked the music and the gameplay and the story was pretty good when you take poor dialogue out of the picture.

TAG: That American Guy

"If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone." Romans 12:18

Oh Ok sorry.

Though 2D is not necessarily better. The Advance games are no better.

So I just get sick and tired of hearing "Sonic's better in 2D", "Sonic cannot work in 3D". It has nothing to do with dimensions.

2D is better than the 3D ones though. the advance series even though not as good as the megadrive ones were alot better than the 3D ones imo. Just because there controle felt the same.

XBL Gamertag: James2t3

It will be interesting to see how this and New Super Mario Bros fair. Both are new spins on an old style of play; both will have the problem of living up to nostalgia.

Nice preview, this is more than likely the game that convinces me to buy a DS.

Woah, de-ja vu, where I have written that before?

Cubed3 Staff [ Retro Editor :: Previews Editor ]

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