Pac-Pix (Nintendo DS) Review

By Adam Riley 16.05.2005 17

Out of the various technical demonstrations that were shown at 2004’s E3 event over in America, several have managed to be transformed into full-blown games, but only a few are looking worthy of a full purchase. Since Namco has two Pac-Man demos present, many assumed it would simply merge the two together. However, Pac-Pix has now arrived as its very own title separate from Pac-N-Roll. But is it worth the money?

There has never been too much going on in Pac-Man games, mainly because the traditional style was a simple maze in which The Yellow One would be guided round to eat all the pellets present and try to kill a few ghosts along the way as a bonus. This all took place on a 2D overhead view, with even Shigeru Miyamoto’s 3D take on the series being mere simple 3D models. But Pac-Pix is actually quite charming to play, with its Crayola-scrawling style throughout, with a smidgen of 3D thrown in for good measure. Bright colours, fast speeds, lots of action going on throughout and nary a glitch in sight, Pac-Pix clearly does push the DS to its limits, yet still does not leave gamers with a bitter taste in their mouths.

Screenshot for Pac-Pix on Nintendo DS

The musical side is quite a turn out for the books, with a mixture of old skool classic Pac-Man ditties and a bunch of new tunes that are rather ‘plinky-plonky’ in places, but quite catchy and memorable after a few listens. Unfortunately (or fortunately for those that heard Charles Martinet’s annoying Mario voice in Pac-Man Vs) there is no speech in Pac-Pix, but this is made up for with some very good use of sound effects (like when you draw an arrow and you get the ‘whoosh’ noise). Nothing spectacular, but pleasing nonetheless…

Screenshot for Pac-Pix on Nintendo DS

Being on the Nintendo DS, this is not exactly your usual type of game (unlike a few of the release games that were clearly just GBA titles fudged onto the system). The D-pad is not used and neither are the action buttons – everything revolves around the use of the touch-screen and the fact that the system has two screens for the action to take place on. This leads to some very interesting aspects being thrown up, with gamers not only having to reply on their quick reactions, but their ability to draw things properly at high speeds.

When the game begins you are shown a quick demonstration of how to draw the little yellow fellow – by drawing his mouth first, then his body and finishing back off at the start. But that is not all there is to it, because depending on where you start drawing his mouth from will determine the direction in which he starts chomping toward. His size is also very important, with the smaller versions flying around the screen at high speeds and larger ones slowly plodding around. Each has advantages and drawbacks, with the faster ones able to catch quick ghosts, but being more difficult to control and the larger ones too slow, but able to eat many things at once.

That is not all you can do with Pac-Man, though, as you can drag him back slightly by tapping him and pulling back, hold him still by keeping the stylus pressed on the screen or keep Pac-Man from disappearing off screen into the ether by drawing lines, which he follows obediently. Later in the game you obtain the ability to draw arrows that shoot off to the top screen and can pop enemies trapped in bubbles or stun ghosts. In addition, you can draw bombs even later in the game! So there is a definite amount of variety thrown in by Namco. It is not all wacca-wacca-wacca…

Screenshot for Pac-Pix on Nintendo DS

And these various drawings all come into play on certain levels, meaning that some real thought has to go into clearing the screen. For example, you can open up a path around the top of the screen by making Pac-Man move over a keypad on the lower screen and not only are there extra lives, enemies to kill and fruity bonuses to collect up there, but the area acts as a nice little delay tactic whilst you draw arrows to pop enemies at the very top. Rather than letting Pac-Man die each time you draw an arrow, quickly send him on a trek whilst you do your art-work! It is tactics like this, as well as drawing multiple Pac-Men when necessary that make the whole game so much fun. It is testament to Namco’s talent that it was able to transform such a small demo into this brilliantly addictive title!

Straight out of the box you might think Pac-Pix to not be the long lasting, fulfilling adventure that it should be for its price. However, despite the lack of multiplayer and just an initial ten stages, you will find that there is quite a lot to complete overall. Each of the ten stages is broken down into ‘pages’ that must be cleared, first of all by just drawing Pac-Man, then by using arrows as well, and finally bombs. All of this must be done without exhausting the amount of ‘magic ink’ (lives) you have from the start or letting the timer run down to zero. Levels begin innocent enough, but very soon become stress-filled and so tricky that you will have barely seconds left on the clock (if any at all, resulting in yet another death...). Getting through to the credits of Pac-Pix will be one hell of a challenge, but ultimately a very worthwhile one.

Screenshot for Pac-Pix on Nintendo DS

Cubed3 Rating

Rated 8 out of 10

Great - Silver Award

Rated 8 out of 10

After what was merely a technical demo of the Nintendo DS' capabilities back at E3 2004, Namco has transformed Pac-Pix into a fully fledged game that is well worth buying. Kudos indeed!









C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  9/10 (5 Votes)

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


I'm surprised to see this getting the good reviews it has been getting. I'm still reluctant to get it because I'm worried about the challenge and lasting appeal of it all, but I might be swayed if good reviews keep coming through. Good work!

Great review Adam, I'll certainly pick this up when I;ve finished with my launch titles :Smilie

Barry Lewis [ nin10do :: General Writer :: Feature Writer :: Fountain of Industry Statistics ]
"We're mentalist psychic Scots, which means we can read your mind. If you're lying, your head explodes and we laugh."

I'll be picking this up when I get my DS after the exams, that's for sure!

Im planning on getting it if i can find it cheaper than

XBL Gamertag: James2t3

Thing is this one completely caught me off guard. I didn't expect it to be anything too special, but it is a real treat!

Adam Riley [ Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited ]
Watch Adam on the BBC! | K-Pop Korner FB Page | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter

Isn't it supposed to be in the

It's RRP over here is unfortunately

Adam Riley [ Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited ]
Watch Adam on the BBC! | K-Pop Korner FB Page | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter

That's not very good at all, but take my advice - check out Asda. Zoo Keeper is on the

Some may find

I just saw an advert for this on the Nintendo sponsorship thing for FAQ U. Didn't realise it was out so soon!

Yeah, it's been sponsoring the Channel 4 comedy slot for a while now...I couldn't believe it! And yeah, I'm shocked at how Yoshi Touch & Go and this are both out so soon, with such little fanfare!

Adam Riley [ Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited ]
Watch Adam on the BBC! | K-Pop Korner FB Page | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter

Excellent review, definitely now one of my must get soon list.

Thanks D_G, I'm really hoping that Pac 'N Roll is just as good. Shame that Pac Man Pinball DS has been cancelled now, though!

Adam Riley [ Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited ]
Watch Adam on the BBC! | K-Pop Korner FB Page | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter

I have to pick this up in the summer, looks too cool to pass up.

It really has underperformed over here, though, which is a shame as it's been advertised heavily on TV! :roll:

Adam Riley [ Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited ]
Watch Adam on the BBC! | K-Pop Korner FB Page | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter

omg! you can draw a penis in the sketch book and it recognises it! Although sometimes it turns into a rain cloud.

XBL Gamertag: James2t3

Well there you go...what better reason to buy it?!

Hehe Smilie

By the way, you can draw a simple butterfly and a snake as well...

Adam Riley [ Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited ]
Watch Adam on the BBC! | K-Pop Korner FB Page | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter

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