Combining new age game concepts with age old gaming icons can be a fun experiment, despite how easily fans of those icons may be angered. Pac-Man has already done his rounds in all sorts of genres he doesn’t belong in, from side-scrolling adventure games to platformers and more. Luckily, the match-three genre seems to be the perfect home that flapping, pellet chomping yellow puck, which is where PAC-CHOMP! comes in. He belongs in simple games, and no modern genre offers more arcade style simplicity and replayability than the monster Bejeweled created.
Pac-Man himself is a lonely piece on this game board. Matching three ghosts of the same color eliminates them, while eliminating four will cause a special power-up to spawn. If you can maneuver Pac-Man and these items to each other, all sorts of benefits will be activated. You can eliminate every ghost of a certain color, eliminate the columns and rows that Pac-Man acts as an intersection point to, and a few more. Eliminating five or more ghosts brings out a power pellet, which lets you take control of Pac-Man directly as you’re free to go anywhere on the board and eat anything. Eating other power-ups in this phase is worth an absurd amount of points, so don’t be afraid to chomp them down. All of this is a race against the clock, of course, as combos stave off the timer as well as increase your level.
If you’re looking for more of a challenge, Hardcore mode is the same as Normal mode, but with a faster countdown timer. Scramble mode gives you a fixed time limit and asks you to get as many points as possible, and there’s a more easy going endless mode if you just want to relax and play. Every time you level up in any mode, the board is rearranged and Pac-Man spawns elsewhere. I don’t know if it was just my horrid luck, but Pac-Man almost always seemed to spawn in a side or corner. If that happens to you, you can always rotate entire sections of the board by hitting their corresponding buttons. This adds another fun strategic element to keeping the game alive.
The visuals are colorful and, well, exactly what you’d expect from a Pac-Man game. It’s not totally optimized for tablets, so ignore the slight fuzziness of my game screen. The game is listed as free, but that’s just a sample, of course. If you want to unlock Normal mode past level six along with every other mode, you’ll have to drop four dollars. Honestly, I’m not sure this game does enough differently from other match-three classics to be worth four dollars. It feels kind of like Namco expecting you to pay more just because an iconic game character is featured here. You should definitely check out the free sample and judge that for yourself though. This is a solid match-three title, and hearing remixed Pac-Man music is always fun.
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