Initial Thoughts: Pac-Man & Galaga Dimensions

Pac-Man & Galaga Dimensions for the Nintendo 3DS is upon us, and not a moment too soon. It’s no secret that the 3DS has been struggling in terms of sales, and that is no doubt partly due to the shortage of quality games for the system. Namco Bandai is trying to remedy this situation with Dimensions and it’s six-games-in-one deal. Pac-Man is great, Galaga is great, now how to they fair together?

Some of the games available in the package

Pac-Man & Galaga Dimensions packs six games into one: 3 from the Pac-Man franchise and 3 from the Galaga franchise. There are only two entirely new games in the package: Pac-Man Tilt and Galaga 3D Impact. The other games to round out the package are the classic arcade ports of Pac-Man and Galaga, as well as the Xbox Live versions of Pac-Man Championship Edition and Galaga Legions. Overall this makes for a nice package because the four old games are all fantastic in and of themselves, and the two new ones have some merit as well.

Each classic game lets you choose which arcade cabinet to play on

Let’s discuss Pac-Man first. The original arcade port is flawless, but it damn well better be. The game’s been ported to just about every conceivable device in recent memory. A nice touch is being able to pick which arcade cabinet to play on. It’s just aesthetics, but it’s a good addition. The better part of the Pac-Man deal is Championship Edition. A faithful recreation of the Xbox title, CE features faster gameplay, a variety of mazes, smarter ghosts, different play modes, and a ton more fun. This is the game I find myself playing most, as it has that “Just one more try” feeling attached to it. It’s also pretty hard: I’ve yet to beat all the challenge modes because their just that: Challenging! Rounding out the Pac-Package is Pac-Man Tilt, which utilizes the 3DS gyro sensors to interact with the environment. Tilt is a platformer that reminds me a lot of the old Sonic games on the Sega Genesis. Stages will have you tilting the 3DS side to side in order to affect the world Pac-Man is in. Tilting the game one direction will cause Pac-Man to fun faster or jump further, creating a sort of physics puzzler. It’s fun but drastically different than what Pac-Man is all about in my opinion. That being said, I like seeing the new use of motion controls in handheld platforming. This could be something we likely see in other games on the system.

Pac-Man Tilt in action

The Galaga side of things are pretty similar. Arcade ports of Galaga are here much like the Pac-Man ones. Galaga Legions, which makes the jump from the Xbox as well, is also present. This is probably the better of the three Galaga games as well, and for many reasons Championship Edition is the better of the Pac-Man games. Legions is faster, more frantic, and a lot more fun than the other versions. I think it speaks for what the current audience wants (or at least what I want) in games: Faster, more visually stunning experiences. The last game here is the new Galaga 3d Impact which, as the title suggests, supports the 3DS’s 3D capabilities. 3D Impact is a first-person on-rails shooter that sees you in the cockpit of one of the ships from the Galaga games as you blast down insect enemies. You’ll have to use the 3DS’s gyroscope to actually move around the screen at see enemies (Much like you’d do in Ocarina of Time 3D to aim your slingshot/bow). The only problem here is the game fails to be fun: Things move too slow, and aren’t as thrilling as they should be. While later levels do feature more frantic waves of enemies, it’s still a tedious and average shooter.

The 3D-Excitement that is Galaga 3D Impact

There are some good elements here to justify a purchase. Six games is a good deal, and two arcade classics combined with two better action games is nice. A set of achievements is available for each game, enticing you to play just one more game in order to eat the Key, or shoot the dragonflies. The main point here is that Pac-Man & Galaga Dimensions offers up a good gameplay experience, but nothing new or worthwhile. If you’ve never played ANY Pac-Man or Galaga game then yeah, this is a great way to experience everything, but otherwise there’s not much to tempt return players. And I have to get this out of the way now, because we all know it’s not the case but we may wish it to be… Seeing the title of this game, wouldn’t it be killer to see a Pac-Man/Galaga game that combines the elements and characters of both franchises? The Galaga ships taking out the Pac-Man ghosts while Pac-Man has to navigate the mosterships of the insectoid Galaga foes? I know, it’s hokey and lame, but that would be out of left field. I guarantee no one would have expected that. Maybe next time…


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I've been writing about video games for years and playing them even longer. You'll find me playing all types of games, old and new. Mega Man III is greater than Mega Man II.

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