Pac-Man & Galaga Dimensions includes some great games, but that's not enough to make it a great compilation.
- Includes two timeless arcade classics
- Pac-Man: CE and Galaga Legions are great.
- Do we really need another release of Pac-Man or Galaga?
- Not the best versions of Pac-Man: CE or Galaga Legions
- The two brand new games aren't much fun.
Pac-Man & Galaga Dimensions offers something old and something new. This anthology includes six games, the oldest of which hit arcades in 1980 and the newest of which are available here for the first time. Unfortunately, the two brand-new games fail to live up to the high standard set by their esteemed predecessors. And as rightfully beloved as the oldest games here are, it's unlikely that you're craving yet another release of those widely available classics. Pac-Man: Championship Edition and Galaga Legions round out this package, and they're exciting updates of the games that inspired them, but this isn't the best way to play them, and as great as they are, they can't justify this compilation's full price.
Spearheading this collection are two entirely new games. Galaga 3D Impact is an on-rails shooter in which you look out from the cockpit of a space fighter, blasting insect formations and stage bosses from a first-person view. You control the game by physically moving the 3DS up, down, left, and right to get enemies in your sights. You can also use the circle pad, but you can't move the reticle around quite as quickly this way, so it's not as effective. In addition to your standard lasers, you're equipped with a tractor beam, and by using it to capture enemies, you can gain new abilities or increase the power of existing ones. Eventually, you might have a force field, a bomb, a missile, and the ability to freeze enemies for a short time, provided you capture the requisite enemies to acquire each power.
Galaga 3D Impact's first-person perspective offers the most dramatic use of 3D in Dimensions, but the gameplay isn't quite as impactful. For much of its brief duration, Impact moves at a leisurely pace. A wave of enemies slowly soars across the screen; you blast them and wait for the next wave to appear. Your ship might be doing exciting things like flying through narrow canyons, but this all happens automatically. The novelty of its control scheme and visuals wear off quickly, and the gameplay isn't compelling enough to make this a game worth returning to time and again. The prospect of returning to it is made less attractive by the fact that you need to start at the beginning each time you come back to it. Each of its five stages only takes four or five minutes to complete, but some moments, like the boss of the third stage, can be a bit tough to overcome. The fact that you can't, say, back out to the menu from stage four of Impact to play some Pac-Man and then come back later to resume your quest from where you left off is a shame.
Pac-Man Tilt is a 2D side-scrolling platformer in which Pac-Man must jump and roll his way through a series of stages. Pac-Man isn't capable of leaping up to each ledge and over every chasm on his own, though. Navigating these stages requires you to not only control Pac-Man directly, but also to tilt the 3DS left and right, tilting the in-game world as you do so. Unfortunately, this mechanic never feels good or natural. You eventually adjust to using gravity to pull Pac-Man in whichever direction is currently down, but you never enjoy it. And when you drift into deadly hazards or fall into oblivion for the umpteenth time during the game's infuriatingly difficult final levels, you'll wish direct control of Pac-Man was enough to traverse these stages. Unfortunately, though, Pac-Man isn't fun to control either. On foot, his movement is sluggish. He can roll up into a ball, which lets him build up speed when rolling down inclines or be knocked around like a pinball, but the level design rarely makes good use of Pac-Man's speedy potential. You spend more time riding on slow-moving platforms and tilting cannonballs onto switches than hurtling through levels or doing anything similarly exciting.
The visuals are cheery but charmless, like an unconvincing clown at a birthday party. Obnoxiously happy, repetitive music makes this world even less enticing; meanwhile, the sound effect Pac-Man makes when you screw up, which makes it sound like he has a mild stomachache rather than like he just, say, walked into an electrical barrier, doesn't make this particular incarnation of the character the least bit endearing. If you're prone to motion sickness, you may find the experience even more unpleasant. The way background objects like castle towers tilt to remain upright independent of the foreground as you tilt the 3DS can be unsettling if you have a sensitive sense of equilibrium.
Also included are the original arcade versions of Pac-Man and Galaga. These games are timeless, and their faithful emulations here will evoke memories of pumping quarters into machines for anyone old enough to have had the experience. These games are charming reminders of the best the early years of video arcades had to offer; the colorful star field in the background of Galaga and the wokka-wokka sound effect Pac-Man makes as he gobbles up dots are examples of details that time doesn't diminish. The option to frame the screen with actual arcade cabinet artwork enhances the sense of nostalgia, but it's the simple and challenging gameplay that makes these classics worth coming back to.
- Player Reviews: 2
- Game Universe:
- Ms. Pac-Man Maze Madness (PS, N64, DC, GBA),
- Pac-Man World 2 (PS2, GC, XBOX, PC, GBA),
- Pac-Man Fever (GC, PS2),
- Pac-Man World (PS, GBA),
- Pac-Man World 3 (PS2, PSP, XBOX, GC, PC, DS),
- Ms. Pac-Man (SMS, APL2, C64, 2600, 5200, 7800, GB, GEN, LYNX, NES, MOBILE, VC20, A800),
- Pac-Man (NGPC, APL2, GBC, INTV, C64, NES, 2600, 5200, GB, GG, ARC, MSX, A800, FDS, MOBILE, VC20, X360, X68, TI, AND),
- Pac-Man 2: The New Adventures (GEN, SNES),
- Pac-Mania (ARC, GEN, NES, SMS, AMI, MSX, X68),
- Pac-Man World Rally (XBOX, PS2, GC, PC, PSP)