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Soon after the launch of the Nintendo DS in 2006, Namco released a couple of innovative Pac Man themed games Pac n' Roll and Pac Pix.
Platform games task you with getting from point A to point B. The world you journey through is usually level based, and populated with enemies, switches and lifts to be negotiated. As you work through each level you pick up various collectables that accrue score, special abilities and access to hidden areas.
Pac n' Roll provides a unique way to control your character. The spherical Pac Man rolls rather than walks around the place - something that you control by simply stroking the stylus across the touch screen in the appropriate direction. You can also stop him rolling down hills by pressing and holding your stylus on the screen.
The world you traverse is rendered in 3D, and presents all sorts of jumps, ghosts, ramps and bridges - all drawn from the Pac Man universe. The levels have had a lot of attention to detail and need to be played multiple times to find every last secret. An example of a hidden extra is the full version of the classic Pac Man arcade game that can be unlocked.
The game uses some basic concepts to provide an innovative and engaging experience, something all the more impressive as it was released when the DS was in its infancy. Those who remember Marble Madness back in the mid 80's will instantly be at home with Pac 'n Roll's fixed perspective ball-rolling platform experience.
Although the levels are relatively short, this is a game that needs more than five minute sessions to get the most out of it. It is only when time is taken to explore and enjoy replaying levels that it starts to shine.
The simple control method makes this one of the best games for very young players. Even children as young as four shouldn't have a problem controlling this game. As you progress the difficulty does ramp up quite quickly meaning that only expert players are likely to complete it.
The game sticks to its Pac Man roots throughout which means it steers clear of any mentionable themes although it is worth comment that our five year old found the ghost attacks a little scary.
With so many different perspectives it can be hard to know where to start - a little like walking into a crowded pub. Sorry about that.
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