Pac-Man Championship Edition DX (iOS) Hands-On/Interview – NYCC 2014

Pac-Man CE DX

At the Namco booth over at NYCC, I had the opportunity to interview Benjamin Acevedo, the producer for the upcoming Pac-Man Championship Edition DX for iOS and Android. During my time checking out the hands-on demo he showcased, he showed that everything fans loved about the console edition released back in 2010 would translate perfectly to iOS. All the original game and audio files are 100% intact, assuring fans won’t get a gimped out version of the game.

While showing the demo, there were some notable additions that add to the quicker pickup-and-play nature of the game while on-the-go. There is an entire world map, filled with specific stipulations that must be completed to advance to the next level. Within those are also Challenge Stages that will provide much more difficult objectives to complete for a level. When the game was running on-screen (displayed on an iPad mini), it looked stunning. The visuals are just as smooth and vibrant as they are on consoles and the swipe controls look incredibly responsive.

The big surprise about the upcoming release was the fact that it’s going to be a free-to-play title for everyone. Pac-Man is approaching his 35th anniversary this March and the folks over at Namco wanted to really get the ball rolling by starting to celebrate the iconic video game character’s history. Naturally, with it being free-to-play, you can expect the fact that you have a set amount of lives to play and once you’re out, you’ll have to wait a bit before you can play again, unless of course you buy the “premium version” which Ben mentioned as an option. You could even use in-game coins to purchase higher capacities for lives and bombs (which were used to clear ghosts away from you if things got out of control). The game will have all the original modes and levels from the console edition, aside from the additions mentioned.

Ben also showed off a fun little Pac-Man title which recently released on iOS called Pac-Man Friends. This puts a fun twist on the Pac-Man formula having you control both Pac-Man and one of his friends simultaneously in a small stage where you must guide them both to safety. The interesting element was that every one of Pac-Man’s friends has a unique ability, whether it be one that’s invisible to ghosts, while another grows bigger after each pellet eaten. Each stage has 3 objectives to aim for, some of which will really challenge players tremendously.

Pac-Man Championship Edition DX is slated for release on the iOS and Android this December, so stay tuned! In the meantime, those who are interested in Pac-Man Friends can check that out on both iOS and Android devices right now. Feel free to also check the video showing off both games below.

Top 10 PSN/XBLA Downloadable Titles

Over the course of this console generation’s life-cycle, we’ve seen a ton of downloadable titles hit both the PlayStation Network and Xbox Live Arcade. Currently owning over 140 downloadable games available for both platforms, I’ve decided to sort through my catalog of titles and list which ones are entirely worth the purchase. It’s important to note that all the titles mentioned here are available for both the PSN and XBLA, no exclusives. Also, these are titles that were built with the downloadable format in mind, so no HD remakes/classics are included here. Here are my personal choices:

10) BloodRayne: Betrayal

Wayforward Technologies is very well known when it comes to having outstanding 2D visuals; full of color and insanely detailed frame-by-frame animation. Mainly known for their work on Shantae and Mighty Switch Force, BloodRayne: Betrayal provides gamers with an old-school, 2D action/platformer that will test the skills of any gamer. With precision style platforming and challenging gameplay, BloodRayne: Betrayal provides an experience and sense of satisfaction that replicates old-school gaming.

9) Braid

A combination of Mario platforming with Prince of Persia time-rewinding effects, Braid has you thinking to the point of migraines. Trying to solve some of the most bizarre yet ingenious puzzles, you will venture through six worlds, each trying to explain your character’s story of how he was taken away from his princess. With some of the most inventive mechanics, alongside a mind-blowing twist, Braid is one of those games that should not be passed up by any means.

8) Limbo

You wake up in a forest, notice that there’s no signs of life anywhere and everything’s black and white. With no tutorials presented at all, you take a few steps forward and your head gets decapitated from a bear trap that’s camouflaged in the game’s backdrop. Immediately, you know you’re in for something surreal. As you progress, you’ll approach a massive spider that blocks you path. With no combat to utilize what-so-ever, you’re forced to rely on the environment and wits as your way to fight back. Limbo is an incredibly eerie game that makes you curious as to what’s going on the more you play. It’s not only one of the creepier games available this generation, it’s also one of the most unique experiences available on the PSN and XBLA.

7) Hard Corps: Uprising

When it comes to “old-school, controller throwing, cursing repeatedly to your screen” frustration, Hard Corps: Uprising certainly excels in this scenario. However, any Contra fan knows that those games are practically as hardcore as it gets. Hard Corps: Uprising, developed by ARC System Works (known for Guilty Gear and Blazblue), was able to capture the Contra formula while adding it’s own enhancements to the mix. Upgradeable weapons, health, lives and abilities help make this a game that starts off absurdly hard and lets you work your way forward. Thankfully, not only is the traditional local co-op in place but there’s online co-op as well to share those memorable frustrating moments with a friend…or you can laugh at each other’s mistakes. Hard Corps: Uprising is a fast-paced, tough-as-nails 2D side-scroller that certainly tests your skills, but rewards you with a grand sense of satisfaction upon completing each level.

6) Castlevania: Harmony of Despair

Now, this game will be questionable for many except the Castlevania fans. Castlevania: Harmony of Despair lacks a proper tutorial for any new gamer to the series and doesn’t describe how certain attributes affect your character. However, as you learn the game’s mechanics and get a solid understanding for it, you’ll be hooked. Fans of the franchise will definitely get the most out of the game. Die-hard fans will pick up on all the franchise’s characters that are usable, all with their unique abilities. While the game has numerous DLC to invest in, it’s one of the few games that actually is worth it. Hell, one of the DLC’s lets you revisit the original Castlevania on the NES, full 8-bit sprites in tact. That’s just freakin’ awesome!

5) Bionic Commando Rearmed

A remake to one of the greatest games ever made, Bionic Commando Rearmed was an excellent homage to fans of the NES classic. A remixed soundtrack that infused the 8-bit tunes with some modern beats, solid controls and physics, and clean, colorful visuals all running at 60 fps are some noteworthy elements to mention here. Aside from that, the game also includes co-op play (even though it’s local only) so you can team up with a buddy during your playthrough. GRIN also went the extra mile and added a Challenge Mode in which you can try and perfect over 50 missions included here. These missions will test even the most skilled Bionic Commando fans. Overall, this is a classic remake done right.

4) Pac-Man Championship Edition DX

Who doesn’t love Pac-Man? Easily Namco’s best rendition of the iconic character, Pac-Man Championship Edition DX provides the most intense, fastest paced version of Pac-Man ever. Thanks to the neon-lit visuals and bumpin’ club-style remixes of Pac-Man tunes that will get your blood pumping, this is one game that you’ll be coming back too time and time again!

3) Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light

I’m not going to lie here, I was incredibly skeptical when Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light was announced. The thought of the game being a top-down view just sounded a bit odd for the series. However, I couldn’t have been more wrong when I got my hands on this game. Aside from camera adjust and co-op play, this was still a Tomb Raider game at its core. Clever puzzles, creative co-op mechanics, strong audio, impressive visuals and tight controls make this a downloadable title that can’t be missed!

2) Castle Crashers

The ultimate 4 player co-op beat-em-up available on both PSN and XBLA, Castle Crashers has you venturing to rescue the four princesses from the clutches of the evil wizard. As you progress through the game’s campaign, you will be treated to a responsive and upgradable combat system, a wide variety of tunes ranging from quirky to epic, and some of the funniest humor in recent time of gaming. Come on, there’s a crap-propelled deer…enough said!

1) Outland

Housemarque’s first multiplatform title, Outland borrows a Metroidvania-style gameplay and meshes it together with Ikaruga’s polarity changing mechanics. Outland provides an unparalleled 2D platforming experience on the PSN/XBLA that I couldn’t recommend more. It’s an expertly crafted game combining terrific visuals, great soundtrack, fun co-op play, flawless gameplay mechanics and some really memorable and intense boss battles.

Have you played any of the titles mentioned above? If so, which ones were your favorites? Sound off in the comments below!

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