A little over a year ago, in the App Store's youth, Namco provided some of the first big name iPhone game titles with their release of rather faithful ports of Pac-Man [App Store] and Ms. Pac-Man [App Store] for the iPhone. They quite recently followed these titles up with the release of Pac-Man Remix [$5.99], featuring modern graphics and enhanced gameplay.
Pac-Man Remix is indeed Pac-Man at its core, but features various enhancements that add variety to the well-known formula. Aside from the standard maze full of dots and power-pellets, there are power-ups that enable things such as an invincible, mirror image Pac-Man ghost that helps with the dot chomping and the ability to jump over pesky, travelling arcs of electricity (a new hazard). Many of the mazes are dual-height, with elevators and transporter pads providing access to the upper and lower areas. What's more, at the end of each stage is a boss showdown that demands dodging skills beyond those called upon in the standard mazes of dots. Animated cut-scenes between certain levels help illustrate play technique.
The game offers two methods of touchscreen control. The swipe-anywhere technique introduced in the earlier Pac-Man for iPhone is available and works better, but still not ideal. Alternatively, an onscreen directional button control mode is offered, but the layout is a bit awkward. I'm guessing it will see little use.
Pac-Man Remix succeeds in delivering a colorful new take on the original Pac-Man formula, but what concerns me is the challenge that the game provides. I began playing it on the default 'Normal' difficulty setting and got through all six stages in just over an hour. The 'Hard' setting adds to the challenge, but the game just feels too easy -- far easier than either Pac-Man or Ms. Pac-Man. And that certainly doesn't have you coming back for more. It's an official Pac-Man license from Namco, and that's a notable mark in the iPhone's repertoire, but at $5.99 -- big name license or no -- the game should provide more than an hour's playtime.
My recommendation on this one is to take a good look at the gameplay video to get a feel for the title and be quite aware that you're in for a short-lived gameplay experience, going in. My guess is that only true, die-hard Pac-Man fans could find Pac-Man Remix a sound value. The casual Pac-Man fan looking for a modern take on the formula may want to wait for the upcoming iPhone adaptaiton of the highly rated XBLA title Pac-Man Championship Edition.
App Store Link: Pac-Man Remix, $5.99