As we mentioned late last month, everybody's favorite little yellow dot-eating friend just turned 30. Namco marked the occasion with a sale on most of their App Store PAC-MAN titles. Earlier this month the studio further celebrated the occasion with the release of PAC-Match Party for the iPhone [App Store], a PAC-MAN themed match-three title. This weekend an iPad version of the game, PAC-Match Party HD [App Store] landed in the App Store.

Now, if I had a nickel for every match-three title in the App Store, well, I'd have quite a few nickels. But PAC-Match Party stands out from the crowd thanks to a few nice innovations -- and it's not just the retro gamer nut in me, giddy about the PAC-MAN tile set and spacey retro soundtrack. No, it's a pretty solid game, retro aside -- as far as match-threes go.

Being a match-three title, the core mechanic is swapping tiles on the playfield to line up three-of-a-kind eliminations. But the whole thing is set against a ghost chasing PAC-MAN in the playfield border. Every match causes PAC-MAN to gobble a dot and move one space away from the ghost in pursuit. It's just a fancy way to present a timed match, but it's nicely done. What's more, a column of bonus tokens appears to the right of the playfield that, when tapped, performs certain power moves such as a row + column elimination and a sort of ghost attack.

The iPhone version of the game features a 5x8 play grid, while the iPad version sports a 10x8 arrangement, taking advantage of the device's larger display.

My only real complaint about the title is that, when next-move hints are enabled, they appear after just five seconds of idle time. That's offering up the goods pretty quickly. They can be disabled, happily, but it would be nice if the wait period there were 2-3x longer.

Those wanting to get a feel for the title can check out the free, Flash-based web version that lives here.

TouchArcade Rating

  • Christian

    just wondering, as I was doing a bit of research about this title: anyone else experiencing problems on touch or phone with iOS 4? seems like the tile color changin feature is broken, deleted it, re-installed, alas, not working properly :o((

    • Alexis

      Exact same problem here. I was wondering if it was the recent update or iOS4 that broke it.

  • mgabrys

    strange - lots of iOS4 complaints on the product page in iTunes - does TA even consider these before sending people to their doom?

    • Christian

      well, we can only keep our fingers xrossed for a quick fix delivered by namco then, as overall, I thought the game was fun - it plays well even in standard version on the ipad, though on the touch, nada

    • Blake Patterson

      Granted I did most testing on the iPad under iOS 3.x, but have played it on the iPhone 4 under iOS4. It crashed once on the iPad, never on the iPhone. FYI.

  • Ben

    I'd buy it in a heartbeat except that they separate the iPod and iPad versions. Now I'll wait for the 0.99 sale.

  • Xurkey

    Have they added online leaderboards yet?

  • shadowy

    Loved this game until iOS4 came out. Since then, will not run right on my Touch. Either it crashes the OS, or when it does run it will get stuck on a stage because it will not sense that the cells have been cleared. The game update did not help at all.

    This makes the second Namco game that will not run on my Touch, had the same crash issues with the original Pac-Man game.

    • Cyggie

      Thank you everyone for the heads up. I was going to buy tonight. I'll wait for an update. I know it's not the only app with iOS4 issues so I'm sure an update will follow soon! Any comments on the gameplay?

  • Dan Dare

    It looks great on my iPad but it's so EASY. There is no difficulty level and after reaching level 6 without even trying I let myself get caught to see what it was like to die. Make this about 20 times harder and it would be awesome. At the moment it's just a "Watch the pretty colours" game.

  • Shibuya_109

    Hopefully this trend of needlessly splitting iPhone and iPad apps won't go on much longer, especially as the iPhone 4's screen resolution is pretty close to that of the iPad.

  • Owl Movement

    I'm a pac-man nut but I'll wait till this app is updated for iphone 4/iOS4

  • Angry Namco Game Buyer

    They updated pac-man but no other game Dig-Dug Remix or galaga DONT BY ANY NAMCO GAME till it is fixed Pacman is more important to Namco then other games

PAC-Match Party Reviewed by Blake Patterson on . Rating: 3