Last week Namco Bandai Games held their inaugural Ignite event in which they invite members of the media from all over the world to get a sneak peek at some of their planned gaming lineup for the year. Unfortunately, most of the juicy stuff was on the home console side of things, but there were still some noteworthy tidbits that are coming up for the iOS platform. Here's a quick roundup of everything from that event, click any of the following images to enlarge.
Pac-Man Valentine’s skin and Ms. Pac-Man for iPad - Just in time for Valentine’s Day comes a Valentine’s skin for Pac-Man. If you are a fan of pink and red, and like hearts littered throughout your UI, then you have a lot to be excited about for this upcoming update. Though it doesn't offer anything different functionality-wise, it is kind of nice to have an alternate color scheme for this classic game. Also, Namco announced that Ms. Pac-Man would be making her way to the iPad this year. There’s not really any information for this just yet, nor are there any screens, but I’d imagine it will pretty much be similar to the iPad edition of Pac-Man.
Ridge Racer Accelerated HD - iPad owners will soon be able to get their Ridge Racer on in an upcoming native version of the classic arcade racing franchise. This is essentially the iPhone version with everything scaled up for the larger screen, as content-wise the two games appear to be identical. It does look rather nice though in the higher resolution.
I was able to try out the game, and everything seems just about as good as it did in 2009 on the iPhone. If you enjoyed that version but have been itching to have this game on your iPad, then Ridge Racer Accelerated HD should satisfy. One interesting aspect to this release is that it will launch for free with limited content, and you’ll have the ability to unlock the full version through a one time in-app purchase.
Puzzle Quest 2 - One pretty exciting announcement at Ignite is that Puzzle Quest 2 will be receiving a shiny new coat of Retina Display compatibility for devices that support that as well as online multiplayer through Game Center. While I like when games are updated with Retina Display support as much as the next guy, the prospect of online multiplayer in one of the top RPG-style puzzle games is more than enough to get me excited. These additions to Puzzle Quest 2 should be hitting as a free update to the game within the next month or so.
TNA Impact! - If you’re a fan of pro wrestling, there really isn’t a solid option for you on iOS. Hopefully that will change with the release of TNA Impact! I was able to give the game a try on both iPhone and iPad, and it appears like it will deliver a decent game of wrestling. It features a ton of different TNA characters as well as a fairly robust create-a-wrestler mode. There’s also all the pre-match and backstage banter between characters that you would expect, as well as the flashy ring intros and high-flying maneuvers.
What I liked about TNA Impact! is that it didn’t try and stray too far from a traditional wrestling game. Simple virtual buttons and an analog stick allow you to perform your suite of maneuvers, and it all seems to work really well. Plus, most importantly, it was a lot of fun. The one area where the game failed to impress is the visuals, with blocky and low-detail character models, though the iPad version does look a good deal better than its smaller screened counterpart. I’ll be interested to see if there's improvement in this area at all before release. One very intriguing aspect though is multiplayer, with your usual options for local play but also online multiplayer through Game Center. We’ll see how this all plays out when TNA Impact! launches this Spring.