Classic gameplay;, trippy 3D visuals
Tiring tilt controls
Chances are if you like classic arcade games, you like Pac-Man or Galaga. Or, more likely, both of them. The two have been near-synonymous when thinking of classic arcade action, and perhaps quite appropriately, they have also both been ported to numerous gaming consoles and handhelds over the past three decades. With Pac-Man & Galaga Dimensions for Nintendo 3DS, both of these great games are bundled together in one Game Card– and that’s just the start of the package.
Pac-Man & Galaga Dimensions is actually six different games in one. In addition to the original Galaga and Pac-Man arcade games, the collection also includes the vastly successful and critically-acclaimed updates to the franchise, Pac-Man Championship Edition and Galaga Legions. To top off the pack, the collection also includes two all-new games, Pac-Man Tilt and Galaga Impact.
The last two are the stars of the collection, and both use the 3DS features in different ways, although both are in 3D, of course– as are the remainder of the games in the collection. Pac-Man Tilt revolves around the classic gaming icon going through side-scrolling levels while trying to munch dots, fruits, and chomp the famous ghost-monsters. The character designs here are based off the 3D Pac-Man television pilot (the promo is also included as a bonus video, in full 3D) and are the same also seen in Pac-Man Party.
The gist of the game is taking Pac-Man through pinball-like obstacle courses, but the hook is that the tilt sensor comes into play. Tilting the system one way or the other lets Pac-Man roll easily towards the goal or stuggle against gravity, and other obstacles throughout each level will also react accordingly. Each level can be attempted repeatedly to get a higher score, and higher levels must be unlocked by achieving a certain score in earlier ones. The game itself is an acceptable platformer, but the whole tilt aspect starts to feel cumbersome after a while, and the tilt sensor doesn’t always re-center, meaning you’d eventually have to tilt the system even further than normal to get it to respond.
Meanwhile, Galaga Impact more closely resembles the first-person segments of Steel Diver. The game is a flight simulator played almost completely from a first-person perspective. It’s handy to be able to re-center the camera by holding a button, but one of the drawbacks of the control style is that it’s difficult to play if you aren’t sitting at a right angle moving your head exactly with the motion of the screen– if not, the 3D effect is marred. Pac-Man Tilt probably comes off as the better game of the two, partially because it’s difficult to play Galaga Impact for longer sessions.
Meanwhile, both Pac-Man CE and Galaga Legions are proven games that have been out for a few years, both with full 3D graphics. In fact, it’s a little surprising how much the 3D enhances both games, possibly because in each case, the visuals were fairly trippy in the first place. While it’s possible that you aren’t getting anything new here, if you’ve played only one– or neither– of the games before, that definitely increases the attractiveness of this collection, and the addition of 3DS-exclusive online leaderboards can enhance the experience as well. These leaderboards are available as well for the classic arcade games, just in case you were wondering how your top Pac-Man score measures up against other 3DS owners.
Overall, there are some really solid games out of the six games on this compilation, and even though the newest additions may not be as classic as the games from whence they came, they are still interesting twists on a tried-and-true gaming formula. Plus, this is currently the only way to play them in 3D. For people who are fans of Galaga or Pac-Man, this game is definitely one to consider.
Nintendojo was provided a copy of this game for review by a third party, though that does not affect our recommendation. For every review, Nintendojo uses a standard criteria.