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Pac Match Party Review: Bejeweled gets Pac-Man-ed

The first thing that made me smile about this game is the price.  Namco has finally (hopefully) woken up and smelled the coffee to realize what iPhone gamers want: a reasonable price and reasonable content.  But from there, it doesn’t seem to get much better.  Pac Match Party is definitely a competent match-3 game, but like I mentioned before, I’m tired of playing match-3.  And from the things I see here, it doesn’t seem to offer anything jaw-droppingly different from Bejeweled 2.

Likes

Pac-man implements: I thought the timer for Pac-man was pretty clever, and eating the cake was also quite the idea.  Yes, the ghosts and stuff are cool, but the timer for some reason had me interested and partly wowed with the sheer amount of cleverness.  It may not be that clever to some, but to me, it has fascinated.

Not bad: Pac Match Party is just for anyone who likes to play match-3s and isn’t tired of them.  It has all its basics right, and the game is not too bad at all.  It’s okay for anyone just wanting to play a little match-3 here and there, but for those who already own Bejeweled, it’s hard to recommend.

The price is right: I normally don’t put this as a like for any game, but this is probably one of Namco’s first times pricing a game right.  No DLC, no “buy the game for $4.99 for one map and track”, nothing like that.  It’s a straightforward $1.99 for average content and average gameplay.  I’m just so surprised by this that I can’t help but listing this as a like.

Dislikes

Originality: There’s nothing really new other than the ingenuous timer implemented into the game.  It’s a basic match-3 with some powerups here and there, but other than that, it’s the same thing as Bejeweled 2.  And it’s so simple that it’s hard to recommend for being original.

Polish: Namco is a large company, and they became a large company for a reason.  But for some reason, Pac Match Party is lacking a lot in the design department.  The menu buttons are somewhat small, the ghost models look horrible, and the backgrounds are sparse.  It looks as a one-man team created this game, and it’s definitely one that needs a lot more polish to it.  I hate to use the word “polish”, but it just seems to be so appropriate here.

Pac Match Party is an okay game, but it’s definitely far from being the best.  The match-3 mechanics, in my opinion, are quite simple and a bit too unoriginal for my tastes.  The design is also an area I would like to see improve, although I highly doubt Namco will update any of the graphics or artwork.  Still, Pac Match Party may be worth a look for those looking for a quick pick up and play game.

Pac Match Party was developed by Namco, and I played through version 1.0 on my iPhone 3GS.  The price is $1.99.




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