PAC-CHOMP! : Pacman and Bejeweled fuse into a challenging puzzler
Everybody’s favourite bright yellow “pizza missing a slice” shaped video game character rears its head (and body I guess) again. In this instalment it’s taken the gameplay of typical match-three puzzle games and added a unique Pacman twist to it. Read on to see what we at Android Games Review thought of it.
Gameplay: PAC-CHOMP! will be instantly familiar to anyone who has played any of the Bejeweled games and its clones. The idea is to match any three or more ghosts of the same color to make them disappear, thus giving you more points and charging up the time gauge. The time gauge depletes over time (duh!) and you progress to the next level if you fully charge it up, conversely if the gauge completely empties it will be lights out for our round friend. The unique twist comes about when you match four or more ghosties. If four ghosts are matched then they not only disappear but they merge together to form a special item. These items can be collected by Pacman to assist you in clearing the level. Notable items include the Rainbow Cross which clears all the ghosts and activates items that are on the same column and row. This can be quite satisfying if you manage to chain activate a series of items. The Color Bomb is also very useful as it clears the screen of any ghosts of a particular color.
The best item appears however when you match five ghosts, luckily with this match they don’t need to be in a straight line, an L or T shape is also acceptable. With this a Power Pellet is formed, tying in gameplay elements of the classic Pacman, eating this will cause you to enter a bonus stage where all the ghosts turn blue and edible (feeling hungry anyone?). You can then use swipe controls, which disappointedly felt broken, to eat all the ghosts. Care needs to be taken into not eating other items since in this mode they cannot be activated.
Another refreshing feature of PAC-CHOMP! is the rotation ability where you can rotate the four corner 5 by 5 blocks in order to assist you in matching ghosts. This was a little difficult to get used to as I found myself spending time to see where the boundaries of of the blocks were. Luckily you are not penalised for using the rotate feature in the early levels. It would have been nice to be able to rotate anti-clockwise also as I found often I wanted to undo a particular rotation.
Game modes include normal, hardcore, scramble and endless. Hardcore mode features a faster depleting time gauge, scramble challenges you to achieve as high score as possible in 60 seconds and endless has an infinite time gauge allowing you to play as long as you want. Unfortunately none of these game modes add anything particularly different to the gameplay that normal mode didn’t have already.
The overall presentation is solid, as what you would expect from the great Namco. The Pacman look and feel works well coupled with the retro music and sound effects makes a good gameplay experience. However after having played Pacman Championship I cannot help but feel that Chomp is missing that extra slickness that made Championship so grossly satisfying. The game just feels a little slow and jumpy in comparison which is a real shame.
Verdict: 3/5 Packed (no pun intended) with classic looking visuals with a refreshing twist on the color matching gameplay, PAC-CHOMP! is definitely worth checking out for puzzle fans. A welcome addition to the Pacman series.
PAC-CHOMP! Promotional Youtube Video