Namco is reviving two of its most memorable arcade hits—Pac-Man and Galaga—for the Nintendo 3DS, tapping into some of the system's most unique features, its gyroscopic tilt control and glasses-free stereoscopic 3D. They may take some getting used to.
Both games, Pac-Man Tilt and Galaga 3D Impact, are part of the same package, Pac-Man & Galaga Dimensions, coming to the Nintendo 3DS later this year. Maybe they'll be great. Maybe they'll be interesting curiosities. They definitely smack of first attempts to coming to grips with new control schemes.
The former is a gyroscope-controlled Pac-Man game set in a rainbow-colored world a la Pac-Man Championship Edition, arguably the greatest spin on the dot-chomping, ghost-eating formula. The latter, a Galaga from first-person, Namco describes as a "mash-up of arcade shooter and virtual reality," seemingly requiring the big sweeping movements to play, as illustrated in images released to Famitsu.com.
They may represent inventive uses of the Nintendo 3DS hardware, but like one of the first Pac-Man efforts for the Nintendo DS, the quirky, draw your own Pac-Man game Pac-Pix, may also be indicative of the early growing pains of development for a new system.
Not to say that 2005's Pac-Pix was a bad game or the type of unusual effort we don't want to see on the Nintendo 3DS. But I may be saying that trying to retain a stereoscopic 3D focus on the Nintendo 3DS's top screen while swinging the handheld wildly may represent a disconnect between capitalizing on the unique capabilities of the 3DS and delivering something we'd want to play in public, on a plane or on a subway car.
Granted, I did play my share of WarioWare Twisted on the Game Boy Advance, without public shame and without too much difficulty, on bumpy bus and subway rides. And I liked it. But now I have visions of safety warnings and Nintendo 3DS injuries. Perhaps I'm also worried that the sky is falling.
Namco does appear to be taking some interesting liberties with its most venerable franchises, giving Pac-Man new powers and turning Galaga into an on-rails space shooter—while also resetting expectations for Ridge Racer and Ace Combat—so consider me interested in their experimentation.
With the handheld contest on the cusp of new tilt-controlled, reverse touchscreen-controlled and augmented reality-equipped games coming, perhaps a bit awkwardly at first, these are exciting, unfamiliar times. I'm looking forward to these platforms, the Nintendo 3DS and NGP, maturing along with their games.