Pac-Man for iPhone Review: Is the Price Tag Worth the Retro Arcade Fun?

The Gaming Museum

The American obsession with classic videogames has persisted since they were the main focal point of irresponsible spending. Games like Centipede and Asteroid have become staples of modern entertainment and have been repackaged and sold through every generation of consoles and players. Now with the iPhone we get to have the same creative effort forced back on us, somehow pretending that a minor innovation makes up for the fact that you have likely played this game more than you have attended church. Welcome to Pac-Man on the iPhone.


I will save the brief explanation because it seems a little more than redundant to explain the basic premise of Pac-Man. Suffice to say, there is a small head that looks like it is suffering liver failure while eating white dots and running from multi-cultural ghosts. The only thing that really sets it apart is that you are really given a number of options for control in the area. This means that you get a d-pad on the touch screen, a joystick, or you can move the entire phone around to control Pac-Man’s direction. You get various levels of difficulty and there are a sufficient amount of options to let you customize the game to your changing preferences.


The problem with this Pac-Man port is not anything that was done to it, but really what wasn’t done. The graphics are not updated at all, which is a change from most recent Pac-Man renditions which use a pseudo post-modern template that gives the two-dimensional characters a three-dimensional action space. There are no gaming options that wouldn’t be on your average arcade machine, which is the very point of home gaming. More than this the touch screen is not very responsive to movement. The d-pad and joystick work alright, but you may have to make several stabs at it before you actually get the movement you want. Simply moving the phone around will get you almost no where unless you are shaking it with extra dramatics.

Bottom Line

If you love Pac-Man you will probably be satisfied with the product that you end up with. It is not the worst game available for the iPhone and iPod Touch, but for $2.99 I do expect a little more. If it was dialed down to the two or three dollar mark it would be much more justifiable for casual players. There is a trial mode so you can try that out, but it has to be one of the more annoying free versions packed with constant reminders that Namco has games for sale. Three and a half stars out of ten.

This post is part of the series: Application Reviews

A series of reviews for common iPhone applications.
  1. Where Are You? – Loopt
  2. Name That Song – Shazam
  3. Getting Internet and Tech News with Net News Wire for the iPhone
  4. Review of the Facebook App for the iPhone
  5. BrainTuner: A Brain Teaser in Mediocrity
  6. Review of the Remote iPhone Application
  7. Have a Drink on Your iPhone Using the iPint App
  8. The Complete Works of Shakespeare
  9. Pocket Reference
  10. An In-Depth Review of Mobile News for the iPhone
  11. Smack A Toon Lite: A Mild Amusement
  12. QuickSend
  13. Smiling Rage: Expando Review
  14. Taking it Old School: Arcade Hoops Review
  15. Darts App Review: Skip the Bar and Throw Darts on Your iPhone
  16. Is the Pac-Man iPhone Game Worth the Money?
  17. Professor of Drinkology
  18. Finding the Network: The WiFinder Review
  19. Time in the Night: Night Stand Review
  20. Tube Time: i.TV Review
  21. Going International: Daily Planet Review
  22. Measuring the Swell: Surf Report Review
  23. iBoredom: Tic Tac Free
  24. Spiritual Warfare: Tap Defense Review
  25. Find Your Way Through Mazes with the Labyrinth iPhone Game
  26. Free Recipes on Your iPhone: Big Oven App Review
  27. Stanza for iPhone Review: Find Another eBook App
  28. A Drawing Pad for Your iPhone: Scribble Review