Game Review: Pac-Man Pizza Parlor (PC)

The story goes that the creator of Pac-Man got the idea for the game by looking at a pizza with a slice cut out. So for his 30th Anniversary, Pac-Man is going back to his original roots with Pac-Man Pizza Parlor, a new downloadable PC title that mixes gameplay elements from Pac-Man and causal time management challenges like Diner Dash.

Cathy is a sweet lady who helps run her father’s pizza parlor. But when her dad has an accident and gets amnesia, it’s up to Cathy to take over while he recovers. Luckily, Pac-Man pops out of their old arcade machine to lend a hand. Help Cathy and Pac-Man serve pizzas, salads, drinks, and other treats to make their customers happy!

In the game, you control Cathy and Pac-Man separately. The ingredients appear on Pac-Man’s side of the screen on a conveyor belt maze. Click on the ingredients and Pac-Man will move over to them and send them to Cathy. Basic dishes like coffee and sodas can be served right away after one click. But more complicated recipes like salads, pizzas, and baked potatoes require more steps. For instance, to make pizza, Pac-Man must first nab the dough, then the topping.

Later on, Pac-Man will have to watch out for obstacles while in the maze. The conveyor belt can move up and down, and if you get caught in the top or bottom, he’ll get squished (complete with the famous ‘bew-wew-wew-woop-woop’ death sound effect from the arcade). Pac-Man won’t ‘die,’ but you’ll get a score penalty. Also, watch out for those pesky ghosts! If Pac-Man collides with them, you’ll also receive a penalty. Wait until the ghosts turn into fruit briefly, and Pac-Man can gobble them up for bonus points!

Once food is sent over to Cathy, she can serve it to the customers. Salads and drinks can be eaten immediately, but pizzas and potatoes have to be heated up first. Serve the food quickly before the customers get impatient and leave, which lowers your score. You’ll complete the stage in Story Mode if you reach that day’s goal for earnings and food prepared. Use the money you earned to buy upgrades and decorations for your restaurant.

Along with Story Mode, you can also play Endless Mode and serve customers constantly until you drop. A helpful fairy teaches you how to play during the game, and you can review all her lessons in Tutorial Mode. After a full week in Story Mode, you can also play a mini-game that’s similar to match three puzzle games like Bejeweled.

Play control is easy with the mouse especially if you’re used to playing other games of this ilk. You can even click on multiple targets and Pac-Man and Cathy will go to them in order. Obviously it’s similar to Diner Dash, but players who have mastered that should find some more challenge here, what with all the multi-tasking involved. It only costs ten bucks to download, so it’s worth it if you like those kinds of games. You can download it at the official Pac-Man Web site. And while you’re there, check out the free puzzle game: Pac-Match Party!

Kid Factor:

Younger players might get frustrated with all the multi-tasking involved, and it does get pretty hard later on. Reading skill is helpful for the instructions, but most items have picture cues so you can tell what to do just by looking. Pac-Man Pizza Parlor isn’t rated by the ESRB, but it is suitable for all ages.

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