Many popular video game characters have jumped on the continuously running game genre so prevalent on the mobile gaming platforms. Sonic the Hedgehog (Sonic Dash), and Rayman (Rayman’s Jungle Run), to name a few. Now Pac-Man is taking a bite out of the dash and run gameplay concept with Pac-Man Dash for iOS devices (played on iPad for this review). The game is also based on the new computer animated cartoon on Disney XD: Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures!
In each area, Pac-Man constantly runs, and all you have to do is press a virtual jump button to make Pac hop over platforms and obstacles. Along the way, collect dots (the game calls them cookies) and bonus fruit for points. Chomp any ghosts you see to add seconds to your time. Each area has different missions for you to complete one by one. Some include running a certain length, eating a certain number of dots or ghosts, among other requirements. Complete all the missions to move on to the next area. The game is free-to-play, but you have a stamina counter that only lets you race ten times in a row. Then you must allow the stamina counter to refill over time, and you have to be connected to the Internet to do that.
You can use the dots you collect in the game as currency to buy permanent power-ups for Pac-Man. These powers are activated automatically (and sometimes manually) when you eat a certain number of dots in the levels. Some let Pac-Man double jump and dash, while others summon Pac’s friends from the cartoon show. I highly recommend buying a power-up as soon as you can, because it really helps out in completing missions. Such as the Ice power, which lets Pac-Man freeze ghosts into place so he can chomp them without the ghosts running away.
There is another way to earn the power-ups in the game without buying them. Each power-up is represented by a toy based on the Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures cartoon show. If you scan a barcode from one of the toys, you should be able to get the power-up automatically. It makes me wonder if this game is just a clever ploy to sell more toys, but I haven’t tried this method of earning power-ups because I’ve never seen the Pac-Man toys in stores! As a Pac-Man fan, I am kind of curious about the toys now, though.
While the stages get a little repetitive and some of the missions are annoying, Pac-Man Dash is actually one of the better and more addicting constantly running games out there. Plus, it’s free, so it wouldn’t hurt to try it anyway. I just wish there was a ‘classic’ mode which changes all the graphics to look like old school Pac-Man, kind of how Pac N Jump did it.
Aside from chomping ghosts, Pac-Man Dash is fairly non-violent. You can’t even ‘die’ in the game, even if you fail a mission. If you’re OK with your kids watching the Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures cartoon, they’ll be OK with the game, too. Light parental supervision is recommended since the game has micro-transactions you can buy with real money, though.