Pac-Man Geo (Mobile)

Remember a few years ago when Google Maps let you play Pac-Man using the road maps as mazes?  Well now they’ve made a whole game out of that with Pac-Man Geo!  It’s available for free on mobile devices, but reviewed on iPhone here.

The first thing you do is pick a name for your profile.  The classic Namco fan in me liked that the default names were of other Namco characters like Dig Dug, Susumu, Valkyrie, Mappy, and more!  I thought this game would be more like Pokémon GO where you can just do maps in your area.  But nope, you can choose anywhere in the world to make mazes out of maps, so you pretty much get an endless supply of mazes.  Just pick a continent and zoom in until you can see roads and a square pops up to section off your maze.

Then you just play Pac-Man on the maze!  Eat all the dots and avoid the ghosts, and nab power pellets and bonus fruit.  Roads that go outside the square border become warp tunnels, and you get three lives to clear the maze.  But the ghosts aren’t the real enemy of this game.  You also have a time limit, so if your maze has a lot of complicated roads, you may have trouble completing it!  You control Pac-Man by sliding your thumb on the touch screen.  Unfortunately the play control isn’t very good, especially when your maze has roads with weird turns and such.

Sometimes when you complete mazes, you can get treasures.  You can’t see them at first, but you can use a limited amount of radars to find treasures on the maps.  These could be anything from extra money you can use at the shops, to collectables that don’t really do anything but sit there in your menu.  In the shop you can buy avatars that give Pac-Man special skills when equipped, like extra speed or more time.  But the really good stuff in the shop you have to spend real money on.  There are also events where you can play mazes in different parts of the world, and try to get as far as you can.

Aside from the bad controls, the only other big problem I had was the constant pop-up ads for other games.  Because of that, I kind of lost interest in it.  Which is sad, because anyone who knows me, they know Pac-Man is my all time favorite video game and game character of all time.  I think Pac-Man Geo is a neat idea, but really more of a novelty than an actual game.

Kid Factor:

Aside from chomping on those ghosts, Pac-Man Geo is pretty non-violent.  Pac-Man was a big part of my childhood as an 80’s kid, and I turned out OK anyway.  The game uses some map reading and geography skills, so it might be considered somewhat educational as well.  You can’t really share your location directly, but you can share map mazes with other players that might reveal where you live and such, so I’d still be careful with letting young kids play it for that reason.  But I might also be a little bit too paranoid.  Reading skill is helpful for the text, and parental supervision is also recommended for the in-game ads and purchases.

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