Pac-Man & Galaga Dimensions

Pac-Man & Galaga Dimensions[a] is a 2011 video game compilation developed and published for the Nintendo 3DS by Namco Bandai Games. It contains six games from the company's Pac-Man and Galaxian franchises—Pac-Man (1980), Galaga (1981), Pac-Man Championship Edition (2007), Galaga Legions (2008), Pac-Man Tilt, and Galaga 3D Impact, the last two being unique games created exclusively for this collection. Pac-Man Tilt is a platformer that supports the system's gyroscopic sensor, while Galaga 3D Impact is a first-person rail shooter. The collection also includes achievements, online leaderboards, and a trailer for the Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures television series.

Pac-Man & Galaga Dimensions
Pac-Man and Galaga Dimensions cover.jpg
Developer(s)Namco Bandai Games
Publisher(s)Namco Bandai Games
Director(s)Takahiro Okano
Takahisa Sugiyama
SeriesPac-Man
Galaxian
Platform(s)Nintendo 3DS
Release
  • JP: June 23, 2011
  • NA: July 27, 2011
  • AU: August 4, 2011
  • EU: August 26, 2011
Genre(s)Compilation
Mode(s)Single-player

Dimensions was created by Takahiro Okano and Takahisa Sugiyama. Namco Bandai commissioned Dimensions as a way to celebrate the 30th anniversary of Galaga and Pac-Man, and to bridge the two franchises together in a single package. The two exclusive games were built to take advantage of the new features included in the 3DS, which had launched before production began. Pac-Man Championship Edition and Galaga Legions were added due to neither having been released on a portable system beforehand, and for being important entries in their respective series. Namco Bandai published the game in Japan and Europe, while in North America it was released under the original Namco label.

Pac-Man & Galaga Dimensions received mixed reviews from critics. While the emulation quality and the inclusion of Pac-Man Championship Edition and Galaga Legions received praise, reviewers were critical of the compilation's overall quality, the small screen resolution, its high retail price, and for seeming incomplete and needing polish. The exclusive games also received mixed reactions, where some thought they were fun and made the collection worth it and other criticized them for being of subpar quality and suffering from irregular controls and poor 3D effects. While the game received criticism for its inability to erase high scores, Namco Bandai addressed that it was possible via a button code.

OverviewEdit

 
Screenshots of the two exclusive games included in Dimensions. Pac-Man Tilt is on the top, and Galaga 3D Impact is on the bottom.

Pac-Man & Galaga Dimensions is a collection of six games from the Pac-Man and Galaxian franchises—Pac-Man (1980), Galaga (1981), Pac-Man Championship Edition (2007), Galaga Legions (2008), Pac-Man Tilt, and Galaga 3D Impact. The last two are games created specifically for this compilation. Pac-Man and Galaga are both arcade games from the early 1980's, while Pac-Man Championship Edition and Galaga Legions are modernized updates to the originals that were first published on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. All of the games except Pac-Man Tilt feature 3D visuals.[1] The original ports of Pac-Man and Galaga feature a curved monitor display to replicate the feeling of playing them on a real arcade cabinet, with the added option to choose from the American upright, Japanese upright, or tabletop cabinets for the screen border. Also included are achievements that are unlocked by completing specific objectives. The collection also includes access to an online ranking system and a trailer for the Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures animated series.[2]

Pac-Man Tilt is a platform game where players control Pac-Man through each level. Pac-Man must get to the goal at the end of each level under a time limit, while making use of different obstacles and objects and avoiding ghosts that chase him. The player can tilt the 3DS to change the direction of gravity, allowing Pac-Man to easily climb up steep inclines or roll down hills in a ball and be able to smash through bricks.[1] Eating large, glowing Power Pellets allows Pac-Man to eat the ghosts for a brief time. The game uses character designs assets from Pac-Man Party. Galaga 3D Impact is a rail shooter similar to Star Fox.[3] Players control a starship from a first person perspective as they blast aliens and avoid hitting walls or other obstacles.[3] Aiming and steering the 3DS in a fixed position allows the player to move around in the game.[3] It follows a linear level progression, with boss fights concluding each level. The player has the ability to capture enemies and use their weapons against other enemies.[4]

Development and releaseEdit

 
The exclusive games in Pac-Man & Galaga Dimensions were created to take advantage of the hardware capabilities of the 3DS.

Pac-Man & Galaga Dimensions was designed by Takahiro Okano and Takahisa Sugiyama, members of the Content Design Division of Namco Bandai Games. As a way to celebrate the then-recent 30th anniversary of Pac-Man and Galaga, two very popular arcade games from the 1980's, Namco Bandai commissioned the creation a compilation that would bridge together both franchises into a single package.[5] Okano and Sugiyama were assigned as the project directors.[5] The production team showed interest in the hardware specifications and capabilities of the recently launched Nintendo 3DS, so they wanted Dimensions to utilize some of the handheld's unique features.[5] The idea lead to the creation of the two exclusive games, Pac-Man Tilt and Galaga 3D Impact. Okano worked on Tilt, making it his first game design project for Namco Bandai.[5] He was immersed with the system's gyroscopic sensor, and wanted it to be the game's focal point.[5] An early prototype for Tilt had the player tilting the 3DS to launch Pac-Man into an end goal. While interested in the idea, Okano noticed that players were struggling to understand its concept, and he fully reworked it into a platformer where players tilted the 3DS to make Pac-Man move through obstacles.[5]

Sugiyama was in charge of 3D Impact, and was the first 3D video game he worked on.[5] It also used the gyro sensor to play, as Sugiyama thought it was unique for a shooting game and would make it stand out.[5] He envisioned the game as a third-person shooter during early production stages, where the player was able to see their ship.[5] After multiple revisions he made it first-person as it felt more natural and immersive.[5] Sugiyama noted he could have made the game more difficult, commenting that it was surprisingly easy compared to other games in the Galaxian franchise.[5] The 3D effects was something he recalls having difficulties implementing.[5] Sugiyama revised the game multiple times to make the objects pop-out of the screen and to prevent the game from being blurry and hard on the eyes.[5] Pac-Man Championship Edition and Galaga Legions were included as the team viewed them as the "orthodox evolution" of both series, and for not having been ported to handhelds prior to Dimensions.[5] A separate team of programmers worked on the arcade ports of Galaga and Pac-Man. The angled monitor display and interchangeable border designs were inspired by dioramas, and to create the illusion of playing the game on a real cabinet.[5]

Namco Bandai announced Pac-Man & Galaga Dimensions in February 2011, alongside their other 3DS games DualPenSports and Ridge Racer 3D,[6] and demonstrated it at the 2011 Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) video game exposition.[7] In a preview, GameSpot showed interest in the two exclusives and the inclusion of online leaderboards.[6] The game was published in Japan on June 23, 2011,[8] in North America on July 27, 2011,[9] in Australia on August 4, 2011,[10] and in Europe on August 26, 2011.[11] The Japanese, Australian, and European versions of Dimensions were published by Namco Bandai, while the North American version was published under the original Namco brand name.

ReceptionEdit

Reception
Aggregate score
AggregatorScore
Metacritic60/100[12]
Review scores
PublicationScore
Famitsu30/40[13]
GamePro[14]
GamesRadar+     [15]
IGN5/10[16]
Nintendo Life          [2]
Nintendo World Report7.5/10[4]
NintendojoB[17]

According to the review aggregator website Metacritic, Pac-Man & Galaga Dimensions received mixed reviews.[12] The game sold 10,785 units in Japan alone.[18] Critics were generally divided by the amount of content included and if it was worth the price. While the four reviewers at Famitsu said that Dimensions offered a great deal of games for a good pricepoint,[13] Jack DeVries of IGN stated otherwise, writing that it is "far too high for such a mediocre collection." DeVries also criticized the game for being a generally weak collection, and for "actually a bastardization of two awesome game series."[16]

Critics generally agreed that one of the strong points of Dimensions was the inclusion of Pac-Man Championship Edition and Galaga Legions.[4][15][2] DeVries said that the games were entertaining and almost a reason to buy the collection. However, he also argued that they should have been $5 downloads on the Nintendo eShop instead.[16] Nintendojo's Aaron Roberts believed that both games were great and solid updates to their predecessors.[17] Galaga Legions in particular was liked by Kyle Hilliard of GamesRadar+, but claimed Galaga Legions DX was a better game and that the graphics weren't as well-done as those in the Xbox 360 iteration.[15] Writing for Nintendo Life, Jon Wahlgren listed Championship Edition and Legions as the highlight of the package. He stated they were both "gripping new spins on their respective elders" and would entice console gamers with their action-packed gameplay. Wahlgren noted that Legions suffered from slowdown when there was too much going on, but said it wasn't enough to distract players.[2]

The included ports of the original Pac-Man and Galaga were also met with mixed reactions. Critics unanimously agreed that both games were timeless and still fun to play,[17][15][16][14] but that the squashed screen resolution made them difficult to play.[2][16] Nintendo World Report's Andy Goregen commended the 3D support for making the games much more unique than previous re-releases.[4] Wahlgren agreed with Goregen and added that the ability to swap between using an upright or tabletop border design would please fans, but said the "almost comical" screen resolution makes them tough to play, especially with the 3D mode.[2] DeVries said they both lack an impressive presentation.[16] The ports were viewed by Hilliard as being more of a novelty than anything else, saying the poor screen resolution and size made these less appealing than players would think.[15]

Reviewers were split regarding the two new games, Galaga 3D Impact and Pac-Man Tilt. While some said they were both fun and great extras,[17][14][13] others claimed they lacked polish and could have used some definite improvement.[16][15] The reviewers at Famitsu dedicated most of their review to them, finding them to be entertaining and solid additions to Dimensions.[13] On the contrary, DeVries stated they were only noteworthy for the novelty, and that in actuality they're "boring, awkward titles that completely miss why either of these franchises are fun." He disliked Tilt for its controls and 3D Impact for coming off as a shallow clone of Panzer Dragoon.[16] GamePro's Ray Barnholt liked Tilt for being a cute, interesting platformer, and said it made it worth the purchase of Dimensions. Furthermore, he said 3D Impact could entertain players, but was way too short and felt more like a virtual theme park attraction than a full game.[14] Critics agreed that 3D Impact in particular was hindered by its 3D effect, which made the game hard to play and were ineffective. Roberts compared 3D Impact to the first-person segments in Steel Diver, and said the exclusives helped increase the attractiveness of the compilation.[17] Goregen liked the game's layer of strategy through its multiple weapons, but said it suffered from poor 3D effects.[4] Critics also directed attention towards the inclusion of the trailer for Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures. Wahlgren called it "utterly bizarre" and something that needed to be seen to be believed.[2] Overall, many critics concluded that Dimensions was an incomplete collection and needed plenty of polish to be of good quality.[16][15] Barnholt told readers that they should instead buy 3D Classics Xevious if they wanted some classic Namco action in portable form.[14] While the game received criticism for its inability to erase high scores, a representative of Namco Bandai reached out to publications and confirmed that it was possible via a button code.[2][19][20]

NotesEdit

  1. ^ Japanese: パックマン&ギャラガ ディメンションズ Hepburn: Pakku Man & Gyaraga Dimenshonzu

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b Siliconera Staff (7 February 2011). "Pac-Man Tilt Feels More Like A Lost Sonic The Hedgehog Game". Siliconera. Curse, Inc. Archived from the original on 2 May 2020. Retrieved 2 May 2020.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h Wahlgren, Jon (27 July 2011). "Review: Pac-Man & Galaga Dimensions (3DS)". Nintendo Life. Gamers Network. Archived from the original on 11 May 2017. Retrieved 2 May 2020.
  3. ^ a b c "Galaga 3D Impact Is Like Galaga Meets Mini Star Fox". Siliconera. Curse, Inc. 18 July 2011. Archived from the original on 2 May 2020. Retrieved 2 May 2020.
  4. ^ a b c d e Goregen, Andy (8 August 2011). "Pac-Man & Galaga Dimensions Review". Nintendo World Report. Archived from the original on 29 April 2019. Retrieved 2 May 2020.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o "Pac-Man & Galaga Dimensions developer interview". Galaga WEB (in Japanese). Namco Bandai Games. July 2011. Archived from the original on 9 June 2015. Retrieved 2 May 2020.
  6. ^ a b Gamespot Staff (4 February 2011). "Pac-Man, Galaga Tag-Team 3DS". GameSpot. CBS Interactive. Archived from the original on 2 May 2020. Retrieved 2 May 2020.
  7. ^ McShea, Tom (8 June 2011). "E3 2011: Pac-Man & Galaga Dimensions Preview Hands-On". GameSpot. CBS Interactive. Archived from the original on 2 May 2020. Retrieved 2 May 2020.
  8. ^ Mitsuki, Aki (11 June 2011). "「パックマン&ギャラガ ディメンションズ」プロモーションムービーを掲載。本体の傾きや向きを利用した3DSならではのギミックに注目" ["Pac-Man & Galaga Dimensions" promotional movie posted. Pay attention to the unique gimmicks of the 3DS that uses the tilt and orientation of the unit]. 4gamer.net (in Japanese). Aetas, Inc. Archived from the original on 27 February 2017. Retrieved 2 May 2020.
  9. ^ IGN Staff (27 July 2011). "Namco Bandai Games Releases Pac-Man & Galaga Dimensions for the Nintendo 3DS". IGN. Archived from the original on 17 February 2019. Retrieved 2 May 2020.
  10. ^ Kozanecki, James (1 August 2011). "AU Shippin' Out August 1–5: Sony PS3 bundles". GameSpot. CBS Interactive. Archived from the original on 31 December 2013. Retrieved 2 May 2020.
  11. ^ "Pac-Man & Galaga Dimensions". Nintendo of Europe. 26 August 2011. Retrieved 3 May 2020.
  12. ^ a b "Pac-Man & Galaga Dimensions Critic Reviews for 3DS". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Archived from the original on 18 March 2018. Retrieved 2 May 2020.
  13. ^ a b c d "パックマン&ギャラガ ディメンションズ (3DS)". Famitsu (in Japanese). Kadokawa Corporation. 23 June 2011. Archived from the original on 30 August 2019. Retrieved 2 May 2020.
  14. ^ a b c d e Barnholt, Ray (26 July 2011). "Review: Pac-Man & Galaga Dimensions". GamePro. GamePro Media. Archived from the original on 8 August 2011. Retrieved 2 May 2020.
  15. ^ a b c d e f g Hilliard, Kyle (3 August 2011). "Pac-Man & Galaga Dimensions Review". GamesRadar+. Future plc. Archived from the original on 30 September 2019. Retrieved 2 May 2020.
  16. ^ a b c d e f g h i DeVries, Jack (1 August 2011). "Pac-Man & Galaga Dimensions Review". IGN. Archived from the original on 26 September 2019. Retrieved 2 May 2020.
  17. ^ a b c d e Roberts, Aaron (11 December 2011). "Pac-Man & Galaga Dimensions Review". Nintendojo. Archived from the original on 30 September 2019. Retrieved 2 May 2020.
  18. ^ "Game Search (based on Famitsu data)". Game Data Library. 1 March 2020. Archived from the original on 24 April 2019. Retrieved 16 March 2020.
  19. ^ Xav de Matos (2 August 2011). "Namco Bandai explains how to clear Pac-Man & Galaga saves". Shacknews. Archived from the original on 30 September 2018. Retrieved 3 May 2020.
  20. ^ Krupa, Daniel (2 August 2011). "You Can Delete Data in Pac-Man 3DS". IGN. Archived from the original on 16 February 2019. Retrieved 3 May 2020.