The world’s first gaming star Pac-Man sure gets around. He’s appeared in arcade games, racing games, platformers, an adventure game, and more than a few puzzlers. Now Pac-Man is back in another puzzle game called Pac-Man Monsters from Japanese developer GREE and Namco Bandai. It’s free to play with in-app purchases.
Pac-Man Monsters isn’t just a puzzle game. It’s actually a puzzle RPG with monster collecting elements – sort of like a mixture of Pac-Man with Puzzle Quest and Pokémon. With great graphics, a fun puzzle mechanic, and lots to do and collect, Pac-Man Monsters is a surprisingly compelling experience on Android.
Turn the monsters back
As a puzzle-RPG, Pac-Man Monsters needs some kind of story. And so it has one. In this game’s continuity, the Pacs and ghosts live happily in Pac-Land along with many other creatures. Then a dark force invades the kingdom. Only a hero like Pac-Man can step in and lead the residents of Pac-Land against their aggressors.
The setup translates into a cool system in which players form a team of Pacs and monsters to do battle against other monster teams. There are more than 100 unique monsters, which you collect by summoning them with soft and hard currency or evolving them from other monsters. They all look great thanks to an attractive Japanese art style.
Although previous Pac-puzzle games have been less than exciting, Pac-Man Monsters actually has a really good puzzle engine. At the top of the screen you’ll see your team on the left and the enemy team on the right. At the bottom sits the puzzle field – standard stuff so far.
The puzzle field consists of pellets with various colored backgrounds. Each of these colors represents an element embodied by friendly and unfriendly monsters. Every element is strong and weak against another, creating a paper-rock-scissors mechanic when damage is calculated.
During your turn, you draw a line between 12 dots or spaces. Pac-Man himself then eats the dots, which get converted into damage for your monsters to deal. Power pellets, ghosts, and fruits occasionally show up in the puzzle field as well. Eat a power pellet before chomping a ghost and you’ll gain both a damage bonus and money for your troubles. Fruits heal your party. Monsters also have special moves activated by eating unique items on the field.
The world map contains various locations for Pac and his party to visit. Each location offers a series of quests to complete. These consist of a series of battles, often punctuated by a boss fight. Special bosses pop up during quests as well, which you can choose to fight in order to earn extra money and items. The money earned in quests can be spent on summoning monsters, whereas the items seem to be mostly used as ingredients during the evolution process.
In addition to regular quests, the game also offers limited time special quests. Completing these quests gives players the chance to earn unique monsters and items. The current special quest “Pac-Man Vs. Galaga” is a real treat for Namco fans. Your team will battle Galaga-themed enemies while a very peppy techno mix of the Galaga theme plays.
Quests cost stamina to play. This is a free to play game, remember? Luckily the stamina meter fills up fairly quickly, and your meter increases as you level up too.
Recruit friends to help save Pac-Land!
Whenever you embark on a quest, you’re allowed to bring along a guest monster from another player’s team. These monsters help out in battle just like your own creatures, but you don’t get to keep them. You do get the chance to send friend requests to the monster’s owner, however. Friends can send items to each other and even team up together.
Need a friend? Send me an invite! Choose Friends from the Menu and then invite me via Twitter @PaulRAcevedo.
From my brief time playing it, Pac-Man Monsters seems to be an engrossing puzzle-RPG that Pac-Man and Pokémon fans will love. We’ll be back with a full review soon.