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Turn-Based Pac-Man: Gates Of Rath

As with almost every tabloid news story ever, the headline isn’t entirely true. Imagine if the Fleet Street flotsam just admitted that they were doing nothing more than chewing the fat and kicking around some possible truths immediately after making nonsensical claims about ‘A Great Christmas for Retail Despite Downbeat Forecasts’, knowing full well that next week’s line is ‘Christmas 2012 Was Murdered By Banks And Jimmy Stewart Isn’t Here To Save Us Anymore’. I admit it. Gates of Rath, currently available to play for free in beta, is a top-down tactical maze game that sort of resembles Pac-Man but replaces the pills with gates. It’s a thoughtful game of planning and peril.

As is traditional for non-hedge mazes, there are enemies lurking and they will kill you if they touch you. To avoid that unfortunate circumstance, you must trap them by closing gates, attempting to control the randomly generated space that you find yourself in. Locking every gate brings about victory, but requires a great deal of forward-thinking as it’s possible to shut an enemy into a section of the maze that still requires clearance, dooming any effort toward completion. To assist planning, the bad ‘uns telegraph their planned paths, always taking the most efficient route toward the player.

It’s a simple and efficient idea, a tactical puzzler that mostly avoids frustrating due to the small size of the levels and quick individual playthroughs. I haven’t encountered any bugs yet, but if you do, do let developer Chris ‘MC Funky Pants’ Kaitila know about it. As I don’t want to address the people of a single timezone, excluding others, let me say that I recommend you take a break, right now, from your undoubtedly busy schedule and play Gates of Rath for at least five minutes. And if you can’t do that because you’re a pilot attempting a difficult landing under severe pressure, then for goodness sake, stop reading this drivel and concentrate!

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Adam Smith

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