I’m sure FPS-Man isn’t the first game to attempt Namco’s venerable pellet-munching classic in first-person, but I’m still willing to wager that it’s still the first of its kind. In a ghost-dodging twist, this is Pac-Man re-imagined as some kind of bowel-clenchingly atmospheric horror game. And you know what? It kinda works. Honestly, there’s not a whole lot to it (yet), but what’s here is oppressively claustrophobic in all the best ways. An endless hallway of ghastly howls and neon whispers. I do, however, have some borderline sacrilegious news for you: no wakkas.
On its most basic level, FPS-Man is still Pac-Man. Navigate a maze, flee from ghosts, consume EVERYTHING in some kind of hedonistic blood festival/metaphor for rampant drug usage/videogame. Honestly, first-person for first-person’s sake wouldn’t really change much of that simple formula – aside from horrifically limiting your field of view and making it easier for ghosts to corner you.
But FPS-Man is about striking fear into even the steeliest of hearts with barely mobile googly eyed ghosts, and on that front, it manages to at least shock – if not turn undergarments into urine-stained ruins. Basically, the bizarre juxtaposition of visuals and impressively spooky sounds make it well worth the cost of entry (erm, nothing).
Its creator’s been actively updating since day-one, too, so this appears to be only the beginning. Which is good, because ghost AI – among other things – is still basically non-existent. Honestly, though, I’m not expecting some genre-transcending opus here. FPS-Man’s an unexpected yet extremely fitting take on two of gaming’s oldest ideas. And let’s be real: the basic concept behind Pac-Man? Kind of terrifying on its own. Before, we were just playing as the insatiable sentient hockey puck. Now, though, we actually know how he feels.