All You Can Eat: Pac-Man CE DX+’s Trial Week

Wakka wakka.

Look, I can understand why you might not have played Pac-Man Championship Edition DX+. That name, for starters. One imagines Namco Bandai scraping the bottom of the cash-in barrel, breaking through the bottom, digging down into the ground, grabbing a clawful of gravel and throwing that in one’s startled little face. Oh, but it’s so far from that. It’s barely even a Pac-Man game.

PMCEDX+ is a reflex-y arcade game a bit like Snake in a maze with ghosts and colours and great bleepy-bloopy noises. It’s pretty nice. And it’s free to play all week on Steam, so do have a look.

While ye olde Pac-Man had you carefully avoiding and luring ghosts, Championship Edition DX is about zipping around, waking ghosts up, waking so many ghosts up, making them chase you, making so very many ghosts chase you, then turning around and devouring the blooming lot while sounds blare and colours flash and fruit fly and oh it’s so exciting. It’s a leaderboard-o-rama, see. It did have a demo before, but now you can try the whole flipping thing.

You can play the full game as much as you please until 6pm on Monday through Steam (that’s 10am Steamtime). In theory, if you’re logged in, that’ll let you simply download it. Myself, I spent a minute muttering “What. What are you doing? Why aren’t you working?” while refreshing the page and clicking this link before Steam noticed I was allowed to play.

The game’s also on sale until Monday, if you fancy keeping it. The 66% discount brings it down to £2.71. A bundle with all the DLC is £4.07. Here, watch this person rack up a respectable score:

14 Comments

  1. Baines says:

    That’s the kind of thing that Styeam should be advertising on its front page.

    A shame that Steam isn’t doing that.

    • WiggumEsquilax says:

      In some hypothetical future, if Pac-Man outsells Skyrim, they’ll get some front page time. The system works!

  2. Radiant says:

    This is a beautiful game.
    It’s pacman re-animated as a freeform race.
    Looks amazing, plays amazing.
    Sounds amazing.

    From the ost: a 10 minute drum and bass tune set in and around the pac mania theme.
    link to youtu.be

    This is outrun levels of perfect race music that I have tried to put on before sex more than once.

    • Radiant says:

      I say tried.
      It is 10 minutes. I’m not Shabba Ranks.

      • Geebs says:

        Err are you saying that it takes you longer than 10 minutes to get the old motor running, or that it takes more than 10 minutes for the drugs to take effect? Or that, 10 minutes before sex, you’re not in a position to press ‘play’? And if so, couldn’t you put the music on repeat? Also, what does Shabba have to do with it?

  3. mashkeyboardgetusername says:

    I don’t know about this, with the designated path you seem to have to follow it looks more like a rhythm game (press up/down/left/right when the designers want you to) than a game about navigating a maze and outwitting the ghosts*. Not saying it’s not fun, but if I wanted to play guitar hero/DDR with my keyboard I’d just do that.

    *For those that haven’t seen it: link to home.comcast.net

    • Jason Moyer says:

      It’s definitely not a rhythm game. It’s about quickly identifying patterns and completing them in the most efficient way possible. Sometimes the optimal pattern in a maze is obvious, sometimes it’s not, sometimes the obvious path is actually not the optimal one, sometimes the optimal path changes depending on how far you are into a stage (i.e. how fast things are going). The ghosts aren’t really much of a threat in terms of consuming lives, but they can have a massive impact on the amount of points you score, which is the ultimate goal of the primary game modes which are time attacks – scoring as many points as possible within a 5 or 10 minute time limit. The other game modes are basically “training” for the time attack modes – seeing how quickly you can clear different patterns, seeing how many ghosts you can eat at one time before they revert to being hostile, etc.

      Maximizing your score in the proper modes, the time attack, is a balancing act between clearing the mazes as quickly as possible, maximizing the chains of ghost you eat, and keeping the bonus multiplier and game speed as high as you can (the multiplier resets when you die or use a bomb, the speed lowers when you die or use a bomb). Things get pretty damn frantic once the game speed is maxed out, even on maps that you feel you’ve mostly mastered.

      I’ve played every Pac-Man iteration since the original one, when they were new, and I can say with confidence that this is easily my favorite game in the series. I’d also recommend getting the All-You-Can-Eat edition since it’s only a few bucks more and includes a few great background songs and maps.

      • mashkeyboardgetusername says:

        Well, all I was going with was the impression the trailers for the game made. It just looked like there was one designated path for you to follow (generally going past the sleeping ghosts). I suppose where there’s a row of dots you’ve got a choice how to address them, but the length of the ghost chain chasing you made it look like picking the wrong choice gets you killed.

        Sorry, as I said the trailers make it look like a rhythm game, and that’s what I was getting first impressions about the game from.

        • Jason Moyer says:

          Videos of good runs will probably give you a better idea of the gameplay than the trailers do. If you pay attention, you’ll notice that sometimes the path is obvious, sometimes it’s not. Each map has a different flow to it, where you might find a few of the patterns easy to clear quickly and with a ton of points while others take a little more thought and planning. Actual death, as in being caught by the ghosts, is rare and not much of a threat.

          This might not be the best map to show off as it’s one of the easier ones (although it’s also easy to stuff it up and get the left/right parts of the maze out of sync, which is not what you want to do) and some of the other maps have slightly more interesting asymmetry to the left/right sides.

  4. Cerzi says:

    Is this the same game that was on PSN many years ago? Because that was a lot of fun.

  5. CelticPixel says:

    I had one game of this then bought it immediately. It’s Pac-Man – you can’t lose! If you lose at this, you lose at life!

  6. JoeX111 says:

    Did they ever fix the resolution issues with this game? I bought it on release and you were locked into something archaic like 640 x 480, which diminished my enjoyment considerably.

  7. wu wei says:

    I miss the old Steam design, when it would actually tell me what new games were released that day and when free game weekends occurred…