Released concurrently with the original Pac-Man S on June 5, this Facebook spin on the classic coin-operated maze game adds score-boosting power-ups to a familiar formula. It is currently Namco Bandai's second-largest title on the platform in terms of both daily and monthly active users, with less than half the metrics of the original Pac-Man S.
Pac-Man S has, at its core, all of the gameplay mechanics found in the original arcade game. Players pilot the famous pie-shaped protagonist around a neon maze, gobbling up dots for points while trying to avoid being caught by ghosts bent on stopping him. Noshing on a power pellet results in the ghosts briefly turning blue, during which period Pac-Man S is able to gobble them up for additional points.
What differentiates Pac-Man S from its twin are the power-ups player can buy with virtual currency to boost their high scores. Power-ups can be used to make Pac-Man faster, make the ghosts slower, increase the number of points received for eating ghosts and add five seconds to the game clock. The latter is important because, unlike the original, scoring in Pac-Man S is based on how many points players can rack up in a two-minute window, not on a set number of lives.
Additionally, the game rewards players for quickly chomping at least three ghosts in succession with a double point bonus for eating highlighted ghosts the next time they’re turned blue. For every 10,000 points they accrue, players receive bonus point markers to chase down in the maze as well as bonus fruit to eat when all the dots in the maze are gone. Consuming the fruit adds more dots to the maze, essentially graduating players to the next “level” until the two-minute time limit expires. When the game ends, players are prompted to share their high score on their Wall before restarting or exiting.
In terms of social features, Pac-Man S is fairly limited at time of writing. Currently, there are scoreboards featuring both a friends-only and global view, plus the ability to invite Facebook friends to play the game. Clicking on a friend’s name in the scoreboard simply takes players to their Wall. Monetization also appears to be missing from the game at this time, although a non-functional option to purchase points does appear on the menu. Players are given a large number (more than 100,000) of these points upon first accessing the game, and they're used to purchase power-ups before gameplay begins priced at 1,000 to 2,500 points each.
Given the game's apparent unfinished state, it's difficult to gauge Namco Bandai's commitment to the title. Pac-Man S still out-performs Pac-Man S a month after launch and there is no shortage of knock-offs with more robust growth figures. Furthermore, a lack of moderation and spam filtering on the game's Page suggests that little attention is being paid to Pac-Man S, at least at present.
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