PAC-MAN + Tournaments combines arcade competition with the convenience of mobile.

The heyday of the arcade has long passed. But when the arcade still ruled the gaming world, there was no better candidate for its king than PAC-MAN. The little yellow circle man became a household name, and people flocked to their local arcade to compete with one another to get their name on the top of the high scores. NAMCO BANDAI has revived that arcade feel with PAC-MAN + Tournaments, a free-to-play game that reignites the competitive spirit.

PAC-MAN + Tournaments is the first free-to-play entry in the series, and those simply looking to play the original game on their phone or tablet will not be disappointed. The game is readily available with two main modes: PAC-MAN and Tournament. PAC-MAN mode is simply a port of the original arcade game, while Tournament mode is the new online high-score battle. The classic mode works just like the arcade and is completely free, unless you want to continue after a game over.

PAC-MAN +Tournaments

The Tournament mode is what sets PAC-MAN + Tournaments apart from previous ports. Every week NAMCO BANDAI will release a new series of stages, allowing players to try their hand at landing the high score. The game provides one free entry every day, but allows more by spending in-game coins. Coins are reasonably priced, starting at about ten cents each. Casual players may not feel the need to spend money to replay the tournament, but with real-life prizes for winners, there’s some incentive to reach the top.

PAC-MAN + Tournaments is promising downloadable stages in the future, but as of launch, the only purchase options are coins and ad-free mode. The coins are a cheap deal, but removing the ads may prove a bigger enticement for hardcore players. While the ads never interrupt gameplay, they’re obtrusive and they seem to pop up when you least expect it. The pay model for ad-free is a little odd, as well. One month of ad-free is available for 99 cents, or lifetime for $14.99.

PAC-MAN +Tournaments

Gameplay modes and microtransactions mean nothing if the game doesn’t play well, and fortunately, PAC-MAN + Tournaments plays very well. While no PAC-MAN experience has been able to top the four-way arcade stick, this touch-screen entry does an amazing job with swipe controls. To turn PAC-MAN, you simply swipe in the direction you want him to move. It may take a few rounds to get used to the control scheme, but once you learn it’s particular traits (such as the time it takes to swipe opposed to pressing a button), it works well.  It’s not without occasional hiccups, however. Making quick turns will sometimes cause PAC-MAN to freak out and take a wrong turn. These instances can be devastating, but they’re not common.

PAC-MAN + Tournaments is a great package. There’s a variety of difficulty levels for different player skills, as well as detailed leaderboards and achievements. The fully-free classic PAC-MAN is a welcome feature and will be more than enough for casual fans. The highly-competitive tournament mode is a wonderful gift to those looking to put their skills to the test. The promise of real prizes and downloadable stages gives fans something to look forward to. This is a must-play for fans of classic arcade gaming. The controls aren’t arcade-perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but NAMCO BANDAI has found a way to fuse the competitive nature of the arcade with the convenience of mobile.