Pac-Pix (Nintendo DS) Playthrough – NintendoComplete

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A playthrough of Namco’s 2005 drawing/puzzle action game for the Nintendo DS, Pac-Pix.

Of all of the excellent games that Pac-Man has starred in over the years, very few have felt as original, as fresh, or as freeform as Pac-Pix for the DS. There aren’t any mazes, platforming, parties, nor adventures in sight, so what else is there for a Pac to do?

Pac-Pix is a touchscreen-based drawing/puzzle game. Pac somehow gets himself trapped in a magical book with his famous ghost frenemies, but you, player, hold the key to his freedom! Using your stylus, or “Magic Pen,” you draw shapes and bring them to life as game pieces.

You begin by creating a Pac-Man – all you have to do is draw his shape and he’ll take form on the page, ready to eat anything in his path. The bigger you make him, the slower he goes. You control him indirectly though a series of gestures and objects: you change his direction by placing walls in front of him, and stop him temporarily by poking him and pulling him backwards.You can also help him out by drawing a bomb and a fuse (as long as there is a flame nearby to light it!) to clear walls or enemy shields, as well as by drawing arrows that can be fired at things outside of Pac-Man’s reach.

The gesture-based controls work pretty well, but they do take a bit of getting used to. The first few times I played this, I wanted to throw the DS across the room because I found it almost impossible to draw an arrow that the game would recognize. After bit of practice and becoming better acquainted with timings expected for inputs, they’re pretty easy to consistently pull off.

Getting acquainted with Pac-Pix is not as easy as it should be, but the effort really pays off once you’ve got it figured out. The concept is simple but brilliant, and there’s something inherently cool about watching your own drawings spring to life and animate on their own. Maybe even better than that is the number of hilariously deformed Pac-Mans you’ll inevitably create. Sometimes he’ll have a wicked overbite, sometimes he’ll have a snaggletooth, and on rare occasions you’ll end up with something resembling lumpy mashed potatoes that just sort of pulses as it eats. I laughed so hard at some of these deformed, gimpy Pac clones I created – some of them are terrifying. Pac-Pox, anyone?

Pac-Pix is a first-generation DS game and it looks it, but the watercolor/parchment look and the cutesy storybook motif works in its favor. The music is typical Pac-Man games – it’s bloopy, it’s electronic, and it makes sure to include Pacman sounds and jingle whenever possible. In other words, it’s maddeningly catchy.

When it was released back in 2005, Pac-Pix took a beating by the critics. Most reviewers called it little more than a glorified tech demo, and to an extent they were right: it was simple and definitely could have used more variety. But it was unlike anything else that came before it, and it was unbelievably fun. It won’t keep you occupied for months, but it’s well put-together and charming.

I personally loved it. If you like offbeat and quirky, this will be an excellent addition to your DS collection – I highly recommend it.

And Namco: why has this not been ported to a smartphone yet!? I imagine the programming here would’ve been quite an achievement in 2005, but seriously. It’s been 13 years. Please just do it already!

*I recommend watching this on a phone for the vertical screen orientation. The DS border has been cropped close to the screen edges to provide a proper 9:16 aspect ratio.
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No cheats were used during the recording of this video.

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32 thoughts on “Pac-Pix (Nintendo DS) Playthrough – NintendoComplete

  1. From what I hear, you get special rewards by completing Chapters at S-Rank and a second book is unlocked after you complete the first one. From what I've seen, it's supposed to be alot harder.

    The ghosts do the following:
    Pink: Basic, nothing special
    Blue: Will speed boost when a Pac-Man comes close
    White: Can easily run away from Pac-Man, but cannot when dizzy
    Numbered: Must be eaten in order to vanish
    Red: Must be eaten from the back, as the rest of him is invulnerable to Pac-Man
    Yellow: Will leave Ink behind, making it harder to draw Gestures
    Cubes: Immune to Pac-Man, can be destroyed by bombs however

  2. Ok, I just got this game BRAND NEW/SEALED from ebay for $6.00(which included shipping), which is a damn good price for a DS game considering when it first hit the scene it was $30.00. The game starts off very innovative, then tricking and finally to downright frustrating. BE WARNED.

  3. Sadly it's not a complete walktrough. I would see the Book II (I'm stuck in book II Chapter 12)
    Thanks anymay. Great game (one of my favorit on DS)

  4. This game scared the shit out of me when I got the game as a kid. I always look away from my ds whenever I draw a large Pac-Man during boss battles.

    The game's art and music is really good for its time though.

  5. gave this game a second chance based on your description because i do love pac-man! it didn't click with me before but now i get it and it is fun 😀 where else can you make instant giant jawed jay leno pac-mans 🤣

  6. This is a weird-looking Mega Man game!
    In all seriousness, I've never played Pac-Pix, but it looks like a fun and innovative take on the old-school Pac-Man formula. ^^

  7. I appreciate the effort put into the description, but I hate this game!!
    Heck, I got for 0.99 cents at GameStop!

  8. I like how you appear to have quite deliberately dealt the final blow to the final boss with one of the most derptastic Pac-Men possible.

  9. I rented this game shortly after I first got my ds it was fun but it got boring fast too little content for a full price 2004 game

  10. Greetings fabulous Earthlings and Happy Monday to all! 👋👽 I also bring thin crust pizza 4 everyone. Enjoy! 🍕

  11. Pac-Pix is a fantastic bit of innovation that made perfect use of the DS's touchscreen. I don't understand why it's so obscure, but any Pac-Man fan would do well to give this addictive classic a try!

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