Pac-Man Kart Rally title

When you play every single Xbox Live game that comes to Windows Phone, it’s easy to become jaded. I mean, how many physics puzzlers and Angry Birds clones do we really need? Still, today I write about a genuinely exciting game that I can’t wait to play: Pac-Man Kart Rally from Namco Bandai. It comes out this Wednesday; and WPCentral has some exclusive details to whet your appetite.

First, a little history. Pac-Man Kart Rally originally debuted on older mobile phone platforms in 2010, including Windows Mobile and Blackberry. The title drew inspiration from Pac-Man World Rally on Playstation 2-era consoles, but was not a direct adaptation. In late 2011, Pac-Man Kart Rally received a serious graphical upgrade when it made the trip to the Android platform, exclusively for Sony Ericsson's Xperia Play handset.

Head past the break for the full scoop on Pac-Man Kart Rally's characters, tracks, and multiplayer!

Pac-Man Kart Rally legacy

The original Windows Mobile version of Pac-Man Kart Rally. What a difference!

Fast-forward to May 2012 and the Xperia Play version of Pac-Man Kart Rally has been ported to Windows Phone by Namco Bandai Networks Romania. Kart Rally hasn’t made the trip to iOS or the main Android market, so it’s almost an exclusive like Pac-Man Championship Edition DX. The Windows Phone version naturally won’t have the Xperia Play’s physical d-pad and buttons, so it relies instead on tilt controls for steering and touch-screen buttons for braking, jumping, and item use.

Pac-Man Kart Rally will be the second kart-style Xbox Live racer on Windows Phone, following the disappointing Cro-Mag Rally. Unlike that craptastic caveman racer, this title has nice, easy to distinguish tracks that aren’t cluttered up with random junk. There are four distinct worlds (Pac-Man, Ghost, Katamari, and Dig Dug) with three tracks per world, plus a new, Windows Phone-exclusive track; that’s 13 tracks in total. These tracks can be raced in multiple game modes such as Tournament, Challenge, and Survival.

Pac-Man Kart Rally

The main appeal of a Pac-Man racer is naturally the characters. The roster includes characters from not only Pac-Man but three other Namco series as well, for a total of 10 characters. Powerups/weapons will draw from multiple series as well, including power pellets, cherries, and even a Katamari ball that sticks to other players, slowing them down. Additionally, you’ll be able to unlock multiple karts for each racer.

Pac-Man characters:

  • Pac-Man
  • Blinky
  • Pinky
  • Inky
  • Clyde

Katamari characters:

  • The Prince
  • Ichigo (The Prince’s female cousin)

Dig Dug/Mr. Driller characters:

  • Hori Taizo
  • Hori Susumu

Galaga character:

  • Fighter (Yes, this is the ship from Galaga.)

Coolness of the Namco characters and settings aside, Pac-man Kart Rally’s most interesting feature is multiplayer. This will be the first Xbox Live title with local Wi-Fi multiplayer. That means two players can compete against each other in the same room using two phones connected to the same wireless network and two copies of the game. It's not as convenient as true online multiplayer, but still much nicer than offering no multiplayer options at all.

Pac-Man Kart Rally

Images courtesy of PlayXBLA

There is even a multiplayer Achievement, ‘Unbeatable’ which may prove a source of contention among gamers. You won’t be able to get it if you don’t know someone who owns both a Windows Phone and the game. Even then, ‘Unbeatable’ requires players to win 50 multiplayer races. Hope you and your friend have plenty of time to spare… Me, I’m up for it!

Pac-Man Kart Rally launches this Wednesday, May 2 in all regions except for Korea and Brazil. It will cost $4.99. We'll have a full review soon!

Thanks to David for tipping us on the PlayXBLA link!