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pac-man kart rally

Yesterday’s delisting of Turn N Run – literally the night before our review went live, and only six days after the game’s release – highlights a large and ongoing problem in the world of Xbox Windows Phone games. Since the debut of Windows Phone 8, incompatibility with the new OS has been discovered among a number of Xbox WP7 titles. Each of these games has been completely delisted from the web version of the Windows Phone Store, and either partially or fully removed from Store searches on actual Windows Phones.

Read on to learn what games have been affected so far, and how Microsoft may be mishandling the Windows Phone 8 incompatibility issues in more ways than one.

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Windows Phone Xbox Live Review: Pac-Man Kart Rally

The selection of Xbox Live racers on Windows Phone varies widely in quality. Hydro Thunder GO and Need for Speed Undercover occupy the top end of the quality spectrum, while Cro-Mag Rally sits in a pool of ick at the bottom. Sadly, Cro-Mag Rally was also the only mobile Live kart racer for almost a year. Fast-forward to May 2012 and Namco Bandai surprised us all with Pac-Man Kart Rally. While it never matches the lofty quality bar set by the Mario Kart series, Namco’s racer still manages to be pretty fun, easily surpassing its only other Windows Phone competitor.

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Prior to its release, I was enthusiastic about Pac-Man Kart Rally for a number of reasons: it’s a kart racer (fun genre), it features Pac-Man and other Namco characters, and it’s the first mobile Xbox Live game with wireless multiplayer (local Wi-Fi only). Then it launched to mixed reactions – the poor frame rate and repetitive music seem to be major turn offs for many gamers.

Frankly I find the negative reactions largely hyperbolic, as it’s still a competent and accessible racing game, light years ahead of the only other Xbox Live kart racer, Cro Mag Rally in quality. In any case, it seens someone at Microsoft may have noticed the tepid Marketplace ratings and reacted quickly. For whatever reason, Pac-Man Kart Rally has dropped from $4.99 to $2.99 just two or three days after its release.

Is this a price drop, random sale, or simply a marketplace glitch? We won’t know for sure until next week, when Microsoft will hopefully respond to our queries. It’s mostly good news, as gamers who were turned off at the relatively high five dollar price point now have more incentive to snap the game up right away. It’s probably wisest not to price a game with so many rough edges above three dollars, regardless of brand recognition or a novel multiplayer feature.

On the other hand, many gamers like me bought Pac-Man Kart Rally at the original price only to see it costing less a few days later. We’re rather unlikely to receive refunds – heck, I never managed to get refunds for all the delisted games I’ve bought, a far worse situation (and I did try!). The lightning fast price drop, sale, or whatever will surely leave a bad taste in the mouths of early adopters.

In the long run, the increased sales from a more reasonable price point will probably outweigh a bit of temporary negativity. WPCentral has contacted Microsoft for comment on the price change and will update should we receive clarification.

Get Pac-Man Kart Rally here on the Marketplace.

Update: Microsoft has confirmed this is a permanent price drop.

Thanks to Nima Heravi for the tip!

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We mentioned Pac-Man Kart Rally was heading to the Windows Phone Marketplace on May 2, 2012. Well... it arrived just a wee bit early.

The Windows Phone game from Namco Bandai went live just a little while ago and brings all the goodness of Wifi Multiplayer to your Windows Phone. Pac-Man Kart Rally is the first Xbox Live title with local Wifi multiplayer which allows two players to compete against each other in the same room using two phones connected to the same network and two copies of the game.

Pac-Man Kart Rally includes ten characters, thirteen tracks, and plenty of power-ups and upgrades. There is a trial version available with the full version of Pac-Man Kart Rally running $4.99. You can find Pac-Man Kart Rally here at the Windows Phone Marketplace. Keep tabs on the site and we'll have a full review up as soon as we can get Paul off the race track.

Thanks, Zebrasqual, for the tip!

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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!

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