Pac-Man Kart Rally will be the first Xbox Live game on Windows Phone with wireless multiplayer

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!

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.

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.

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!

Paul Acevedo

Paul Acevedo is the Games Editor at Windows Central. A lifelong gamer, he has written about videogames for over 15 years and reviewed over 350 games for our site. Follow him on Twitter @PaulRAcevedo. Don’t hate. Appreciate!

  • Wired multiplayer would surely look funny...
  • Zombies!!!, Gravity Guy, and a few other games have either same-screen or hot potatoe-style multiplayer.
  • That's technically wireless.... I think he means like using a wire that connects to both phones to play multiplayer.
  • Like old school Gameboy, funny.
  • Now, we're talking!
  • Nice to see some form of multiplayer in an Xbox LIVE game finally, but the game looks cack.
    I won't be getting it.
  • Well we know not alot of people will have the "unbeatable" achievement..
  • Hopefully it won't be too expensive as this looks like it could be quite good (if they get the controls right that is). Hopefully this will also lead to more real time multiplayer games! (whether local or online)
  • I remember playing this on WM ,  it was VERY BAD graphics indeed, but the last pic on the article makes it seems like it really got a MAJOR overhull.
  • Sadly I dont know to many people with WP7 devices. Only two people actually and I only see them once in a while...
  • crying shame buddy...I met people through Pokerking Online and pool + friends that have WP7... Wordament is now an XBL title & has multiplayer btw, Paul.
  • Yeah, we just don't consider Wordament a true multiplayer title. It's more like a leaderboard challenge.
  • Looks like the wife and I will be gaming wireless against each other.
  • 50 wins? 10 would of sufficed...
  • Seriously! 50 is quite a grind.
  • Its obviously not meant to be achieved in a week or less like other WP XBL titles...
  • Awesome. :-)
  • Sweet, I know 4 people with a WP7 (they all bought one because of me!) if controls are good it might be a cool little game (a la Mario Kart)
  • looks cool, just wish it were real 'global' multiplayer, even if it would only work when connected to wifi..
  • Updated with release date and price!
  • What an awful achievement!
  • First, I am super happy to finally have multiplayer on my phone for xbox live titles.  BUT this is not the multiplayer I have been clamoring for.  In fact I have been playing a non live title, wordfeud, just to get my multiplayer fix. 
      I have been jaded for the fact multiplayer is huge for xbox brand yet wp7 lacks this kind of support.  Well, jaded regarding that and what Paul mentioned as too many puzzle and angry bird clones.
    I wonder if ms. splosionman on the wp7 phone will include mutiplayer like this? 
  • True Muti-player over xbox live ? Did I get that right ? Can I race a friend with a WP7 device in another state ?
    If so, this is a big step forward. I look forward to more true Xbox live games...
    With this being said, $4.99 is too much for ANY mobile game. Even though I like what this is, I will have to wait till it goes on sale, I refuse to pay $5 for any mobile game any more.
    That does not mean I wont try the Demo or something for see how it really is.
  • Not online multiplayer - I explain how it works in the article's multiplayer paragraph.
  • I cant believe I missed that. I guess I am disapointed. I've been hoping for a true "xbox live" muli player game for such a long time, that I got a little blind.
    Sorry about that people !
  • Overpriced just like the other Pac-man games.
  • Price is a little bit high for my tastes, especially with all the .99 price drops we've been privy to of late.  But the game does sound fun, and I'll pick it up if it ever hits $2.99 or lower.  And I'll definitely demo it to make sure the controls are up to snuff.
    Thanks Paul
  • Wireless Multiplayer :( I'll have to persuesde my gf to get the game too. But I will get the game no matter.
  • I'm the only person in my sphere who voluntarily bought a Windows Phone, it's a desert out there.
  • Looks very good, guess my father and his 710 is going to get this and play +50 games with me. Ah!
  • Awsome
  • Seriously Namco? 4,99$? But why!? Why is every single new WP7 game expensive as fuck. It is nice to see the price drops of the older games, but they are long gone when it comes to updates, so it would be nice to experience a brand new game for the cost of 99 cents.. Just saying
  • Wordament for free last week...
  • Sudoku and Shuffle Board are free too, so is Flowers....
  • XBL games are considered premium games cause of achivements , thats why its more expensive.
  • Time to bring out the Xbox exclusives. PGR, Forza, Halo Wars - these are games worthy of being the multiplayer trailblazers, not this.
  • It's about time. I'm sure it would be difficult, I'm sure it would be expensive, I'm sure it would take time. But how many stinkin' Lumia 900s would they sell WITH HALO ON IT?!?! It would all be worth it.
  • They should make XBOX Arcade version of this game, and connect the two. Phone vs. Console game. Should be fun.
  • Anybody else pumped for that Galaga ship? Seriously I love Galaga.
  • FINALLY.  Games like this should have been the strength of XBL on WP from day 1, it's about time we stopped with the angry birds and the word puzzle games.
  • Tilt controls? Noooooooooo :(
  • Complaints because the real-time multiplayer requires both devices to be on the same local network? Really?
    Somehow I don't think we'll be seeing too many games supporting real-time multiplayer across the Internet, with spotty connectivity for one or both devices almost a guaranteed given.
    Looking forward to the full review.
  • It's very true. It would require a constant WiFi or LTE connectivity, which cannot really be guaranteed.
  • You do know iOS, Android or even webOS support this, right?!
  • Ok, granted. But the experience is often questionable. And most Xbox LIVE titles are relatively intensive games.'re right.
  • > But the experience is often questionable.
    Exactly. I can already hear the screaming about how crappy FutureGame is. What we need is a happy medium between real-time and turn-based.
    Compare AlphaJax and Wordament. Wordament comes closer (with a long way to go) to real-time, but talk about ruined experience when the connection isn't the greatest.
  • 4.99 is kind of much for a mobile game, but I guess we'll see how the review turns out.
  • My whole gang is on would be a real blast only if............the graphics don't suck!!!
  • 4,99€? Haha, no thanks. I am glad to still have an iPod (with same or better graphics than my Lumia and many 0,79€ games).
  • It's not available on iOS.
  • I wasn't talking about this game specifically. But there are many racing and arcade racing games with MP. Check out Real Racing.
  • Forza is still beautiful on my Zune HD. I don't know why they just font port all if the good ZuneHd apps and games over! I love audiosurf, and Forza! I put my Windows Phone down and play em on my Zune. Amazing games.
  • If they don't hurry with the real multiplayer I'm gona jump ship.
  • This is awsome! But I want my nfs to be multiplayer
  • Audiosurf and ferarri should be on come they cant port zune hd games on here
  • That's exactly what I was thinking! They should! All of the Zune Hd games were amazing!
  • Looks like a nice Arcade style game to play with my kids!
  • The game is out in the US guys. Go to your phone marketplace scroll down to PacMan Championship and click on more from Namco Bandai and you'll see it at the bottom. Might find it by searching too
  • I'm serious. It pisses me off that even the snowboard game lags on my Lumia. Honestly the performance of my iPod is better.