Review: Namco Dig Dug

The only thing better than a moment of nostalgia, is a moment of geeky nostalgia. Classic video games are making a comeback for a number of reasons. Reason number one is that it doesn’t take a lot of hardware to run the games that we used to play 20 years ago. Reason number two is that the games have already been developed; they just need to be adapted and ported to a modern platform. The biggest reason in my opinion is that you don’t have to sell a game like Tetris or Galaga, because your customer is already familiar with the game and in many cases is simply renewing an addiction that has been on pause for the last 15+ years.

Namco is one of those names that is synonymous with classic games. I’ve already looked at Galaga and found it to be a fun game experience, but limited by the controls that are available to you. Another Namco classic, Dig Dug, is available from the Windows Marketplace for Mobile. While Dig Dug isn’t as high paced as Galaga, there are some definite benefits to the way the game is constructed that lend itself to Windows Phones and the hardware that is available.

Hit the jump for more details.


Dig Dug for Windows Mobile is fairly true to the original arcade. The object of the game is to eliminate the “Pookas” and “Frygars” by digging through the dirt and inflating them until they pop. Points are acquired by killing these characters either by pumping them up or by dropping rocks on them. Different amounts of points are awarded depending on the depth of the character when they are killed. Digging itself gains you points, giving you some benefit in digging as many tunnels as possible.

Game Play

Dig Dug is not a graphically intensive game, but the graphics are appealing in a classic sort of way. Similar to Galaga, the sides of the screen depict artwork based on the game when playing in landscape mode; giving it an arcade feel. Because there is limited overhead from the graphics, the game is very smooth and responsive. I didn’t experience any stability issues or lag during play.

I will say that this game is definitely harder than it looks. Often you will encounter multiple enemies coming at you, in which case your best defense is to effectively “stun” one of them by partially inflating them; giving you time to dispose of the second enemy without being killed before you can fire a second shot.


The controls for Dig Dug do require a little bit of getting used to. Using my Touch Pro2, I was able to play in either landscape or portrait orientation. In portrait mode, you are forced to use the touch screen controls because of the lack of a hardware d-pad. Moving is accomplished by pressing around the Dig Dug character (up, down, or to either side). To fire your pump, you have to press on your character. This can make situations where you have to turn and fire with precision a little difficult to execute.

Landscape mode is a whole different discussion. Using the arrow keys and space bar on the spacious keyboard that the Touch Pro2 provides, directing and controlling Dig Dug is a fairly simple proposition. This makes Dig Dug one of those games that is simple to learn, but difficult to master.


Dig Dug is one of those games that really is a classic arcade game. The simple fact that we can carry around a portable version of the game that deprived so many people of so many hours of their lives is astounding. If you would like to experience the levels of fun and frustration experienced by so many for so long head on over to the Windows Marketplace for Mobile and get your copy for $6.99.

George Ponder

George is the Reviews Editor at Windows Central, concentrating on Windows 10 PC and Mobile apps. He's been a supporter of the platform since the days of Windows CE and uses his current Windows 10 Mobile phone daily to keep up with life and enjoy a game during down time.