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In-Depth Review

Dig Dug Remix: The Devil’s in the Controls

 

When I reviewed Galaga Remix, I noted there were some issues with the control scheme, particularly in the arcade version, but they didn't completely ruin the experience. Unfortunately, those issues are magnified in Dig Dug Remix, and they persist in the arcade and Remix versions of the game. As a result, the playability suffers.

I always enjoyed the arcade version of Dig Dug, but recreating it on the iPhone requires a vertical presentation that shoves a tiny virtual control pad at the bottom of the screen. It's too easy for a finger to slide off the pad, making it very difficult to keep track of the action while trying to figure out which direction you're pressing. An arrow on the screen provides a visual cue for the character's trajectory, but I should be able to focus on pumping up and exploding Pookas and Fygars without worrying about such things. I realize that faithfully recreating the arcade version left little room at the bottom of the screen, but a virtual joystick would have been a better option, barring a physical gamepad that you plug into the dock connector. (One called GameBone Pro is in the works.)

The arcade classic; too bad the controls are wonky

You can also swipe your finger on the screen to move the character, who is actually named Taizo Hori, but that option isn't any better. The Remix version has the same two control schemes: swiping your finger is equally useless here, and the crammed layout of the screen means that the virtual control pad is just slightly bigger than the one in the arcade version – slightly bigger turns out to be no better. Neither version of the game lets you use the accelerometer, which is just as well since I don't enjoying playing iPhone games that way.

The Remix version, with a slightly better control pad

Like other Remix titles released by Namco, the Remix side of Dig Dug takes the basic gameplay and looks at it as if the game was being developed today. As a result, you have access to power-ups, such as a faster shovel or a stronger pump, and you have bosses to defeat while making your way through the 35 levels. If it wasn't for my frustration with the controls, I'd say that I enjoy it a lot. And I would certainly take greater pleasure in a stroll down memory lane with the arcade version.

If you want to try before you buy, there's a Lite version available.

 

Just The Facts

Dig Dug Remix from Namco

MSRP US$5.99

Pros:

  • The arcade version is faithfully represented
  • The Remix side offers a unique twist on familiar gameplay
  • You can pick up where you left off, rather than have to start over with the first level, in both versions of the game

Cons:

  • Controls, controls, controls: they're only a little better in the Remix version; on the arcade side, the game is almost unplayable

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