Pac-Man will not achieve the iconic status he enjoyed with the evergreen maze-based games. Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures offers a mildly entertaining 3D platformer experience. My young daughter enjoyed it while I only enjoyed it for shorter periods before craving something a little more impressive. I had high hopes, hopes that the series could reinvent itself, but I found the gameplay is just too one-dimensional for this day and age. Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures is light fun is small doses, a game I am happy to play when I’m not looking for anything too deep and involving. The kids will definitely enjoy it, but keep another game on stand-by.
Publisher: Bandai Namco
Reviewed on: Xbox 360
Also available on: Playstation 3
If we had to give it a numerical score: 6.0/10
What I loved
- Some nostalgia-inducing sound effects
- Solid gameplay mechanics
Not so much
- Not enough variation in gameplay.
- Lame voice acting and script.
- Was there a narrative?
The new Pac-Man trades the maize word for a 3D world offering platforming. You do get to unlock some traditional mini-games, but the bulk of it is platforming, minor puzzles and collecting. Pac-Man’s party trick is that he can change form, changing the gameplay style. For example Pac-Man can morph into a chameleon and use his tongue to gobble up items and ghosts from a distance, or use his tongue to swing off structures; he can change into a bouncing ball, with obvious advantages or change into a large rolling rock, crushing everything before him. The platforming mimics modern platform games, but I found that the gameplay just didn’t offer anything new. it was unsurprising and generally a little constricted.
The Ghostly Adventures sees Pac-Mac chomping ghosts throughout six worlds, picking up and finding collectibles and fruit. The overall objective in the various 3D levels is to reach the piece of fruit that each level offers to complete that level. While I found that the gameplay was limited in terms of variety on offer, the multi-level gaming worlds’ designs were very impressive. The six worlds were fairly different, refreshing your interest in a timely manner as you progress.
The four-player multiplayer mode switches your roles; the players become the ghosts chasing Pac-Man. What is really nice here is that it’s played out in a 3D maze, harking back to the games of old. I suspect my interest here will be short-lived, but it’s still fun while it lasts. This is the recurring theme and issue I have throughout the game – it put a smile on my face for a while, and then just doesn’t go too far, keeping my attention for bursts, but nothing enduring.
Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures certainly looks good – bright and inviting, without being too complex. It looks like a kiddies game, but it was well crafted and other than a dodgy camera, there’s no visual flaws, at least not anything I picked up on. The camera is frustrating though, and often I would loose the direction when performing a double-jump for example, and not land where I intended, because the camera would throw me off and I couldn’t swing it around quick enough.
The sound effects and bubbly soundtrack had me grinning at first – hearing some of the sounds from the classic game. Sounds like when you chomped the big berry and the ghosts turned purple, frantically running from Pac. This was included here, and works in the same manner, just in a 3D world. Soon enough though, Pac starts sounding like some kid on Prozac, annoyingly so. Your youngsters will probably be repeating his one-liners though.
Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures is entertaining in a laid-back way. What I love about it is that it offers unadulterated, wholesome gameplay for the kids, not trying to mimic an adult-themed game. Too often I hear shouts from my daughter, I’m going to “kill it” when playing other kids games. Sure she shooting slime at some blob for example, but still. I do prefer the pledging to “chomp” this or that with this one instead of “killing” things.
I would recommend Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures for the youngsters, and you will enjoy the odd turn too. It is a well-crafted game after all. The very young ones might struggle a bit with some of the platforming bits, and the much older kids will, like me, enjoy it in bursts but get bored not too long into it.