Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures A Mostly Enjoyable Romp (Review)
This game was reviewed on the PlayStation 3.
Pac is back in Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures! Based on the Disney XD television series of the same name, Pac-Man embarks on an adventure in this 3D platformer from Namco to save the world from an invasion of ghosts led by the evil Betrayus. Pac-Man is joined by all of his television friends, including Inky, Blinky, Pinky, and Clyde, the ghosts from the original franchise.
Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures maintains a lot of the basic gameplay elements for a Pac game, such as accumulating Pac pellets or chasing after ghosts, and feels very reminiscent of the Pac-Man World series. Some changes have been made, however, to fit today’s younger generation. For example, Inky, Blinky, Pinky, and Clyde are not really bad guys in Ghostly Adventures, but misunderstood characters stuck working for the real antagonist, Betrayus. While you chomp down on Pac pellets found throughout the level, you don’t have to chew on a Power pellet to be able to chase down and eat a ghost, as Pac-Man can now do that on his own power – and even turn the tables on the ghosts by Scaring them first!
Power pellets do still appear though, and transform Pac-Man into a variety of costumes with different powers, such as using a freeze gun (whilst sporting a Mega Man style helmet made of ice), or chameleon powers like using your tongue to swing from poles and making yourself invisible (whilst wearing a cute little chameleon suit), or even my personal favorite: Fire Pac with Dragonball Z-style hair and fireball attacks! The game, in fact, features a number of such homages to the gaming world and pop culture throughout the adventure. Even in its level designs, such as the Marble Madness-style worlds, and in level titles like “Gears of Warning”.
Featuring a lot of the standard fare that you’d find in a modern platformer, Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures makes fans of the genre feel right at home. There is a World Map that allows you to navigate from one level to the next in a fairly orderly fashion, and locks on the map to prevent you from continuing further until you’ve completed the prerequisite tasks. Once you’ve reached the final zone, you’ll have to defeat a level boss to proceed any further. You also have a limited amount of health (as indicated by the heart meter on the screen), adding to the challenge of each task. Pac pellets can be collected to boost your score, and collecting the eyes of the ghosts you eat helps you earn extra lives. A substance called Slimetanium is also found throughout the zones, which (if enough is collected) will extend your life bar. Most of these items are picked up in the levels by walking over them, or interacting with things such as vending machines and bushes to uncover hidden ones.
Enemies are quite varied in Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures. Most of the foes you encounter are of the ghostly kind, but their color and shape are indicative of what types of attacks they use. For example, pink Ghosts can teleport to Pac’s location and do damage, while green Ghosts shoot slime at him. For a children’s game, it’s deceptively challenging, so for the adults that likes to play the more casual or cartoonish games, they’ll not have a problem finding that this game that requires some skill to beat. Younger gamers will enjoy it not only for the challenge, but the wacky worlds and costumes that Pac finds himself in as well.
Vibrant colors fill the varied landscapes and the many costumes that Pac-Man will wear throughout his adventures, making for a game that really pops. From the futuristic looking Pacopolis, to the slime-filled mazes of the Slime Temple and more, there is certainly enough variety to keep young and old minds alike engaged. Many sounds will be familiar to older gamers as well, since the developers were sure to use some of the signature sounds from the original game to give an added air of nostalgia for old fans.
A local multiplayer mode is also available, putting gamers in control of Inky, Blinky, Pinky, or Clyde in a classic Pac-Man maze. The objective is to be the first to chase down the Pac-Man for points. A number of power-ups are strewn throughout the maze that you can use against your competitors, such as sliming their screen to inhibit their view. Players will enjoy hindering their opponents in any way to get ahead with this fun little extra gameplay mode!
Overall, Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures is a good, solid game for those with children or casual gamers; however, it does come with some failings. Boss battles often have little indication of what you need to do in order to defeat them, which will likely frustrate young gamers, and the controls for some of Pac-Man’s costumed forms can be unwieldy at times, making the level you’re playing in unnecessarily difficult. For example, as the chameleon, Pac’s primary attack of chomping on the ghosts is replaced by using the lizard’s tongue, which is difficult to aim, and produces inconsistent results. Additionally, the camera controls are occasionally dodgy, which makes maneuvering difficult when the camera gets stuck in scenery. There is also the issue where Pac-Man will scream out, “this is hopeless!” on occasion for no good reason, which while not game breaking, can be really annoying. But the good far outweighs the bad as this latest addition to the Pac-Man collection makes for a mostly enjoyable romp.
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