PAC Man is a legendary icon and one of the most recognized characters in all of media. It’s no exaggeration to say that more people know about him than heavy weights like Luke Benson or even the great Parappa The Rapper. Surprisingly he hasn’t had dozens of games to exploit this fact and at one point he went for such a long time without a game that it felt like the franchise was cancelled. This led to this game, a reboot in which PAC Man the Family Man was transformed into PAC Teen, a revel who breaks the rules and can’t control his urges for food. Would it be a success?
The plot is pretty light as the game prefers to let its gameplay do the talking. An evil ghost from the Netherworld named Betrayus has kidnapped PAC Man’s two friends and also threatens the entire world with a new weapon that he had developed. Our young hero decides to stop him but he will have fun along the way because he never recognizes Betrayus as a legitimate threat. Honestly that is probably pretty humiliating for the guy and I’m tempted to feel bad for him. That’s the plot in a nutshell and trust me when I say that the game never wants you to take it seriously either. It’s pretty much all played for laughs.
Fortunately the gameplay actually is pretty smooth. Each stage will typically have an assortment of objects to jump or walk around as you progress. You can eat ghosts or even cause objects to open so you can eat the power pellets that come from them. Along the way you will obtain various Super forms like fire and ice which each have their own special ability. Defeating the ghosts is easy no matter what form you use so I recommend making the most of them since most of the forms come with Silver trophies for eating 100 ghosts. You will get the hang of the controls pretty quickly since they are fairly limited while the levels vary in design and difficulty, the basics carry over. It is funny how some skills don’t pop up until near the very end of the game but I suppose it had to end at some point so it’s nice that they gave us more powers.
The game’s length is reasonable although definitely erring on the short side. You’ll have it beat in a matter of hours. Part of why it is so fast is because it is so easy. You likely won’t lose many lives during the game unless you get hit by glitches or try to rush a little too much. The bosses are easy and even a novice to the platforming genre should pick up on what to do before the levels get difficult. There is some replay value in the game though like obtaining all of the trophies. This will require you to complete the game twice which automatically doubles the play time. The rest of the trophies will take some time as well like clearing all of the arcade games you unlocked but they aren’t too difficult either. It’s a very achievable Platinum and one that I would recommend going for in consideration of that.
Graphically the game holds up quite nicely. The colors are vibrant and the level designs are solid. PAC Man’s design will certainly cause you to take a step back though as you wonder what the animators were thinking. His eyes are always half closed as he gives a nervous smile. Everyone else has a decent design so PAC sticks out. The rest of him is good though so it’s a relatively minor detail. There isn’t a wide variety for the music but the main theme is always fun and certainly holds up well. It’s fast paced and is a good remix of the classic theme. You definitely won’t be bored as you play through the game with the fun levels to look at and listen to.
Now the game does have some issues. Uninspired plot aside, the game can be rather glitchy. You will suddenly be stuck and unable to move at some points and you will fall through objects as you plummet to your doom. I’ve certainly seen and played glitchier games but considering that this is for the PS3 it is definitely noticeable enough to mention. It was the cause of a few deaths for me and the moral is always to slow down a little to let the game catch up to you.
Now, was PAC Man himself as bad as they say? Well, the burping gimmick does get old very quickly. He burps at the end of every single levels. Sometimes he is proud of it and other times he does seem to regret his actions. He does this in the show as well, but with no remorse and burps several times each episode. That’s his worst quality but beyond that we don’t see his other negative traits from the show so he comes off as at least a decent main character. At the end of the day he just wants to eat a lot and save the day along the way. He may not be as heroic or selfless as the original PAC Man but as far as edgy redesigns go it wasn’t half bad.
Overall, PAC Man and the Ghostly Adventures is a fun title. The plot may not be particularly good, but the gameplay is surprisingly solid and that makes quite the difference. PAC Man can move really fast which makes the platforming fun and the game did a good job with his powers. You always feel very powerful against the ghosts which should always be the case when you’re playing a PAC Man game. The soundtrack and graphics are good so that makes for a very complete package. The cover and the idea of a reboot for PAC man may put you off the title but you’d be missing out on what is actually a really good game. I’m definitely hyped for the sequel since I’ve heard it’s even better and can be compared to the legendary Super Mario Galaxy 2.