Hey gang, Valkor here. When Pac-Man first arrived on the arcade then console scene back in the 80s, there wasn't a single item left unturned that you couldn't find his face on... and I didn't own; from t-shirts, hats, breakfast cereal, wrist watches, board games, it even spawned an animated series. Speaking of which, did you know there's a new CG animated series out on Disney XD? Surprised me too and it must be pretty good because it spawned its own video game of the same name – Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures. The game is out on multiple platforms and for this round we'll check out the Playstation 3 version.
Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures is a 3D platformer where you'll guide our hero through six worlds each with multiple stages of play as you munch down on pellets, chomp ghost, gain new power ups, and more with a mix of old and new. The story is fairly simple; Betrayus (main baddie) has unleashed an army of ghost monsters on Pacopolis as part of his nefarious plot of world domination. And Pac must venture through six unique worlds that can be explored in a number of ways, all in hopes of ending his fiendish plot. And with a multitude of moves, it should be a piece of cake right? This isn't hop and bop, this is hop and chomp and you can instantly chomp away at ghost, no power pellets necessary. And if you eat enough of their eyes (100 in total) you get a one up. But the really cool aspect of the game kicks in when you collect unique power pellets that give Pac-Man special abilities such as turning into a chameleon (with sticky tongue and he can become invisible), he can become Fire or Ice Pac, turn into a huge rolling boulder, or become super bouncy.
But it's not so much the ghost that'll stand in your way, it's the intricate design of the levels and making your way through them that'll really test your patience. And I thought Pac's universe was mainly land based; you'll spend more time balancing on poles, jumping/double jumping and doing your best to stay on top of platforms so you don't wind up in a pool of slime, lava, or even smacking into the ground (no animation of Pac hitting the ground). Thankfully there are well-placed checkpoints throughout, and when you die you can continue where you left off. You get a set number of lives and one way to increase is to collect ghost eyes. Another way is to collect lives is to find pacberry pies that also refill your health.
And if you get tired of playing the main adventure, you can head back to your school, talk with your friends (believe it or not Inky, Pinky, Blinky, and Clyde are his buds now), gather power pellets and other items or you can play one of the many arcade games strewn about. There's also a four player, multiplayer mode that you can play co-op or compete against one another.
While there have been a multitude of 3D Pac-man adventures, this is the first time I've gotten the chance to try one out. And though I'm getting ahead of myself, kudos to Namco Bandai for including tiny audio bits of nostalgia from the opening tune, the chomping sound Pac-Man makes, the sound made when he scares the ghost and so forth. That just takes me back... welp! On to the TOV Breakdown.
It took a little getting into, but I ended up having a good time with Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures because once you get started, then you're all in. The game won't make too many best of the year lists, but it's certainly no slouch. I had a lot of fun playing this one and I think young and old, especially if you're enjoying the current run of the show, will be quite entertained. The game is very easy to jump into and before you know it you're on your way. Controls are spot on and while you don't have a crazy number of moves that require every button on the controller, those that you can perform you can do so flawlessly. I was most impressed with Boulder Pac who can stop on a dime when you hit the brakes, plus he can manuever the curves with ease. Bouncy Pac has his moments, but you have to take care not bounce outwards as opposed to upwards. The graphics aren't anything special, but they're not terrible either. The backdrops offer up a simple yet rich, cartoony detail with bold colors and the unique designs for each level is gorgeous. The animation on the characters is done quite well, again nothing stupendous but it gets the job done. Yup I had some good times in the past with Pac-Man and it's nice to see that in this current generation of gaming, he still has a place and can hold his own with the best of them.
I mentioned before that you spend a lot of time staying on top of platforms and that's where some frustration lie – you'll end up falling a lot! Yes, you'll spend as much time taking a nose dive as much as you would trying to reach the end of the level. You not only have to be careful with your jumps but also where you land and where you're standing. At the beginning levels, I had to maneuver a series of platforms to get to this area and all of a sudden a flying police car gets in the way and I take a fall. Are you kidding? I got taken out by a flying police car? Are we not on the same side? Or how about fighting the boss in the Temple of Slime? You have to dodge not just giant boulders (which you use to attack the boss), but also giant fireballs as well. And given you're above a pool of slime, you have to try and get past the mess before you get pushed in. Or if you're doing a dash in Boulder Pac mode, you have to be careful not to go flying off the platform. Finally the game needs a scoring system; you collect pellets, fruits, pies, slime balls, chomp ghosts, etc., it feels like this game is screaming for an arcade scoring system and trutheshly, I think it deserves one.
Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures is available now across all platforms, though the 3DS version is different (it's a side-scroller). But we'll have a review for that one soon. And if you're a big Pac fan such as me and you're looking for some casual fun with a little nostalgia thrown in, then definitely give this one a go. Yea it'll angry up the blood a little, then again there's nothing wrong with a challenge right? And out of TOV 5 stars, I give this one a 3.5.