Developer: Namco Bandai Games America
Publisher: Namco Bandai Games
Reviewed by: Michael Cohen
Pac-Man is a name that is synonymous with gaming. It has been since the early ‘80s when he first hit the scene. Over the years, he’s gone through many incarnations, including plush doll, cartoon character, and even his own breakfast cereal! The latest incarnation is in the form of CG hero on his new show, Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures. This fact is probably the biggest drawback to the game, as it does nothing to set-up the characters or setting for those unfamiliar with the relatively new show. Thankfully, it doesn’t seem like either really relies heavily on the narrative, as it’s pretty much just a matter of gobbling ghosts and finding power pellets to charge up some globes that will transport Pac and his buddies to new worlds.
The gameplay is pretty solid, considering that this is a cartoon tie-in, made to capitalize on that show’s popularity. It’s a basic a 3D platformer, but with some Pac-Man twists. You chomp the enemy ghosts most of the time, but occasionally you’ll find a special power pellet that allows you to become various super-charged versions of Pac Man, ranging from Flame Pac-Man to Magnet Pac-Man, and even a Lizard Pac-Man who can use his tongue to swing on poles! This keeps gameplay fresh and gives you a reason to keep exploring the otherwise lacklustre story.
The highlight of this game, however, is its looks. This is a pretty game. Considering we just stepped across the threshold into the next generation of consoles, booting up the PS3 seems like more of a chore than a past-time now, but this Pac-Man game makes you forget that you’re playing on eight year-old tech. Its beautiful, bright worlds envelope you, and the clever character designs keep you entertained and engaged.
At the end of the day, this iteration of Pac-Man is a fun diversion from some of the more hardcore, gritty games that litter the landscape currently. While Pac Man and the Ghostly Adventures might not be your first pick when the holidays are squeezing your games budget, it’s at least worth looking out for on Boxing Day.