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3DS  header logo

Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures

For: 3DS

Boo

Product: Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures | Publisher: Namco Bandai Games | Format: 3DS | Players: 1 | Version: Europe
 
Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures 3DS, thumbnail 1
Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures announces its arrival with that familiar wakka-wakka, and is accompanied by a remix of that iconic Pac-Man intro theme.

But those that have not kept up with the series that made the house of Namco famous will find that much has changed about the franchise they once loved.

This outing is a platformer and not an arcade action game, for one thing. The quality of the series has taken quite a tumble since the eighties, for another.

This game is no exception, but it's a palatable enough jump 'em up, and if you're really desperate for a new platformer for your 3DS it might be worth grabbing in a sale.

Pac your bags

Someone at Namco was apparently hell-bent on jamming a weak plot into a game that simply doesn't need one, but here it is: there's an evil-doer by the name of Master Betrayus, and he's stolen the Tree of Life from which berries with special properties grow.

President Spheros has asked you to retrieve it after being tipped off by Inky, Blinky, Pinky, and Clyde. Your besties Cyli and Spiral join you on your quest, aiding you at crucial moments with their cherry helicopter and pineapple tank.

It's nonsense, basically, but what's worse is that it's presented in such a lacklustre fashion: voice acting is reduced to yelps, grunts, and squeals, and the game engine-rendered cutscenes are slow and awkward.

The platforming varies in quality across the stages you plod through. You can tackle areas in any order, and each slightly too lengthy level has a different theme, another boss to defeat, but rarely a new gameplay idea to share.

I think it's fine for games to re-visit familiar mechanics, but Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures has precious few original ones to call its own. B jumps, Y eats enemies, A is a special attack that changes depending on which power you have activated.

There's a projectile tongue, freezing cold breath, you can transform into a giant rock - and while these abilities do add a little spice to an otherwise standard meal, they only go so far.

Some enemies require you to attack them multiple times before they're defeated, which usually sees you holding onto them and biting them repeatedly. It's a bit disturbing to see Pac-Man gradually eat a baddie alive, gnawing away at them with more fervour than a hungry Mike Tyson.

Prickly point

The play is too sedate, too rote to get excited about, with the sole exception of the Sonic Lost World-like dash. When you hit B to eat an enemy it launches you in their direction, you consume them if you're close enough, and Pac-Man then jumps when he's finished. You can chain these attacks into one long feast if you're smart, and it's very satisfying when you do.

The 3D visuals render Namco's main man well, but the side-on camera angle used has the side-effect of obscuring the exact height of the platforms you jump on. It also blurs the line between enemies in the background that cannot touch you, with enemies in the foreground that can. The worst example of this is in Cloud Zone, where pitfalls and plenty of background enemies make for frequent deaths.

However, it's an easy game for the most part, with only a couple of cheap bosses and instakill sections putting up road blocks to your progress. Once you've played the game for 45 minutes, you've seen most of the enemy types on offer, and though you can repeat levels to find trinkets and unlock a few goodies, only the biggest Pac-fans will bother.

Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures isn't bad, it's just boring. It'll entertain kids who don't know better for many an hour thanks to its vanilla platforming, unlockable content, and slow pace. But unless you really need another platformer in your life, you can probably give this one a miss.
 
Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures
Reviewer photo
Peter Willington | 20 March 2014
It's difficult to get enthused about Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures: it's largely competent at what it does, but what it does is slow and regularly tedious
 
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