Pac-Man is a classic video game character, recognised alongside other greats such as Mario, Sonic, and Donkey Kong. The origins of these heroes have all helped to shape the gaming world as we know it today – but how is Bandai Namco’s famous bubble biter remaining relevant in this day and age? Well, after sprouting arms and legs, the fellow’s latest but not greatest title is Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures 2, a sequel to the game based on the Disney XD television show of the same name.
Given its origins, it won’t necessarily surprise you to learn that this is one of the most colourful and child friendly titles that you’ll ever play. It’s essentially a 3D platformer in which you explore a variety of landscapes with your pellet gobbling blob on a quest to defeat the nefarious Lord Betrayus. From the city of Pacopolis to Paclantis – a fresh take on the ancient underwater world – there is plenty to explore. In fact, there are a total of five worlds, each containing between 10 to 20 levels.
Stages span several different types, from vehicle courses to power-up trials. In the latter, you’ll be augmented with a new ability, and the level will give you a crash course in how to use it. Meanwhile, the vehicular objectives will see you take control of one of Pac-Man’s pals, and plop you inside a Cherry Copter, Lemon Rocket, or other type of fruit-based automobile, which you’ll need to employ to bring down the series’ dreaded ghosts. There’s plenty of bog standard platforming, too.
The controls are similar to what you’d expect, with the analogue sticks used to move your character and rotate the camera, while the face buttons operate actions such as jumping and attacks. We’re personally fond of the fact that when you gobble up an enemy, the game makes the classic ‘wakka wakka’ noise, amusing us for many more hours than it probably should have done.
Of course, there’s a little more to the game than that, and, as mentioned, Pac-Man has access to various different power-ups: ice, fire, metal, granite, and, er, chameleon. These improve several of the character’s abilities, including jumping and more. Unfortunately, they’re not all tuned as well as they should be; the chameleon, for example, allows you to use your tongue to swing to another platform, but unless you’re directly beneath the object that you need to latch on to, it simply won’t connect. This caused us many a pitfall.
Still, it’s hard to stay mad at the game with such colourful environments to ogle. The graphics are perfect for children of a younger age – it’s just so vibrant and inviting. The audio is also excellent throughout, fusing nostalgic melodies of old with new musical motifs that will find any fan of the franchise grinning from ear-to-ear.
It’s just a shame that these presentational achievements are let down by a lack of polish in other areas. The absence of arrows or markers means that you’ll get lost at times – a frustrating oversight considering the kid-friendly approach – while the voice acting can become beyond irritating in places. The biggest problem, though, is the platforming itself, which is fiddly, making it difficult to judge the depth of your jumps. Considering that this is a core facet of the experience, this can be particularly frustrating.
Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures 2 is a simple game, but it’s a fine experience if you’re a fan of the franchise. Bright, colourful visuals and simplistic action make it a great option for younger children, while veterans will appreciate the subtle nods to the series’ spectacular legacy. A fiddly jump mechanic and some irritating voice acting let the title down, but if you liked this release’s enjoyable predecessor, then you may want to consider gobbling its sequel up.