Game Guys review - Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures

12:12 AM, Nov 23, 2013   |    comments
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  • 'Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures' from Namco Bandai.
  • 'Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures' from Namco Bandai.

Ask someone who gamed in the 1980's (or even early-to-mid 90's) about Pac-Man and there's a good chance you'll be bombarded with nostalgia about how great gaming was back when things were similar and that there's nothing like popping in a quarter playing Pac-Man at the local pizza parlor.  Ask somebody who wasn't even born then and the answer might be as simple as "Who's Pac-Man?".

As disheartening as that may be to veteran gamers, whipper-snappers these days simply don't know the joys of circumventing a maze and chomping on little dots while simultaneously running away from ghosts.  Thankfully there's hope for today's gaming youth in the form of Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures from Namco-Bandai.

While the iconic maze navigation has been replaced by traditional platforming, the modernized soul of the Pac-Man franchise (and the animated TV shows it's inspired) remains.

The game offers players a small assortment of themed worlds for Pac (as his friends call him in this game) to explore as he helps defend his home town of Pacolopis from an evil ghostly mastermind named Betrayus.  It's by this motivation that Pac ventures into these worlds of moving platforms and ghostly adversaries.

While very much made in the same spirit as modern Mario games, players shouldn't expect the same kind of tight controls as found in those rival titles.  Rather than jogging or running and smashing on enemies left and right, Pac seems to nonchalantly meander around and literally noms on enemy ghosts as a basic attack rather than jumping upon them.  Beyond that, thankfully, are special Power Berries that temporarily alter Pac and give him special abilities such as ice attacks.  If it weren't for this simple gameplay mechanic, Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures would get old fast.

For those who want a more traditional Pac-Man experience, that can be found in Ghostly Adventures' multiplayer.  While this title could have fared just fine without such a play option, it's interesting being able to play as the ghosts chasing Pac rather than the traditional inverse setup.  The mode, though, gets old fast and it's doubtful to have much staying power.

Released onto the Xbox 360 and similar platforms, Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures is a fairly good looking title.  While it certainly doesn't take advantage of all that the console has to offer, the game looks clean and levels have good depth to them visually.  Audio, however, leaves much to be desired.  Not only is the soundtrack forgettable, but the voice acting is sub-par.  This is especially true with the job done with the main character who's voice sounds like that of a 9-year old from a badly-dubbed anime.

Overall, Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures is a "good enough" platformer that should do a well enough job at introducing Pac-Man to a new generation of video gamers.  While the game does nothing to break new ground or even venture out of any sort of comfort zone, it's a safe title that's more enjoyable than many might expect the first time through.

20/25 19/25 12/25 18/25 22/25 79/100

Version tested: 360 (also available on PS3, Wii U, PC, and 3DS)

(Namco Bandai supplied a copy of this game for review.)

See how what our review scores mean and how the math adds up.


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