Graphics:
6.0
Gameplay:
7.0
Sound:
5.7
Control:
6.8
Replay Value:
6.0
Overall Rating:
6.5
Online Gameplay:
Not Rated
Publisher:
Namco Bandai
Developer:
Namco Bandai
Number Of Players:
1-4
Genre:
Platformer
Release Date:
October 29, 2013


Pac-Man is the man. He’s one of the original video game icons. However, modern video game developers are faced with the obvious fact that Pac’s early adventures can’t be made these days. Those old arcade games in which Pac-Man must eat pellets and avoid ghosts in the same maze over and over…yeah, can’t do that anymore. So, perhaps the only logical thing to do is to maintain the spirit of the franchise while embracing an action/platformer format. Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures has a lot of colorful creativity, but it it’s a little uneven, and it lacks any real punch.

When I say that the visual presentation reminds me of the PS2 days, I know that sounds insulting. But I don’t mean it to be insulting; it just reminds me of older graphics because we don’t get that crisp high-definition clarity to which we’ve become accustomed. As soon as I began, I grinned because there was that faint fuzziness that I remember so well from the last generation. No, it can’t really compete with the big boys but on the plus side, the level design (minus the first few worlds, which are mediocre at best) is pretty good, and the animations are mostly clean.

Technically speaking, it has a few problems. The frame rate can be an issue and the audio is amateurish. The soundtrack is fitting and I like the variety, especially when you’re exploring wildly different environments, but it’s not especially accomplished. The voice performances range from terrible to subpar, but maybe the target audience won’t care. The effects aren’t bad, but more could’ve been done. I think the bottom line is this— From a visual and sound standpoint, this is a relatively stable presentation that has a few shining highlights. It’s just wrapped up in an outdated package that may or may not be acknowledged by the young’uns.

The Ghostly Adventures doesn’t exactly begin with a bang. The first few levels are about as straightforward and uninspired as one can imagine. Pac-Man just runs around, collecting those perfunctory pellets, eating food to restore any lost hearts, gobbling ghosts, and jumping easily from platform to platform. If the game had continued in this fashion, the final review score would’ve been about a 3. But thankfully, things rapidly take a turn for the better, and we’re treated to inventive levels, some decently implemented puzzle features, and Pac-Man’s appreciated ability to morph.

The yellow hero can jump, double-jump, stun ghosts with a sudden shriek, and bash vending machines and mailboxes to nab more goodies. But that’s all pedestrian. Everything gets much more interesting when he eats a certain power pill; one that apparently changes his chemical makeup in much the same way the Flower changed Mario’s. Yes, Pac-Man can become a fire-spitting adventurer, or he can toss ice, or he can become a chameleon with a very sticky – and very useful – tongue. The best part is that such transformations aren’t merely for show. They’re used in combat and you also need them to tackle particular aspects of the environment.